Call this a study in contrasts. The Hill Newspaper, which is written for and about the U.S. Congress and strives for even-handedness in its coverage, offers up two tweets involving misdeeds. Actually, the first tweet links back to a story involving the admission of misdemeanor, whereas the second refers to an action, which at its worst can be characterized as nothing more grievous than a breach in protocol. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here are the tweets:
Former congressional staffer pleads guilty to sexual assault http://t.co/kH2WkCzqYK
— The Hill (@thehill) December 3, 2014
The top spokeswoman to Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) resigned Monday after calling President Obama’s daughters classless in a Facebook post over the Thanksgiving break, according to several media reports.
Elizabeth Lauten, Fincher’s communications director, stepped down just days after her Facebook comments went viral ripping Sasha and Malia Obama for their demeanor and dress at the White House turkey pardoning.
The girls, 13 and 16, appeared bored during their father’s annual Thanksgiving address.
Lauten later apologized to the Obama teenagers, saying in a subsequent post: “I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager.”
But the damage was done, and Lauten came under a torrent of online criticism, including from top-ranking Republicans. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer said on Twitter that “children, especially the first daughters, are off limits.”
And now for the story behind the first tweet:
A former Democratic congressional aide pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing two women under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.
Donny Ray Williams, who served as a staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats.
Prosecutors say Williams invited a colleague to his apartment in 2010, spiked her drink with a sleep aid and raped her while she was asleep. according to the Post.
Donny Ray Williams’s “misdeed” was sexual assaulting two women. He has pleaded guilty. Elizabeth Lauten’s “misdeed” was to violate an unwritten code — followed by organized crime and political journalists — that specifies that families of principles are off-limits.
Obviously, rape is a more serious offense than bad-mouthing a president’s daughters. But notice which of the tweets identified the miscreant’s party affiliation and which didn’t. A footnote: The Hill coverage of the Williams story neglected to mention that his resume includes a stint in the Obama administration, where he worked for 19 months as the general deputy assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Why do you suppose that is?