Star Ledger Headline Mischaracterizes Cryan Support as Partisan

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After all the examples of false equivalence in the media when covering political situations, it’s bizarre to see a paper paint a partisan picture in a headline for an article that shows bi-partisanship.

Assemblyman Joe Cryan had some embarrassing and sexually explicit personal e-mails leaked to the media, and there were suggestions that he would be harmed.

In a second day story Star Ledger reporter Matt Friedman wrote an article about the response from the political community titled, “N.J. Dems back Cryan amid release of salacious e-mails.”  The lede sentence is:

Democratic colleagues of Assemblyman Joe Cryan defended the lawmaker Tuesday and said he could still have a robust political career …

Anyone reading this would think that the only people defending Cryan were Democrats, and that they were rallying around their own.  From that some will infer that only Democrats are supporting Cryan.  

Except that’s not the case.  Here’s how the article ends:

The Assembly minority leader, Jon Bramnick, also declined to criticize Cryan.

“My position is real simple,” Bramnick (R-Union) said. “I work with Joe Cryan on getting things done in the Legislature. If other people want to judge him, that’s up to them … I’ve worked with Joe for a long time. I like Joe.”

Besides being buried at the end of the article, the word “Republican” doesn’t show up there at all, just “minority” and “R” to indicate that a leader of the Republicans was backing the Democrat, Joe Cryan.  Combined with the headline and lede this indicates the Ledger didn’t really want us to know about the high-ranking Republican supporting Cryan.

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