New Jersey city council chairman and mayoral candidate Marie Strumolo Burke was caught on tape lamenting her city’s descent into a “fucking nigger town” — and nearly all media reports failed to identify her as a Democrat.
Burke is chairman of Belleville, New Jersey’s city council and is running for mayor in the town’s June election. And yes, she is a member of the Democratic Party.
In an undated recording of a voicemail left by a former council chairman, Burke’s voice can be heard in the background “discussing” proposed changes to the town’s tax rates.
“This is terrible. This is terrible,” she can be heard moaning in the background. “This is gonna be a fucking nigger town!”
The current mayor of Belleville, fellow Democrat Raymond Kimble, claims he obtained the tape last October and sent it off to a Michigan forensics lab to determine its authenticity.
That lab recently confirmed with “85 percent certainty” that the voice on the tape is Burke’s — though she continues to deny that she made the comment.
“I am outraged and I am ‘100% certain’ that Kimble’s fingerprints are all over this report,” she told NJ.com.
Kimble, who is facing off against Burke for the mayor’s seat in June, says he will call on the Democratic council head to resign from her chairmanship.
Burke’s repugnant remark was widely reported in local media, and has recently seen play in some national outlets. But nearly all of the stories failed to identify Burke’s affiliation with the Democratic Party.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger didn’t mention it once. Neither did this April 29 story on NorthJersey.com, or this one from April 11. New Jersey News 12 omitted it in their write-up. In fact, The Daily Caller News Foundation couldn’t find a single local story identifying Burke as a Democrat.
Regional and national news outlets didn’t fare much better. The New York Daily News almost identified her as a Democrat — but only in the story’s final sentence, and only as cover for the Democratic National Committee. “Earlier this week, Belleville council members voted to request a censure from the Democratic National Committee of Strumolo Burke due to the purported comments,” they wrote.
Popular African-American blog The Root expressed the requisite outrage, but still failed to mention Burke’s political ID. Even an online story on Fox News swept Burke’s Democratic credentials under the rug.
In fact, the only outlets to touch on Burke’s party affiliation were expressly conservative blogs and media organizations like The Blaze and The Washington Times. And most of those stories were only published on Wednesday.
Contrast this to treatment of another racist local politician. Drew Turiano, a real estate developer from Montana and a prior statewide political candidate eyeing a congressional run, has drawn serious fire since the fall of 2013 after advocating an “Operation Wetback” to deport illegal immigrants.
Turiano was a Republican — and every news outlet let their readers know it. Butte, Montana’s KXLF 4 described Turiano as a “pro-life Christian Tea Party conservative Republican” in their story’s second sentence. A story earlier this month in the Missoulian also identifies him as a “tea party Republican” — though the local Tea Party group denies any affiliation.
“Republicans working on Latino outreach might want to avoid this candidate,” read the opening sentence on The Huffington Post’s story last fall. And even after the Republican Party denied any association with Turiano, the liberal Talking Points Memo called him a “GOPer” in their headline.
Unlike Burke, Turiano has never actually held public office.
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