There are basically two ways to look at the David Vitter/DC Madam story: shame (senator cheats on spouse) and hypocrisy (moralistic blowhard champions sanctity of marriage, gets caught as an adulterer). CBS News’ Brian Montopoli reports today that the mainstream media is focusing on the prior, while the blogs care about the latter.
The blogs are having a field day with that hypocrisy…. The mainstream media, however, has largely steered clear of focusing on Vitter’s past statements, opting instead to play the story relatively straight. The Washington Post, noting only about his rhetoric that Vitter is “reliable conservative vote in the Senate,” didn’t front the story, opting instead for A3. Rather, it’s the blogs and liberal sites like Salon that are jumping on the story and hammering Vitter for statements at odds with his behavior.
If you want a straight news story, then, you can stick with the traditional media. But if you want a spotlight placed on Vitter’s hypocrisy — and the rush of satisfaction that comes with experiencing schadenfreude that you can justify — you can head over to the blogs. Is it any wonder that the latter get so many clicks?
That Vitter championed “family values” is pretty much the only thing that makes this story interesting. Why would traditional reporters sidestep the obvious?