Leland Yee should be making national headlines. A Democratic state senator from San Francisco, a statewide candidate until this week, and a rising member of Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein’s Democratic political machine, was arrested on Wednesday by the Justice Department for wire fraud, corruption, and his alleged involvement in illegal gun deal between Chinatown gangsters and Islamist militants.
And while he has been trying to put automatic weapons and shoulder-fired missile launchers into the hands of criminals, Yee was also an extremely vocal gun-control advocate whose mission was to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
As Jonah Goldberg writes in his column today, this is what journalists call “good copy.” The scandal, outright hypocrisy, and rapid fall from grace should provide ample fodder for cash-starved publications ever searching for more clicks.
Yet four of the most prominent news outlets in America — CNN, USA Today, Politico and the Chicago Sun-Times — made no mention of the Leland Yee scandal within two days of the story breaking. When Politico finally ran a story mentioning Lee on March 28, he was mentioned in passing, along with two other Democrats facing criminal charges, in a piece only 125 words long.
In their first story on the scandal, CBS failed to say that Yee is a Democrat. Only buried in a later story specifically focused on the political ramification did CBS include Yee’s party affiliation. The first piece written by an ABC correspondent likewise did not mention that Yee is a Democrat, though ABC did publish stories from the AP that referenced Yee’s party affiliation.
The New York Times offered only one blurb of less than 200 words on Yee’s corruption charges. The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post seem to be the only top-tier outlets in the mainstream media willing to cover the Yee scandal in depth and mention his political affiliation.
Being a Democrat — even (or perhaps especially) a disgraced Democrat — comes with a lot of perks.