Murder Suspect’s Father Mentioned as Republican in AP story… But, Why?

-By Warner Todd Huston

How many times have we seen it where the MSM refuses to mention the Party affiliation of an accused public figure, convicted felon or otherwise notorious personage if that person in the news happens to be a Democrat? It seems to happen nearly other day in the MSM, doesn’t it? Conversely, should that newsworthy person be a Republican, well the MSM seems to fall all over themselves to mention that he is a Republican — and usually in the first few sentences. Well, it looks like the MSM is now branching out to mentioning party status even of relatives of a notorious person in the news should there be a Republican in the family! It’s as if just having a Republican family member alone explains the bad conduct as far as the Media are concerned.

Here we have the case of one William Smith, Jr., who is currently waiting to find out if the U.S. government is going to acquiesce to a request by the government of Peru for his extradition to face murder charges. Smith is accused of murdering his Peruvian wife while living in that country. It’s a sad story of internet dating gone bad, and tawdry all the way around. Certainly, we hope justice is done.

But HOW does Smith’s Father being a local Republican have anything to do with this story?

Let’s ask AP. They seem to think his Father is a relevant issue in theirs titled “Pa. Man Held After Death of Wife in Peru.”

After describing the actually relevant aspects of the story, AP slips this paragraph into the mix:

Smith’s father, former Dauphin County Republican chairman William T. Smith Sr., referred calls to attorney Don Bailey. Telephone messages left by The Associated Press at Bailey’s home and office on Sunday were not immediately returned.

What the heck does his Father being some small time, local Republican (and a FORMER one at that) have to do with this story? Is this Republican status relevant to the son’s murdering his internet wife in a foreign country?


Yet, there it is, as big as day. Looks like the AP thinks that any Republican in the family makes the fact somehow germane to the conduct!

(We also have the same factoid mentioned in a Clear Channel report, as well. I’m not sure if that report is derived from the AP report or not.)

Now, here is a report from the local Dauphin County News in which his Father is also mentioned. That story goes into quite a bit of depth on the case. But at least it makes sense that the local paper would find his Father’s local service to the community somewhat relevant and of interest. Certainly, the local papers would feature his locally prominent father.

But, why would a national news service find this murder suspect’s Father integral to the story? No one in the rest of the country has ever heard of a small time local Pennsylvania GOP operative, so there is no reason for a national wire service to include such a factoid in a nationally released news blurb.

Unless, of course, they have another agenda.
Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as,, men’ and among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

Copyright Publius Forum 2001