U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has taken a beating since the revelation of his acceptance of expensive tickets to Nevada boxing matches, but there now may be a backlash in his favor.

On May 30, the Associated Press reported that Reid had accepted three free tickets to matches in Las Vegas from the Nevada Boxing Commission at a time when the commission had an interest in legislation before Congress. After initially defending the freebies and saying they helped him do his job, Reid said he would no longer accept them.

Nevada Republican chair Paul Adams issued a statement: “The revelations of Harry Reid’s own ethical missteps establish the hypocrisy of Reid’s ethical pronouncements.”

In an editorial, the Boston Herald said the “frequently holier-than-thou Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has been outed …”

Investors Business Daily said, “The fact he voted against the athletic commission this time doesn’t mean there won’t be other opportunities for the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate to return their favors in extremely valuable ways.”

The Walla Walla Union Bulletin called it symptomatic of the way members of Congress get out of touch with the way people of ordinary means live: “The problem is that Reid and others in Congress too often don’t think about it. They forget that fight tickets valued at several thousands of dollars would be mighty special to most of us.”

The Albany Times Union objected to Reid’s defense that the matches helped him assess boxing legislation: “How ludicrous. Sen. Reid is a former boxer and boxing judge. It’s silly to suggest that he needed to see three more ringside matches to add to his expertise.”

A Georgia Web page said, “First it was William Jefferson, now it’s Harry Reid.”

A blogger called Wizbang wrote, “Dramatic KO of corrupt lefty.”

But the tide may be turning on comments about Reid.

The Virginia Pilot editorialized, “Every scandal season reaches the same point sooner or later: The definition of scandal gets so watered down that it is essentially meaningless, and the mudslinging hits everyone. And so we’ve reached that moment with the latest news about the Senate’s Democratic leader, Harry Reid … What’s lost in the attempt to turn Reid into the perfidy poster-boy is a little perspective. Take a look at just the last year’s worth of serious scandals, and you’ll see that Washington is awash in ethics problems…”

The newspaper then listed some of the most egregious abuses of the year, such as $600 million in fines incurred by Boeing for contract rigging and the investigation of $150 million ending up in charitable bank accounts associated with Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohall.

Press critics have faulted the handling of the Reid story by both AP and other entities that advanced the story.

And Sen. John McCain Tuesday passed up a chance to criticize Reid on the issue. McCain attended the matches but paid his own way.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...