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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 is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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