Published October 26, 2012
Imagine a scathing look at a vice presidential candidate. Put a “R” after that candidate’s name, like Sarah Palin, and you get big-name books, a controversial film and lots of news coverage.
Put a “D” after that candidate’s name, even when he’s still the sitting vice president, and it gets almost no attention. That’s the case with Jeff Connaughton, “a Biden Senate staffer turned lobbyist” who just published a book called “The Payoff” that Politico says “lacerates” the vice president.
As described by the publisher, "Beginning in January 2009, The Payoff" lays bare Washington’s culture of power and plutocracy. It’s the story of the twenty-month struggle by Senator Ted Kaufman [VP Biden's successor] and Jeff Connaughton, his chief of staff, to hold Wall Street executives accountable for securities fraud, to stop stock manipulation by high-frequency traders, and to break up too-big-to-fail megabanks."
Politico quoted from the book saying Biden was an “egomaniacal autocrat” “determined to manage his staff through fear.” Pretty strong stuff, landing just at the peak of a presidential campaign. Most not inside the Beltway might even call it “news.”
But it’s also been strongly ignored by the news media, forever chasing after Republican scandals. In this case, only a handful of outlets have covered it including Politico, The Washington Post and Al Gore’s ever-more-obscure Current TV. The Post gave it all of one paragraph.
Pretty amazing for a book Politico called “angry” and certainly has lots of anti-Biden goodies. “What’s remarkable about the book is the lengths that Connaughton goes to portray his former boss and political idol in a bad light, piling up embarrassing anecdotes and examples of when Biden couldn’t be bothered to help one of his own aides,” Jonathan Martin wrote.
So much for bad stories about the VP just before election, including one where “Biden revealed that he had been upbraided by an angry Obama.” Yet, these are exactly the kind of stories the news media would call game changers, which makes one wonder why this book is getting no ink.
But don’t hold your breath. The book came out in September and journalists have ignored it this long. It likely won’t get coverage until mid-November some time, if then. Just in time to have zero impact on the election.
This article is part of our ongoing series of "bias alerts" which focuses on calling out bias in the media. For additional bias alerts click here