Usually I leave deconstructing Tribune-Review articles to the good folks at 2 Political Junkies: God knows it's important work, but you know -- life is pretty short.
Still, I couldn't help but notice this passage from the Trib's wrap-up of yesterday's Tea Party event in Market Square Downtown:
The tea party patriots have been given a bum rap, according to Tim Hagle, an associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa.
"They've been treated unfairly in the media," he said.
Nice to see at least one academic who isn't trying to undermine our nation's values, eh, Tea Partiers?
But I got interested in this Tim Hagle. He's been quoted in other outlets, certainly -- even NPR, that bastion of latte-sipping cultural elitists who long to destroy America from within. But as it turns out, he's got special reason to be well disposed to a movement that -- while it claims non-partisanship -- routinely blasts Democrats as "socialists."
Hagle, it seems, is not just a professor at the University of Iowa. He is also the
faculty advisor to the University of Iowa College Republicans and the Iowa Federation of College Republicans. He has been a member of the Johnson County Republican Central Committee. Hagle recently completed two years of service at the United States Department of Justice in the Office for Victims of Crime and the National Institute of Justice. He was also appointed by President Bush to serve on the Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise, a committee that oversees the writing of a history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Not only that. Hagle has contributed sizable sums -- sizable for someone living on an acadmic salary, that is -- to Republican candidates and causes. In 2008, he gave $1,500 to the Republican National Committee, plus another $1,500 to the McCain/Palin presidential ticket. Prior to the GOP's national conention, Hagle gave $500 to abortive GOP candidate Fred Thompson (remember him?) and additional sums to McCain. In 2004, he gave repeatedly to Bush/Cheney. He's also given to Iowa Republicans running for Congress. In all,
I track more than $7,700 in contributions to Republican causes since 2002. (Some of these donations are identified here, though you really need to go the FEC's database to get the full story.)
Should the Trib have disclosed those connections? Well, it's not like NPR did (though the Daily Iowan has previously noted his party affiliation at least). So who am I to judge?
Still, it's kinda ironic to see reporters getting criticized for bias ... when the guy doing the criticism is himself an avowed partisan. It's almost like having a Richard Mellon Scaife-funded "media watch" group fault mainstream reporters for slanting the facts.
But that's a topic for 2 Political Junkies.