John Solomon Whiffs Again

A few days ago Harry Reid told the AP that Senate rules permit a Senator to accept items of value from home-state government agencies. In fact the rules are less strict, allowing Senators to accept items of value from government agencies of any state. Either way he is perfectly in the clear. So what is the difference? Reid was talking about whether it’s okay for John McCain to accept boxing tickets (Reid was not offered tickets but credentials for admission, which would have been illegal to reimburse). The AP apparently finds this newsworthy:

Reversing course, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid’s office acknowledged Wednesday night he misstated the ethics rules governing his acceptance of free boxing tickets and has decided to avoid taking such gifts in the future.

The Nevada senator still believes it was “entirely permissible” for him to accept ringside seats for three professional boxing matches in 2004 and 2005 from the Nevada Athletic Commission but has nonetheless decided to avoid doing so in the future, his office said.

I agree with Steve Benen and Aravosis, this third hit piece by Solomon gets the basic facts so wrong that you have to assume there’s a conscious decision behind it. William Jefferson just isn’t a big enough fish to “balance” the amazing number of prominent Republicans in jail, on trial, facing indictment and under various stages of investigation. Reid certainly fits the bill, or he would if he ever did anything wrong, which he has not.

If you feel like reminding the AP that “balance” means more than simply declaring that A equals B and then misrepresenting B to make it so, drop them a line at info@ap.org . Try to be firm but pleasant because, 1) there is no point helping people like Debbie Howell turn the story into what a poor hate victim she is, and 2) you will be more persuasive that way (thinly-veiled hint: this also works for blog comments).

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18 replies
  1. 1
    Ancient Purple says:

    Why is Solomon still employed as a journalist?

    He was thoroughly discredited earlier this year when he tried to smear Reid by saying that Reid was all but in Abramoff’s back pocket. Then, the story two days ago and now this.

    Solomon isn’t doing reporting; he is engaged in a smear campaign and the AP is going along for the ride.

    I will send my complaint and be polite about it, but it troubles me that the AP would allow this to happen and would do nothing to correct the stories to make sure they were accurate and not bias.

    Of course, the media has a liberal bias, so Solomon must actually be commending Reid.

    Or something like that.

  2. 2
    scs says:

    Ok Tim, one more time.

    The Senate: Senators and Senate staff should be wary of accepting any gift where it appears that the gift is motivated by a desire to reward, influence, or elicit favorable official action,” the Senate ethics manual states.

    What about this do you not understand? You are obviously not a lawyer because when you have two laws covering the same topic you have to use your judgement to figure out which one applies to your particular situation. This “In fact the rules are less strict, allowing Senators to accept items of value from government agencies of any state”, means that in general gifts from governments can be accepted BUT THIS “Senators and Senate staff should be wary of accepting any gift where it appears that the gift is motivated by a desire to reward, influence, or elicit favorable official action” means that ALL gifts, even gifts from government agencies are suspect when they are from interestred parties and are given during the time of legislation. It’s not that hard Tim. Your refusal to admit the facts in this because you seem to be blinded by partisan team spirit is kind of revealing.

  3. 3
    scs says:

    And Tim, as a man who claims to follow the high moral ground in all things, why are you defending this guy who doesn’t seem bright enough to understand that, as the top Dem leader in the Senate, that taking these kind of gifts and trinckets from interested parties does not make him look good? I would think that hopefully his salary is high enough that he doesn’t need to accept these trinckets in the first place, and that by doing so anyway, it’s a path to unneccessarily give his opponeents fodder. Do you want to defend this guy who is either a. not that bright or b. lacks self-control? If you can’t be honest about this small issue about your own guy, how can you continue to claim the moral highground when casting stones at the other side?

  4. 4
    demimondian says:

    Oh, look, SCS! A Jackalope!

    Here’s the point: this reporter has now strung together three deceptive, if not outright false, articles in a row on three successive days. One is a mistake. Two is a pattern. Three is either gross editorial incompetence or a conspiracy. I lean towards “incompetence”; the AP really doesn’t stand to gain anything from engaging in criminal slander. (Yeah, Reid will let this go; every public figure knows that there is always at least one loser in a slander suit, even though sometimes, the defendant loses, too. This kind of thing grows, though, and, sooner or later, organizations which play the game eventually step on the toes of someone with money, motivation, and nothing to lose. See, for instance, Michael Moore.)

    Meanwhile, the right-wing deceptosphere is busily exploiting the lies.

  5. 5
    scs says:

    Meanwhile, the right-wing deceptosphere is busily exploiting the lies.

    Yes, Dem’s call it lies when it’s criticism of anyone from your party.

  6. 6
    scs says:

    Here’s the point: this reporter has now strung together three deceptive, if not outright false, articles in a row on three successive days.

    No, Demi, that is not the point. The point is not how did some unknown reporter string together his sentences in a few newspaper articles- the question is, what did the Dem Senate leader Reid do, and when did he do it. The larger and hard-to-deny facts are Reid seems to have a pattern of taking gifts from interested parties during the time of legislation – a big no-no in the Senate. If you want to bring up the point of “credentials” and gifts from governments (hmmm, i.e. the boxing lobbying commission) and split hairs, feel free. But you are trying to ignore and obfuscate the larger point of holier-than-thou Reid and his feet of clay. I think it’s hilarious. How the mighty do fall.

  7. 7
    Pooh says:

    You are obviously not a lawyer

    Name, rank and Bar #. please, Mrs. Alope.

    Say hi to your husband John (I call him Jack) for us!

