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February 14, 2016

The DNC’s Deceptive Message on Louisiana

I wasn’t surprised to get an email recently from a regional Democratic National Committee press secretary seeking to tarnish the credentials of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

After all, Jindal has become an outspoken Republican elected official and is mentioned as a possible contender for president in 2016. And if national Democrats can soften him up now, maybe that will help the prospects of the state’s senior senator, Mary L. Landrieu, who is up for re-election next year.

Still, the DNC email raised a question because it included this quote from the Times-Picayune, the largest newspaper in the state: “Jindal’s meager record at home won’t get him to the White House.”

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I knew the newspaper citation was given to convey a sense of authority and non-partisanship, but it seemed unlikely to me that a newspaper would include an editorial or a news story with a headline like that. So I followed the link to try to understand the headline’s context.

I found that the headline disparaging Jindal was atop a column written by Bob Mann on, the Times-Picayune’s website. Mann was identified as “a professor at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.” That’s true as far as it goes, but it’s deceptive — as deceptive as the email I received that first got me thinking.

Mann’s blog notes that before he joined LSU in 2006, he “spent more than 20 years” working in partisan politics for Democrats. In fact, he even worked for then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who defeated Jindal in 2003 but retired at the end of her term rather than lose to him in 2007.

But Mann is no George Stephanopoulos, a one-time partisan who changed his whole approach when he left the partisan trenches and entered the media. Mann’s blog includes a series of anti-Jindal and anti-Republican posts that demonstrate that he is no dispassionate observer who teaches at a university. He remains what he always was — a sharp elbowed Democrat who likes attacking Republicans.

There is nothing wrong with that, of course. Newspapers often have columnists from both sides of the aisle. What is wrong is for the DNC to cite Mann to make its point and not identify him as the source of the anti-Jindal comments but instead cite the Times-Picayune.

Knowing how cynical and skeptical people are about politics, campaigns and consultants now look for quotes and headlines from reputable, independent voices that they can use to pump up their candidates and destroy their opponents. Newspaper editorials and news articles can do that, which is why they appear so often in print and TV ads.

But if those partisans can’t find the right quote in an editorial or news piece, they’ll grab one from a sympathetic columnist and cite the media outlet as the source. It’s misleading, of course. It’s fraudulent. It’s unconscionable. But it’s becoming a part of the political playbook.

No wonder people are cynical about our politicians and political parties.

  • susierosie

    Oh please, did you happen to take a look at the NY Post today. If you want to see a story that is slanted look no further. The NY Post is a right wing newspaper that uses slander and gossip to sell their rag. I don’t see any conservatives condemning the NY Post.

    • PortageMain

      An apples and oranges comparison. Let me know if you see somebody citing the NY Post as an objective source, like the DNC did with the Times Picayune in the email Stuart cited.

    • CiceroTheLatest

      Yet you don’t tell us which story it is. Quite revealing.

  • NotoLepage

    Let’s see…the email correctly quoted a headline, and correctly attributed it to the newspaper it was in? This is the best you got? Sad.

    • Rick Caird

      Pay attention. It was not in the newspaper. It was on a web site in a column written by an partisan democrat LSU professor.

      Is that the best you got?

      • CTimbo

        I am sure we will hear better as soon as they can make it up.

  • NotoLepage

    How about this? “Stuart Rothenberg says of DNC email slamming Jindal “There is nothing wrong with that, of course.” in an article in RollCall.” – I use your name, say where they appear, and quote your exact words. Fair enough?

  • Oldfart

    Faux Noise never admits the political ties of so-called pundits that “grace” their lie machine. Have you ever complained about that? And, not making the source of the headline clear does not mean that their message is misleading. Anyone with a mouse pointer can do the same research you did.

    • PortageMain

      But they don’t, and the DNC was counting on them not looking

      • Oldfart

        I don’t think the DNC cared much whether they looked or not. Otherwise, why provide the link?

        • Rick Caird

          Because most people, particularly those on the left do not follow the link. The LIV like you just believe the lies.

    • Rick Caird

      Ah, a typical failed distraction attempt. If Krauthammer says something on Fox News, it is not attributed to Fox. It is attributed to Krauthammer. So, actually the quote should have been attributed to LSU, That would have been more appropriate.

    • PhonecardMike

      Please provide some kind of proof to support your statement. I watch Fox, CNN, MSDNC, and your statement is just plain wrong. Fox identifies its guests and where they come from. The opinion shows are very good about providing both left and right sources. Their news programs lean slightly right, but play it closer to the middle then any other network. The media study I quoted is 8 years old, but I believe still accurate.

      Now MSDNC on the other hand,

      Both links are good.

