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December 11th, 2012

Double Standard? Des Moines Register Ignores Adams’ Record Despite Highlighting Republicans’ Past Transgressions

By Craig Robinson

A week ago, reported that Desmund Adams, the Democrat State Senate candidate in District 22, had an extensive and troubling court record. With voters going to the polls today to select who will represent them in the Iowa State Senate, this website felt that a candidate’s extensive record, like that of Mr. Adams, should reported on before the election.

Apparently, the Des Moines Register and other media outlets in Des Moines don’t feel the same way.  The Register’s decision to basically ignore Adams’ past transgressions is the most worrisome since the paper has had no problems trolling through Iowa Court records when a Republican candidate is involved.

Mr. Adams’ court record includes charges for fifth degree theft, failure to pay child support, as well as child endangerment.  In fact, Adams was prosecuted by the Dallas County attorney’s office for felony child abuse of his son, who was 12-years-old at the time.  That is Mr. Adams record, and that is what the Des Moines Register has chosen to ignore.

The Register’s decision to turn a blind eye toward Adams’ court records is troubling considering they have published extensive reports on Republican candidates who have police records, but unlike Adams, no charges were ever filed.  There are two examples of this from the 2010 elections, dealing with State Senator Brad Zaun, who was running for Congress at the time, and State Senator Kent Sorenson, who was a State Representative seeking his seat in the senate.

In Zaun’s case, the Des Moines Register and other media outlets made a big deal out of a 2001 police report that indicated Zaun had gone to a former girlfriend’s home and knocked on her windows.  No charges were filed against Zaun, but police did tell him to leave the woman alone.  That incident was nine years old at the time that Des Moines Register reporter Tom Witosky filed his investigative report on the matter.

Later in the 2010 election, the Register claims to have scoured the court documents of both Sorenson and his opponent State Senator Staci Appel.  Appel’s record showed three traffic tickets, where Sorenson’s record included a drug conviction, failure to pay child support, and bankruptcy.  Out of the 960 words in the article, Des Moines Register Reporter Jennifer Jacobs devoted only 17 words to Appel.  The rest article was an extensive examination of everything that Sorenson had ever done.

The question that begs to be asked is, why does the Des Moines Register feel it is necessary to treat Desmund Adams differently than they treated Zaun and Sorenson?

A closer examination of Zaun may have been justified since he was running for Congress, but the kid gloves treatment they have given Adams is completely different than what Sorenson got just a couple of years ago.  One can draw a number of conclusions, but none of them make you feel good about the journalistic integrity of the state’s largest newspaper.

Did the Des Moines Register give Sorenson a more through examination because they don’t like his no-holds-barred conservative politics, or was it simply based on his political party preference?  Or, is a candidate’s race the reason why two candidates running for the same office have been treated so differently?

Those are two troubling conclusions that people typically don’t want to discuss, but the Des Moines Register’s hypocrisy on the matter forces us to speculate as to what their motivations and standards are.

The Register is not alone in this matter.  Des Moines City View, which is owned by Michael Gartner, is also guilty of the same hypocrisy.

Despite today’s special election in Senate District 22, the weekly newspaper is reporting on the court record of newly-elected Republican State Representative Bobby Kaufmann instead of Adams.  For the record, reported on Kaufmann’s run-ins with the law back when he announced his candidacy.  What a novel concept, and what a shame that an openly-partisan news site like is more fair and balanced than City View and the Register.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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