You know when lawmakers accept gifts from lobbyists? And they don't disclose the gifts, even when they're considering legislation that could benefit those lobbyists' clients?

Guess what? That's not a problem! The problem, apparently, is the media!

Or so say some lawmakers in Utah.

A committee debate yesterday over two bills that would impose stricter limits on gift-giving to lawmakers devolved into a slam on the media. Sen. Howard Stephenson, the only Utah legislator who's also a lobbyist, said the real problem with legislative ethics is that they get reported in the media:

"The problem is ethics in the media, not ethics in the Legislature. . . . We have a media that is about making money.... The media has to pursue its prey like a swarm of killer bees, using snide innuendo and invective to attack their prey."

If only the pesky, "killer bee" media would just shut up and let Stephenson do his job -- which apparently includes the need to accept gifts without disclosure -- then there wouldn't be any ethics problems at all! Thanks for clearing that up, Senator!!

Oh, and the two ethics bills? The committee killed one and effectively neutered the other.