Networks Skipping the Blago Retrial...As If It Were Irrelevant to Obama

Let’s not imagine Anthony Weiner was the only Democratic embarrassment of the last week. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was back on trial in Chicago last week “offering an enthralling and self-immolating primer on American government,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor James Warren. 

“In talking about his mulling appointing himself to Obama's senate seat, Blagojevich even said that it would have enabled him to go to Afghanistan and ‘hunt down’ Osama bin Laden,” wrote Warren. But the networks carried none of this entertaining blather. In fact, ABC hasn’t mentioned Blago since October 26, 2010. The others touched on him once each briefly in May:

CBS: On the May 25 Early Show, news anchor Jeff Glor offered this brief:

In Chicago today, some big names could be on the stand in the corruption retrial of Rod Blagojevich. Lawyers for the former Illinois Governor expected to call Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior to testify. Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell the seat of then U.S. Senator Barack Obama. His first trail ended in a hung jury.

NBC: The only mention in recent months came in the Kathie Lee Gifford/Hoda Kotbe fourth hour on May 30. But it wasn’t about his trial. It was an interview with a psychologist to demonstrate when people are lying....and the Blagojevich clip of evidnce came from his behavior on NBC’s own show Celebrity Apprentice!

Here’s a little more of Warren’s report to underline what the networks are skipping:

When it came to the Obama vacancy, Blago plotted various goodies he could get in return from the new administration. Perhaps a cabinet post, preferably head of Health and Human Services. Or an overseas ambassadorship. Maybe being our man at the United Nations. He spoke of Emanuel helping him set up a nonprofit on health care with a cushy $750,000 salary.

My favorite: the notion of selecting himself to be the senator and then setting up his wife to exploit her connections to him as a big-ticket Washington lobbyist....[Then came the line about getting Osama as Sen. Blago.]

The government has waited several years for the chance to fire away and it came out like a ravenous beast who spies a fat sirloin.

"Mr. Blagojevich, you are a convicted, liar, correct?" was the well-rehearsed opening question from Reid Schar, a prosecutor.

It went downhill from there for the defendant and will pick up Monday.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis