The Star's Tom LoBianco used to be the best State House reporter when he worked for the AP. Now that he's joined the Star, he's become nothing more than a list-maker regurgitating Gannett's talking points. LoBianco gives us six reasons today why Rep. Moed might survive.
1. Moed clipped the story by apologizing quickly. Sexting scandals only get worse if allowed to linger without a response.
2. He's a Democrat, and he's supported gay marriage. The fallout on scandals like this tends to be worse for conservative "family values" politicians, specifically because of the implicit hypocrisy.
3. Moed is not alone. There's a long list of scandals involving Hoosier politicos and officials. The stories range from soliciting sex from undercover police in men's bathrooms to being listed as a client of the "D.C. Madame."
4. He didn't break the law. Based on the allegations, all Moed is guilty of is poor judgment.
5. Sex scandals can be damaging, but even that isn't always permanent in politics. The bizarre disappearance of then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in the summer of 2009, and the resulting revelation that he was carrying on an affair, forever redefined what it meant to go "hiking on the Appalachian Trail." He was censured by the South Carolina legislature — but never removed — and served out his full term as governor. He later ran for, and won, a U.S. House seat.
6. And then there's Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Many readers who called and wrote in following the Moed story landed on a very simple question — one that helped Clinton not only overcome the Lewinsky scandal but engineered a backfiring of sorts against Republicans: What business does the public have prying into the private lives of politicians?The most important point of LoBianco's story is to reassure Moed that the newspaper won't be digging any deeper into his scandal. That's the primary point communicated here. That's because he subscribes to the Gannett agenda. Note that the Star emphasizes Moed's support for gay marriage, while omitting any mention of Moed's graphic discussion in his social media exchanges with Leathers of his BBC fetish in which he described his casual, frequent hook-ups with a buff young black man named Omar (as shown by the nearly naked images of him he sent to Leathers) while presenting himself to the public and presumably his fiancée as a straight man. I expect political columnist Matthew Tully will follow-up with a similar reassuring column any day now that emphasizes the point he made in this Twitter post shortly after news of the scandal broke.
Feel the need to note that Rep. Moed is a particularly hard-working lawmaker who has done a lot for often-neglected neighborhoods.LoBianco concludes Rep. Moed broke no laws without even lifting a finger to ascertain the veracity of that generalization. Good investigative journalism would require a reporter to look at this major character flaw exposed to us by a porn star and ask whether those seeking to influence Moed's votes as a state lawmaker had exploited that weakness to their advantage. Was one of the down low lobbyists (and there are more than a few of them) helping finance his sexual exploits at local hotels and on out-of-town trips? Moed didn't just show up at the State House. He worked as a door man for the House Democrats for several years before becoming a state lawmaker. We learned without any digging that Rep. Moed was partying with former State Rep. Dennie Oxley, a fellow House Democratic staffer at the time, the same night Oxley was found highly intoxicated at a downtown Citgo gas station holding the high heels of a 21-year old intern, who was also found to be highly intoxicated. Oxley was later arrested for impersonating a lawmaker to avoid arrest under legislative immunity while the legislature was in session. Has the Star inquired about whether Moed has engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships in the past with House staffers as rumored?
— Matthew Tully (@matthewltully) March 10, 2015
Is the Star digging to find out whether Rep. Moed's government-issued laptop computer was being used for his sexual exploits? Has the Star put in a public records request for Rep. Moed's e-mails? Has the Star asked whether any campaign dollars may have been misspent. The IBJ's lastest edition has a story inquiring about more than $10,000 City-County Council President Maggie Lewis reimbursed herself over the past couple of years in large round numbers from her campaign funds without any detailed explanation. The Star, however, seems more intent on telling us there's nothing really to see here, folks, just move along. After all, Moed's got important work ahead of him like helping the shadowy Turkish immigrant, Ersal Ozdemir, obtain state approval for public financing of a new soccer stadium for his Indy Eleven minor league professional soccer team, along with other goodies thrown in to promote development of the former GM Stamping Plant site for a new outdoor music venue and criminal justice center, all of which have been given the seal of approval by the newspaper and which are being co-authored by Moed. The Star doesn't seem to have much of an appetite for digging into the background of Ozdemir either, and there's plenty there on which to report. Gee, I wonder why that is?
Justin Moed is in the Statehouse for today's House session.
— Jim Shella (@shellawish) March 16, 2015
Justin Moed back in Indiana House today. Shaking hands, talking w other House membersUPDATE: Not all Democratic lawmakers welcomed State Rep. Justin Moed back into the fold when he returned to the State House today. Four walked off the floor. WISH-TV's Jim Shella didn't say those four legislator were. Moed says he has no plans to resign.
— Tom LoBianco (@tomlobianco) March 16, 2015