Two public officials. Two arrests for driving while intoxicated. Two very different news judgments. State Sen. Chuck Graham was on the air night after night, with his mug shot to tell the stories. His DWI arrest received a lot of air time. But Judge Byron Kinder, the Cole County judge arrested earlier this week for DWI, got only two nights of coverage with no mug shot. So what is the difference?
"In the case of Sen. Chuck Graham and the addition to the actual arrest, he was involved in an accident which two other vehicles were damaged. After the accident when he was at the hospital, for an injury he seemed to get into a confrontation with police over some evidence collection. That again seems to take the story in another direction.Finally, all of this is against the backdrop that he is running for re-election," KOMU Executive Producer Holly Edgell said.
"On the other hand, with Judge Kinder we have someone who is semi-retired, not very much in the public eye. Once the aspect of the DWI was over, we didn't hear anything else from police about that case. Basically they arrested him on probably cause on DWI, and that is where it rested," Edgell said. "So really, you had two different men, two different types of stories with two different types of circumstances."
As the KOMU story notes, though, the major difference is that Kinder quickly pleaded guilty and apologized, which almost immediately ended his arrest as a news story. And the fact that Graham is someone who is constantly in the news makes his arrest newsworthy.