The Junior Senator From Nevada

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Steve Benen summarizes the latest news about Sen. John Ensign starting to lose support within the GOP caucus and then sighs:

I’ve largely given up trying to figure out why major news outlets aren’t taking this seriously. We’re talking about a controversy featuring a sitting senator’s adulterous affair, plus alleged ethics violations, hush money, and official corruption. An ongoing FBI investigation appears to be heating up, and by some accounts, expanding, and yet, no media frenzy.

It is sort of mysterious, isn’t it? I sort of get the fact that Ensign is skating on his affair. That happens all the time. But then there’s the fact that Ensign pretty clearly paid out hush money to his lover’s husband, funneled through his parents in $12,000 chunks to avoid having to report it to the IRS. And the fact that he just as clearly tried to shake down some local businesses to provide a job for the guy. Plus the fact that apparently he’s a total douchebag and everyone hates him. Seems like a great story!

But it goes to show the power of the news cycle. Basically, unless you’re as agenda-driven as Fox News, it’s hard to keep a feeding frenzy going unless you have something new to report. And there’s just not enough new stuff to report on Ensign. He had an affair, he evaded IRS reporting rules, he tried to use his influence to get his lover’s husband a job, and he’s a douche. It’s old news. What have you got for me that’s fresh?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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