Monday, April 9, 2007

Chron ignores emerging DiFi story

A conservative columinst and blogger, Michelle Malkin (pictured at right), is asking why the Chronicle hasn't published any stories about Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resignation from a military expenditure subcommittee that approved billions of dollars in contracts that went to companies controlled by her husband, Richard Blum.

The stories about DiFi weren't written by some right-wing nut, however. They were written by Peter Byrne (at left), an award-winning investigative journalist funded by The Nation Institute, which describes itself as a "liberal-left independently funded and administered organization, committed to a just society and the principles of the First Amendment." His stories were published by San Jose's Metro and the North Bay Bohemian, not exactly right-wing rags.

Malkin said she received an e-mail from a reader who claims to have corresponded with Vlae Kershner (right), news director of the Chron's, about the lack of coverage of the DiFi controversy. According to what Malkin posted, Kershner claims DiFi's resignation from the subcommittee wasn't true, adding:
    You should show the report to your class as an example of how special interests can disseminate phony news on the Internet.
Then Kershner sends a second e-mail stating:
    [J]ust to clarify my prior message, I'm told that what happened was that when the Democrats won control in January, she got off the Military Construction subcommittee to take the chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior instead.
Malkin questions why Feinstein would give up a powerful position to take a less prestigious post. Malkin adds, "In the meantime, it will be interesting to see just what exactly the San Francisco Chronicle determines was 'phony' about Byrne's reporting and whether the paper's editorial board will also turn up its nose at Feinstein's reported conflicts of interest -- which, as we all know, would be a non-stop, front-page crusade if Feinstein were a Republican ..."

On Monday, Feinstein's office released a statement that was posted by the blog in which Feinstein, through her spokesman, gives a detailed denial of the allegations that she funneled billions of taxpayer dollars to her husband's companies. For whatever reason, the Democratic senator's statement cannot be found on the press release portion of her Web site.

Byrne's work:
    • Jan. 24, Senator Feinstein's Iraq Conflict -- As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband's firms
    • Jan. 25, Metro's news release about Byrne's series
    • Jan. 31, Daddy Kleinbucks -- Why the media missed the story on Dianne Feinstein's past conflicts of interest
    • Feb. 28, Blum Rap -- Turns out Senator Dianne Feinstein isn't the only one in her family with an ethics problem
    • March 21, Feinstein Resigns -- Senator exits MILCON following Metro expose, vet-care scandal
Photo credits: Three-shot is from Metro (its caption: "Laughing all the way to the bank: Sen. Dianne Feinstein with husband Richard C. Blum (center) and Al Gore."); Top photo is from Malkin's blog; Byrne photo from his blog; Kershner's photo is from Grade The News, and DiFi shot (of her at a Rules Committee hearing Feb. 20) is from her Senate Web site.)


Anonymous said...

Feinstein should make a clearer denial than this---it seems her husband (and her) are profittig off the war.

Anonymous said...

The San Diego Tribune is also "avoiding" the story. . .

Carol Goodhue from the Tribune replied via email on the 5th to my inquiry: "The paper is doing its own reporting on Dianne Feinstein to determine if there's a story there."

Sure Carol. . . .And when might the Tribune complete it's "own reporting"?.

Anonymous said...

Difi's version is that she left the subcommittee when the Democrats gained control of the Senate, and all of the committee assignments were changing.

Anonymous said...

It's suspicious that Feinstein didn't post her press release responding to these allegations on her website, instead giving it out selectively. It's like she doesn't want mainstream reporters seeing the release and thinking "hmm, why is she so upset about this."

Felix said...

I doubt Feinstein and Blum are crooks. My guess is that the reporter made a huge mistake here, and that's why the Chron isn't picking it up.