The Times Keeps Forgetting Troubled Sen. Dodd Is a Democrat

A tough story on liberal Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd is marred by an old problem: Nowhere in the story is Dodd directly indentified as a Democrat.

Once again, the Times has filed a tough story on liberal Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, challenging his ethics. And once again, there's just one thing missing - Dodd's Democratic Party affiliation.

Reporter Raymond Hernandez's Tuesday Metro section, "As Special Interests Aid Dodd, he Distances Himself From Them",is sufficiently tough on the influential Democrat:

As Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut assumes a central role in thedebateover health care, the pharmaceutical industry has helped finance efforts to bolster his image back home as he braces for a potentially bruising re-election contest.

The industry's campaign-style push for Mr. Dodd, part of a larger effort to highlight the work of certain lawmakers around the country, portray him as a defender of ordinary citizens in brochures sent to more than 100,000 homes in Connecticut and in a 30-second television spot that ran for three weeks.

For Mr. Dodd, the support provided by thePharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, the industry's lobbying arm, comes at a politically sensitive, if not awkward, time. He is trying to combat a perception that he has become too close to powerful interest groups in Washington after 28 years in the Senate.

As part of that effort, Mr. Dodd's own campaign has produced two videos, "Lobbyists Cry" and "The Blues," presenting him as a politician who has caused grief for Washington lobbyists. He also sent a fund-raising solicitation asserting that lobbyists do not have access to him.

"The lobbyists can't get meetings with Chris," the solicitation says. "He won't return their phone calls. He even yells at them during hearings."

But even as Mr. Dodd attempts to distance himself from these special interests, he is clearly relying on their help as he prepares for his re-election, a reality seized upon by his Republican critics.

You can infer from the paragraph in bold that Dodd is a Democrat. Yet why isn't it standard Times procedure for politicians of both parties to be identified by party? The Times has a very bad habit of omitting the troubled Dodd's Democratic identity, something they rarely forget when it comes to Republicans in trouble.

Hernandez'scoveragealso lacked details from this Associated Press story filed Monday afternoon about sworn testimony given to a congressional investigation by Robert Feinberg, who worked for Countrywide Financial Corp.

According to the AP, Feinberg said Dodd and Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad were

...told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation's largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony. Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn't know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers.