Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Culture of Credibility

My friends over at Kos are having a spirited conversation today about a new Gallup poll showing that most Americans -- 76 percent in fact -- believe that the corruption scandals in Washington involve both parties equally.

This is, as the Kossacks rightly claim, a load of bunk. I also think they are right to put some of the blame for this misperception on the news media, which through its empty-headed fixation with being "even-handed" has largely failed to provide any meaningful sense of proportionality (as the Kossacks document in detail).

But to beat my dead horse one more time, I think we as Democrats have to accept some responsibility for this myth of equivalence gaining a foothold with the broader public.

The fact is, we have missed opportunity after opportunity to prove we are different than the Republican Abramoff apologists by condemning the limited cases of corruption on our side of the aisle (most notably, Reps. Mohollan and Jefferson).

In doing so, we not only come across as hypocrites and continue to compromise our credibility, but we create a vacuum for the news media and our Republican opponents to fill -- often much to the detriment of the truth.

Does that excuse sloppy reporting on the part of the Washington press corps? Not in the least. But knowing that the press is predisposed to fall back on the "he stole, she stole" trope, we are essentially handing them (and our Republican opponents) a club to beat us over the head by not speaking out against the ethical transgressions within in our own ranks.

If we really want to blow this myth out of the water, the best thing we can do is demonstrate in no uncertain terms that we are in fact different, that we won't tolerate corruption no matter who commits it. Which is to say, if we want to show we are more ethical than the Republicans, let's show the corrupt Democrats the door.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?