The NY Times and ABC News report quite differently on the Mark Foley scandal [And the NY Times wins; ABC exaggerated its story - see TIEBREAK, below].
Yesterday ABC headlined comments from former page Matthew Loraditch:
GOP Staff Warned Pages About Foley in 2001
A Republican staff member warned congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page.
Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk's office.
Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told "don't get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff."
Loraditch says that some of the pages who "interacted" with Foley were hesitant to report his behavior because "members of Congress, they've got the power." Many of the pages were hoping for careers in politics and feared Foley might seek retribution.
Loraditch runs the alumni association for the U.S. House Page Program, and he is deeply concerned about the future effects this scandal could have on a program that he sees as a valuable educational experience for teens.
Yet the Times also talked to Mark Loraditch and bureid his quotes in a story headlined "Former Pages Describe Foley as Caring Ally":
Matthew Loraditch, who worked as a page with Ms. Gallo and Mr. McDonald in 2001 and 2002, said a supervisor had once casually mentioned that Mr. Foley “was odd” and that he later saw sexually explicit text messages that Mr. Foley had sent to two former pages after they left the program.
But Mr. Loraditch said he was never warned by program supervisors to stay away from him. “He was friendly,” said Mr. Loraditch, who maintains a Web site for alumni and attends Towson University in Maryland. “He would talk to us more than some other members would.”
Pretty dramatic stuff from ABC News, although the two versions do not flatly contradict each other. In the ABC version Mr. Loraditch was "warned", although the nature of the warning is left vague (Gee, by accident or design?). In the Times version, Mr. Loraditch got a casual mention that Foley was "odd". Well, that is sort of like a warning, yes?
Looks like Mr. Loraditch will be getting more calls to arrange a tie-breaking interview.
TIEBREAK: Mr. Loraditch has posted an explanation on his Facebook page and the Times wins:
...another page, who asked not to be named told The Palm Beach Post, "The program in no official capacity warned us about it," and he said that Loraditch had posted an explanation for his comments to ABC on the college social network, Facebook.com.
Loraditch's Facebook.com statement said: "I have received several heated responses from my fellow pages about media involvement in the current situation. I want to respond with a few points and thoughts.
"Firstly, as to the ABC "Warned" story, while I may have inadvertently used the word, "warned," in communication, I can assure you it was not intended. The fact of the matter is in an informal situation a supervisor mentioned that Foley was a bit odd or flaky and did not connote by tone or otherwise that he should be avoided.
"Secondly as to talking out in general, . . . I don't think anyone can argue that protecting kids, pages, or whomever from sexual predators is anything but the most important of this whole saga. Nothing comes in front of the safety of the page program, not the page program, a member of congress, no one.
"Thirdly, I have stressed several key points in my contact with media that all situations with Mr. Foley occurred after we had finished our service as pages. That if anything had happed while we were in Washington, it would have been dealt with. That I have full faith and trust that any of the supervisors and staff we worked with would have properly dealt with any situation like the current one. That the page program is one of the most wonderful and educational experiences a youth can have.
"Fourthly, although not all of you know people who have had these horrible conversation with Foley, I do. And frankly that gives me all the more reason to speak out. . . .
"Finally, if i have hurt or offended anyone, I am sorry. And I love my page friends and I cherish my relationships with the page program staff, however fracture some of this may have made them. I want you all to know that I truly believe that I'm doing the best that I can do."
The other page said most pages are angry at Loraditch's comments and that the page program did its best to ensure the safety of pages, with strict rules and curfews.