Even Roll Call reporter John McArdle, who broke the story late Monday, admits he only received word of the arrest and subsequent guilty plea via a tip last week.
“You would think in the 24-hour news cycle, something like this would slip through,” said McArdle, a four-year veteran of the Capitol Hill daily. “He wanted to keep it quiet, and he almost got away with it.”
Declining to offer specifics about the source, McArdle said the tip came in midweek and was confirmed by Roll Call through police reports obtained from law enforcement officials in Minnesota.
“We have been working the story since we got the tip, getting the specific arrest report,” he said. “We had to go through their different filing systems and we were able to expedite that process.”
Editors from The Idaho Statesman of Boise did not return calls seeking comment. But Editor Dean Miller of the Post Register in Idaho Falls defended the lack of reporting on the arrest by his paper and others, saying a misdemeanor arrest in another state does not always get easily discovered.
Some Washington, D.C.-based editors, such as Dean Baquet, who heads The New York Times’ D.C. bureau, agreed.
“I am not so shocked that it would not get out,” said Baquet, who is also a former editor at the Los Angeles Times. “The way things work, sometimes if you have a misdemeanor arrest, they don’t make their way out here. It was not in his state. My guess is if it had happened at La Guardia Airport or at an airport in Washington it might be different.”
Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, also found it unsurprising. “We don’t have a Minneapolis correspondent,” he said. “He is not a local congressman — it happened in Minnesota and Idaho.”