In Foley coverage, scant mention of three other Republican congressmen embroiled in major scandals

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

In their coverage of the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, only a few major media outlets have noted that Foley is the third Republican congressman to leave office in scandal within the past year. A fourth Republican congressman, Rep. Bob Ney, has pleaded guilty to corruption charges but not resigned his seat.

In their coverage of the resignation of former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), only a few major media outlets have noted that Foley was the third Republican congressman to leave office in scandal within the past year, while a fourth has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and will not seek re-election. A Media Matters for America review* found that of the following major newspapers -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today -- the main wire services, the network newscasts, and the cable news channels, only Reuters, The Washington Post, and USA Today noted that Foley joined fellow Republicans Randy "Duke" Cunningham (CA), who served on the House Appropriations Committee and was chairman of the subcommittee on Human Intelligence Analysis and Counterintelligence, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX) in leaving or being forced out of the House of Representatives amid scandal. In addition, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) has agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges and recently stepped down from his chairmanships of the subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity and of the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, better known as the Franking Commission. In January, while under pressure from the corruption investigation, Ney also gave up his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee. Ney has ended his bid for re-election but not resigned his seat in the House.

From a September 30 Reuters article:

Congress has been dogged by low approval ratings, huge federal deficits, the increasingly unpopular Iraq war and a string of scandals. At the top of the list was the departure of indicted former House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas and an investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who, according to a congressional report this week, had frequent contact with the White House.

On Friday, there was another case. Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigned after reports he sent sexually inappropriate e-mails to congressional interns.

Foley was the third Republican House member to resign under pressure in the past two years. A fourth, Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, abandoned a re-election bid before agreeing to plead guilty in the influence-peddling scandal that snared Abramoff and some associates.

From the October 1 edition of The Washington Post:

Rich Galen, a Republican political strategist, worried that voters might lump Foley's name with former representatives Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), all of whom were forced to resign or were indicted amid various scandals this year.

"This sense of entitlement that members of Congress can do anything to anyone or for anyone has got to end," Galen said.

From the October 2 edition of USA Today:

The political stir is the latest setback for Republicans, whose House majority is threatened in next month's elections. They already are battling Bush's low poll ratings and concerns about the war in Iraq.

Foley is the fourth House Republican forced out by ethics problems. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California resigned in November after pleading guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes. Former majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas was indicted on state campaign finance violations and resigned in June. Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio has agreed to plead guilty to charges of corruption and is not seeking re-election.

"It's not as if Republicans didn't have enough problems," said independent political analyst Stuart Rothenberg.

*Media Matters conducted a "News all" Nexis search for "(Ney or Cunningham or DeLay) and Foley" on 9/29/06 and 10/02/06.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.