Three Democrats, Only One Labeled


Maybe it’s a small thing… maybe a mere oversight in the rush to keep up with breaking news, but I find this Providence Journal staff article on fraud and tax evasion charges brought against former Pawtucket Senator James Doyle head-shaking.

Over the course of four paragraphs, the article tells readers about the charges and when he was elected, as well as his reference to issues with alcohol.  It also mentions that Doyle is “the son of a longtime Pawtucket mayor.”  The staff writer doesn’t tell us, however, that both the ex-senator and his father were Democrats.

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What makes that weird is the final paragraph:

In April, Democrat Sandra C. Cano won a special election to fill Doyle’s former seat.

So why is the party of the woman who replaced the alleged malefactor noteworthy, but the party of the alleged malefactor himself is not?  Forgive my cynicism, but I can’t discount the possibility that the conscious or subconscious reason is to put the labeled Democrat, who is currently running for reelection against a Republican challenger, in contrast with the unlabeled Democrat.

Or maybe it’s just in the Projo’s style guide that misbehaving Democrats should only be labeled when it’s absolutely critical to the story, while Democrats running for office must always be labeled so voters know where to look for their names.

ADDENDUM (9:18 p.m. 8/16/18):

The Associated Press played “hide the party, too.”  Meanwhile, kudos to Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott Mackay for not doing so.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    It is frequently noted that newspapers usually omit mention of the party when a Democrat is in trouble. “It’s not news, or germane to the story”.

  • Northern Exposure

    I emailed the reporter and editor. The article has been updated to include his party affiliation.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      Good for you! Perhaps they will get a better “feel” for their readership. Newspapers are in a weakened position, they should be listening s never before.

  • Mike678

    Business as usual. Good for NE to call out the author who is probably blissfully unaware of his/her bias.

    On a separate note, I enjoy watching the Regunburg adds on TV–the brave Socialist Democrat fighting those bad business lobbyists who are cozy with corrupt politicians. It plays to his ignorant base who probably don’t realize that the corrupt politicians referenced are the party in power–Democrats. LoL.