  8. 8
    MAX HATS says:

    Here scs, let me complete your thought:

    The larger and hard-to-deny facts are Reid seems to have a pattern of taking gifts from interested parties during the time of legislation. . .

    And then voting against those interests.

    You were going to mention that, right? I’d hate to think a fine, upstanding citizen of the blogosphere would be – curse me for even uttering it – dishonest.

  9. 9
    ppGaz says:

    What about this do you not understand?

    Well, the part about how the “gift”, in the account I read, was actually an item that had no monetary value at all. In fact, it would have been against the law for the “giver” to have taken any money for it, which is why Sen. McCain, who also got one, had his check donated to charity. It was basically a credential which identified the senators as VIPs at a boxing match, and for which the issuer is forbidden to accept payment. In another incident, it was Reid who donated money to charity while McCain did not.

    Apparently also, according to the account I read, AP completely botched this story, got the details wrong, and didn’t know about the second McCain-Reid boxing match attendance, and therefore didn’t know that they had taken turns giving money to charity in return for the seats.

    And no, I am not going to look up the reference for anybody. I read, see and hear several hundred stories a week and I don’t keep notes. If you want somebody to keep track of stuff for you, get an assistant. There are a lot of people looking for work out there.

  10. 10
    ppGaz says:

    Oh, and in case you missed it, the key point was that the “gift” was not “tickets.” It was an ID badge. VIP admissions, by law, apparently, cannot be sold. Any money offered in return for them must be refused.

  11. 11
    ppGaz says:

    Oh, and it turns out that Reid’s interpretation of the ethics rules that pertain here was wrong … he overstated the restrictions. Turns out that Senators are free to accept things like VIP credentials from state agencies … of any state, their own state or not.

    Another minor detail.

    That’s according to Markos himself, at DKos.

  12. 12
    lard lad says:

    Man, if this is the next biggest corruption scandal the Democrats can get hit with after William Jefferson… all I can say is that my opinion of the Donkeypeople just went up a substantial notch.

    Now if only they could do something about stiffening those collective backbones…

  13. 13
    Jim Miller says:

    It’s funny to see people still trying to defend Reid — considering that he has now promised not to take any more free tickets.

  14. 14
    Tim F. says:

    SCS,

    I think that MAX HATS pretty much summed it up. Do you think that there exists a member of the House or the Senate who has not stepped over rules significantly less obscure than Reid is alleged to have done? Oh how I miss the naivete of youth.

    The problem is that Reid did nothing wrong in accepting credentials, which it would have been illegal for him to reibmurse, and then voted against the interests of his solicitors. Honestly, he showed more rectitude than most of the worthless lumps stinking up downtown DC. There’s no quid to this story, and no quo either. So where’s the beef?

    If you seriously, honestly want to make a jihad out of what Reid has “done” then you might as well declare every politician in existence hopelessly irredeemable and take up miniature golf because political punditry is not for you. Good luck with that.

    It’s funny to see people still trying to defend Reid—considering that he has now promised not to take any more free tickets.

    That won’t be very hard – he didn’t accept tickets in the first place. Thanks for playing.

  15. 15
    ppGaz says:

    he has now promised not to take any more free tickets

    Minor detail: There were no “tickets.”

  16. 16
    Krista says:

    It’s funny to see people still trying to defend Reid—considering that he has now promised not to take any more free tickets.

    He probably said that because of asshats who can’t tell the difference between tickets, which have a monetary value, and VIP credentials, which do not. Let’s see: he was given something that had no monetary value, by a party whose interests he subsequently voted AGAINST.

    For chrissakes, are you so desperate to deflect attention from the large-scale corruption of the Republicans that you’ll leap upon a non-story like this? Seeing how the Republicans are all supposed to be good Christians, they might recognize Luke 6:42 “Why do you see the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye?”

  17. 17
    John S. says:

    For chrissakes, are you so desperate to deflect attention from the large-scale corruption of the Republicans that you’ll leap upon a non-story like this?

    That’s our scs!

  18. 18

    […] Actually that is not completely true. The story here is the amazing toolishness of the AP’s John Solomon when it comes to Harry Reid. First Solomon got the simple facts wrong on Harry Reid’s involvement with Jack Abramoff’s underhanded dealings in the Marianas Islands (the correct answer: there was none). Then he breathlessly reported a gift that broke no ethics rules. This time the idea was to present a story whose tone suggested a career-ending scandal but whose substance contained not a single incriminating fact. Remember that because it comes up often in Solomon’s reporting. Next Solomon confused tickets with credentials, again tinting a non-story in the most nefarious possible terms. This time Solomon cannot seem to understand the basic principles of a limited liabiilty corporation (LLC), which in Reid’s case is treated by the IRS as identical to simple ownership. As far as the relevant authorities are concerned it doesn’t exist. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Actually that is not completely true. The story here is the amazing toolishness of the AP’s John Solomon when it comes to Harry Reid. First Solomon got the simple facts wrong on Harry Reid’s involvement with Jack Abramoff’s underhanded dealings in the Marianas Islands (the correct answer: there was none). Then he breathlessly reported a gift that broke no ethics rules. This time the idea was to present a story whose tone suggested a career-ending scandal but whose substance contained not a single incriminating fact. Remember that because it comes up often in Solomon’s reporting. Next Solomon confused tickets with credentials, again tinting a non-story in the most nefarious possible terms. This time Solomon cannot seem to understand the basic principles of a limited liabiilty corporation (LLC), which in Reid’s case is treated by the IRS as identical to simple ownership. As far as the relevant authorities are concerned it doesn’t exist. […]

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