Aw, FOO-ey!

Hats off to the LA "By God" Times' politico reporter Jean Pasco. Finally, a daily newspaper that circulates in Orange County has drawn a connection between criminally tainted GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and wack-packin' Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach).

Way to go, Jean-o!

Of course, in typical Times/Pasco fashion, honed from her years doing the same at the Orange County Register, the piece was totally Rohrabacher-sided (she couldn't find one critic?), the most-troubling Abramoff-Rohrabacher ties were quickly glossed over, and even passages that have been reported in major daily newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post were massaged to make Dana come out smelling like a Rohrabacher.

Way to go, Jean-o!

Our previous post "FOO Fighter," or re-post to be more accurate, details the whole bloody Abramoff-Rohrabacher mess, in all its ingloriousness. To her credit, at least Pasco wrote something unlike that editorial crew Dana has bent over at the Rag-ister. But after you read Jean's story, and before you take in our way-too long "FOO Fighters" post, we would like to share again the last chunklet of the latter as a way of explaining the lay of the OC media land:

A postscript: We began this tale by wondering whether Rohrabacher's run in Congress will be jeopardized by his ties to DeLay and Abramoff. Perhaps voters in his district will never know. Rohrabacher has always received the kid-glove treatment from his former employer, the now Orange County Register, and it's the world's worst-kept secret that he's the primary local politics source for Jean Pasco, the Orange County political reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Despite stories in the national media, on the web and -- natch -- in the Weekly, the Times and Register have reported nothing on Rohrabacher's alarming ties to Islamic terrorist groups, even when local challengers have raised this on the congressional campaign trail. And while with the Register in 1996, Pasco for four months failed to identify [Rhona] Carmony, then a Rohrabacher aide, [now his wife] as being among the central organizers of a local GOP plot to plant a decoy candidate in the Assembly race eventually won by Scott "Slime" Baugh, who is now the party's Orange County chairman. After pleading guilty to two charges of falsifying campaign papers, Carmony was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a $2,800 fine. Pressed by the Weekly, Pasco eventually blamed her editors for the omission.

Pasco did include Rohrabacher in an April 14 [2005] Times story on California politicians who, like Tom DeLay, keep family members on their payrolls. Rohrabacher said his wife was on the campaign payroll because he needs a campaign manager he can trust. The Register weighed in three days later with "Rohrabacher feels for, supports DeLay." The pull quote there had Rohrabacher calling Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Connecticut) a "jerk" for urging DeLay to do what he ultimately did anyway: step down as House majority leader.

Despite coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, major dailies in Texas, wire services around the country and all over the world wide web, a recent database search turned up zero-zippo-nada hits for Register or LA Times stories that mention Rohrabacher and Abramoff in the same article.

Okay, so with all that background, your head must hurt sumptin' fierce by now. But wrap that noggin' around this: Pasco begins her seventh graf as follows:

The connection between Rohrabacher and Abramoff has long been known.

Yes it has, Jean: EVERYWHERE BUT IN THE GOD-DAMN DAILY NEWSPAPERS SERVING ROHRABACHER'S OWN FUCKING DISTRICT!!! Let's back track, shall we?

Despite coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, major dailies in Texas, wire services around the country and all over the world wide web, a recent database search turned up zero-zippo-nada hits for Register or LA Times stories that mention Rohrabacher and Abramoff in the same article.

Again, that was posted Oct. 10, 2005. When the Weekly was considering putting that post to print in our Dec. 30 year-end issue (it was held instead; fuckin' editors!), Clockwork did another database search and discovered that Rohrabacher and Abramoff had still managed to miss one another in the same Times or Register stories.

But don't worry, Orange County citizens, both papers were all over the REAL story: that New Year's Eve fiasco at the fairgrounds.

Oh, but it gets worse, news hounds. Pasco also wrote this:

The congressman said he and Abramoff socialized over the years with their families and dined together frequently. Rohrabacher would eat at Abramoff's Washington restaurant, Signatures, or play host to the lobbyist in the congressional dining room. A House exemption allowed him to have the meals without reporting them, he said, because the two were friends before Rohrabacher was elected to Congress.

Can anyone guess the key information missing from that paragraph? If you read the previous Clockwork item, you'd know that Abramoff was paying for Dana's meals, even when Abramoff was not present. Need a clue, Jean? Try our headline: FOO Fighter. FOO stands for "Friend of Owner," which Dana would sign to get his lobbyist-funded meals comped.

Now, the Jean Jeanie can swear she doesn't live on her back, that the meals being comped was implied in her story. So why not come right out and write it? Why be vague? Hello? Is this on?(We're running 10-1 odds around here she'll blame her editors for taking it out again).

You see, by coming right out and reporting that Abramoff bought the hoity-toity meals that filled Dana's ample gut, the last sentence makes more sense: A House exemption allowed him to have the meals without reporting them, he said, because the two were friends before Rohrabacher was elected to Congress. There would be nothing to exempt if Rohrabacher was picking up his own tab.

Oh, but it gets worser:

Rohrabacher also agreed to be listed as a personal reference when Abramoff sought a $60-million loan to buy a fleet of casino boats in Florida.

Oh, really Jean? Well, that's got to be news to the Washington Post reporters who contacted Rohrabacher right after the spit hit the fan belt. Let us return once again to "FOO Fighter":

The SunCruz negotiations dragged on. When the partners tried to secure financing, Abramoff's list of loan references included -- wait for it -- Dana Rohrabacher.

"I don't remember it, but I would certainly have been happy to give him a good recommendation," Rohrabacher later told the Washington Post. "He's a very honest man."

So either the Post misquoted Rohrabacher, or Dana's now lying to cover up the actions of his "good friend," this "honest man." In either case, you've got to wonder about a reporter--and a paper that likes to portray itself as a heavy hitter on the national scene--stating as fact: Rohrabacher also agreed to be listed as a personal reference when Abramoff sought a $60-million loan to buy a fleet of casino boats in Florida. At the very least (and we mean very, very least), they could have inserted "says he" between the first two words of that sentence.
Then again, there is a third possibility: Dana has one version of the truth for the national audience, and a different one for the folks back home, especially that small pool of diehards who return him to DC every two years. He should thank his lucky stars he has the LA "By God" Times and Orange County "By Satan" Register there to carry his Scotch and water.

Way to go, Jean-o!

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