NY Times failed to inform readers who GOP consultant LaCivita really is

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In an article about Sen. George Allen's attack on James Webb's novels, The New York Times quoted Chris LaCivita and identified him simply as "a consultant for the Allen campaign." In doing so, the Times ignored LaCivita's connections to several controversial Republican front groups, including Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth.

In an October 28 article on Sen. George Allen's (R-VA) recent attack on former Navy Secretary James Webb, Allen's Democratic opponent in the upcoming election, regarding novels Webb wrote years ago containing graphic passages, The New York Times quoted Chris LaCivita, "a consultant for the Allen campaign," saying: "Some of the references are simply disturbing and continue to show a pattern of disrespectful treatment of women." However, in identifying LaCivita simply as "a consultant for the Allen campaign," the Times ignored LaCivita's connections to several controversial Republican front groups, including the smear-mongering Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth. The Times also failed to note LaCivita's connection to a scandal involving alleged Republican efforts to jam Democratic phone lines during an Election Day "get out the vote" operation in New Hampshire in 2002.

From the Times article:

In its latest attack, the Allen camp takes particular issue with the portrayal of women in Mr. Webb's novels, saying female characters are consistently "servile, subordinate, inept, incompetent, promiscuous, perverted, or some combination of these."

[...]

On Friday, Chris LaCivita, a consultant for the Allen campaign, issued a statement that Mr. Webb had extolled his experience as a writer "but has anyone really read what he has written?"

"Some of the references are simply disturbing and continue to show a pattern of disrespectful treatment of women," Mr. LaCivita said.

The Times, in reporting LaCivita's attack on Webb, might have noted that LaCivita was a paid consultant and media adviser to the Swift Boat Veterans in 2004, when LaCivita also worked for the DCI Group, a Republican strategy firm. In fact, it was the Times that, on August 25, 2004, highlighted LaCivita's involvement with the Swift Boat Veterans as one of the connections the group held to the Bush administration -- two of the partners at DCI Group had close connections to Bush and his 2000 presidential campaign. The Times also noted that LaCivita worked for the conservative lobbying organization Progress for America (PFA) -- he is the organization's executive director. PFA consistently stumps for the Bush administration on issues such as Social Security, judicial nominations, and the fight against terrorism, often through false and misleading TV ads. Additionally, LaCivita served as a consultant to USA Next, another Republican front group that supported the Bush administration's efforts to privatize Social Security and routinely attacked the AARP for its opposition to Social Security privatization.

LaCivita also served as political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2002, and has been linked to a scandal in which, according to The Washington Post, Republican operatives in New Hampshire "allegedly tied up phone lines of Democrats and a firefighters union trying to turn out the vote in 2002." According to a June 8 Associated Press article , former Bush campaign official James Tobin "was sentenced last month to 10 months in prison on charges he helped plan the phone jamming. Tobin was convicted in December of two felony telephone harassment charges. He was acquitted of a third, more serious charge, of conspiring against voters rights." The AP article noted: "In 2002 Tobin was a regional political director for the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee. Democrats are seeking testimony from Terry Nelson, Tobin's former RNC boss, and Chris LaCivita, Tobin's former NRSC boss."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
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