Using Blagogate to Spread Rumor and Innuendo – Part 1

13 12 2008

As indicated by the TPM video above,  certain national news outlets have run with the pay-to-play scandal that Gov. Rod Blagojevich is embroiled in to insinuate that President-elect Obama himself is involved, despite there being no evidence of that being the case.  Interestingly enough, the Chicago local media is not ready to declare that Obama and Blago should be treated as co-defendants.

But they have taken issue with how the Obama transition team – which is kinds busy with other issues such as cabinet level appointments, reviewing federal agencies, hiring White House staff, keeping up with security briefings, and lobbying Congress to make sure the Big Three automakers don’t go under – has handled the latest episode of Chicago’s never ending story of corruption.

Yesterday’s editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, noted that “Obama should have spoken out more strongly after first hearing the news of Blagojevich’s arrest.” By the same token, however, the President-elect’s  “staff needn’t apologize for talking to Blagojevich about the open seat. But given the charges against Blagojevich, the public deserves to know key details.”

For its part, when the Chicago Tribune editorialized on the issue, it has not only stuck to the merits of the issue, but also invited Gov. Blagojevich for a visit to clear the air, similar to how Obama himself did in March when he sat down with the Tribune and Sun-Times editorial boards as the Tony Rezko scandal became impossible to ignore.

I, of course, doubt that the governor is eager to take them up on their offer. But I do think its interesting that two of the most respected organs of the Chicago public media have refrain from groundless speculation and innuendo, while those farthest away from the story were ready to pounce. This is an unoriginal observation I know, but its still one that still bears repeating.

At the same time, however, its not hard to see that Obama team should have tried to blunt the negative coverage from the onset, even with all their responsibilities, especially if it was less than entirely forthcoming about communicating with the governor since doing so  would only inspire more suspicion. Gov. Rendell of Pennslyvania made this very point recently on MSNBC.

Otherwise we get the chattering classes reveling in the tedium just as they did here:

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