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Hypocritical BR Advocate chides Jindal for what it does

Lest one think the Shreveport Times has the only hypocritical editorialists of newspapers in the state, the Baton Rouge Advocate showed it doesn’t want to be left out when discussing media that says one thing and then does another.

The Advocate, joining the head of the state’s Democrats, took a shot at Gov. Bobby Jindal and his campaign staff that, by all accounts, made an inadvertent, incorrect entry on campaign finance documents. The state GOP spent money on the campaign’s behalf in June but campaign operatives overlooked to note it on the next filing due in June. In August, they were alerted to it and amended their previous form in September. However, this was too late to escape a fine which will be levied in the next few months.

Democrat Chairman Chris Whittington, with so little for his party to crow about last fall, took the opportunity to ask that Jindal’s chief of staff Timmy Teepell resign over the matter, prompting Jindal’s communications director Melissa Sellers to describe the request as “silly” and that the process that led to the complaint was a “political stunt.”

Whittington, who normally apparently is not easily offended by remarks or actions made by politicians in the area of ethics – as long as they are Democrats (witness his remaining silent over the years on ethics abuses committed by Democrat ex-state Sen. Charles Jones nor objected to Jones’ leading the committee in charge of ethics in the Senate, culminating with Jones’ recent indictment for corrupt practices while in office) – suddenly took offense to this characterization. So did the opinion page of The Advocate, huffily opining “if it’s going to be dismissed as partisanship when a Democrat raises an issue, or escape attention at all unless mentioned in the media, we don’t know how to define the administration’s operating principle. Transparent when caught?”

But The Advocate itself in the piece deliberately tries to mislead on the nature of the complaint. It refers to the complaint as “from a Democrat.” True enough – but from the former head of the Tulane College Democrats who continues to play an active role in the party. The way The Advocate implies it, some concerned citizen with no agenda whatsoever accidentally one day stumbled upon the discrepancy, his pastime being reading thousands of pages of campaign finance reports.

No, it was somebody whose motivation could not be only to champion politics pure as the driven snow, but somebody fact-checking with the express purpose of trying to find damaging information that could be used in a partisan fashion. In other words, does The Advocate seriously believe that this guy would have been doing this without any partisan motivation? (If so, I’ve got a great deal for them on land in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward next to the Industrial Canal.) And why wouldn’t they state the exact position of this guy?

In trying to make the Jindal Administration appear like it is throwing up labels to obscure a shortcoming, in its own biased presentation of the issue The Advocate editorialists show not only that they are the ones tying to obscure the issue that clearly was one of partisan Democrat tactics, but also their failure to correctly inform readers of all the facts surrounding the case – which influences correct judgment on the Administration’s response – makes them hypocrites violating their own stricture concerning “transparency.” Pot, meet kettle.


Anonymous said...

Even from the other side of the aisle, this looks like little to do about nothing.

Problem is that the Republicans want to act like they have a monopoly on ethics these days. Folks wouldn't be making such a deal about Jindal's lapses but for his campaign's self-righteousness and the hagiography in blogs like this.

He'd probably get a "pass" if he adopted the "dead woman or live boy" approach.

Jeff Sadow said...

I think you don't quite know the definition of "hagiography" -- idealizing or idolizing biography -- or else you wouldn't apply it to this space. If you would read more of this, you note I criticize all politicians, as I have done so with Jindal on several occasions, when their issue preferences are not optimal.

But you are correct that this whole deal is trivial, except that it is being publicized now in the runup to the ethics special session.