      • Oldfart

        Well, PhonecardMike, the simple fact that you believe Faux Noise leans “slightly” right disqualifies you from any time and energy I would otherwise bother to put into this.

        • PhonecardMike

          Did you read them or just assume? Be honest, you just wrote one of your “canned responses” and put your head back in the sand.

          Fine by me, but at least admit it to yourself.

        • PhonecardMike

          Thanks for the chuckle and the confirmation of liberal denial. Just remember, more and more of us are on to your faux open-mind position. The liberal version of compromise is total agreement with your position.

          I read your link and it pretty much supports my comments among a good layout of media bias. Merry Christmas.

          • Oldfart

            I read the link too, Mike. I see that you suffer from the usual “can’t read or write english” that the rest of the teabagger universe suffers from. Frankly, I’m sorry I wasted as little time as I did on the subject.

            I read both of your links, Mike. They were both biased. The first one because the authors were biased. The second one because…..the author was biased.

            And your statement on liberal compromise – why where have I seen that before? I remember. It’s a projection of the standard Repthuglian position onto liberals. Repthuglians do not have the upper brain functions necessary for compromise or empathy. That’s why they never do. Many of us tried to explain that to Obama during his first term. But he kept trying and we all lost.
            Hey, Happy Holidays.

      • Oldfart

        Both links were biased.

        Here’s an unbiased (partly) link for you as a starting point:

  • Chris Frink

    Is the Times-Picayune — printed only three days a week and taken significant circulation hit — REALLY the largest newspaper in the state?

  • Chris Frink

    Mighty picayune-ish nitpicking, Mr. Rothenberg

  • ozonator

    The article is typical of someone having a bad time 100 years ago during Mardi Gras and going no further in research.

    For example, “Louisiana failed to collect millions in oil and gas taxes” (By Julia O’Donoghue, | The Times-Picayune;, 12/2/13). Railing against food stamp users and not his diaper service, “Vitter unhappy with response to EBT theft, wants abusers cut off, prosecuted” (, 11/4/13). “”Friday Quotes: It’s Open Line Friday! … May 30, 2008 … Bobby Jindal was just fabulous in our Limbaugh Letter interview, and the way he’s turned the state of Louisiana around is just superb, too. He’s a great guy, and he’s so right on about what’s wrong with the party” (the old, ugly and evil Rush “looting” Limbaugh whistlesucker performing and perfuming the stink at

  • CiceroTheLatest

    Hey, everybody! How about this for a story line?

    “Democrat Party caught concealing hard Left source of slander against republican Governor. Butt-hurt Leftists infest comment section in futile attempt at diverting attention.”

  • Diogenesxxx

    Breaking News- Democrats Lie!

  • georgedixon1

    The baseline fact of politics is that everyone who ‘plays’ that game thinks that lying and sharp elbows are not only appropriate…they are expected.

    Why should any citizen feel compelled to be truthful with government…from the courts to the dog catcher…if the electoral process which gives them power is based on trickery and lies?

    Politics or Business or Law…they are no different in their need for the truth and careful consideration.
    But if the people who run for office feel excused from the truth…then Phuque’em…and offer them none when they ask for it.

    • Rich Vail

      more and more people are going galt. after all our govt spies on our every move now…and bureaucrats think mothing of it…when laege minorities of americans stop paying taxes..perhaps THEN govt will notice.

  • Rich Vail

    actually, this has been common practice for both parties for most of the past two centuries. its just that NOW, we can near instantaneously check sources…which can now quickly lead to embarrassment.

  • Carl

    From the story: “But Mann is no George Stephanopoulos, a one-time partisan who changed his whole approach when he left the partisan trenches and entered the

    One-time partisan? Is this the same Stepanopoulos that kicked off the bulls**t “War on Women” flap in the presidential debates?

    • ELC

      Yes, the remark about Stephanopoulos is naive, to say the least.

  • Peakview

    Subscribe to the national Democrat governors committe emails if you really want some howlers. Amazing to read them keeping in mind that the emails are not from bloggers with an ax to grind, but from the actual elected officials and their handlers.

  • thegreyman

    Bobby Jindal did NOT steal my health care coverage. It was not HIS health care guru who told me that it “wasn’t fair” that I had good coverage I had earned through decades of hard work. And that my coverage had to be taken away. No, that was Mary Landrieu.

    If it wasn’t for voter fraud in New Orleans, Sen. Landrieu would have been out on her ear years ago, and making millions as a “consultant” in DC. Remember that ACORN was formed in NO.

    As for me, I will walk on my lips through busted glass to vote her out.

  • dennylee60

    Surprisingly Obama’s non-existing record got him elected to the WH.

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