Bad News for the President: Pictures with Corrupt Lobbyist

It really is amusing, on occasion, to watch the mainstream press go after non-stories that could make the President look bad. The latest example comes from Time Magazine, all worked up about the fact that there are allegedly pictures showing President Bush with Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the center of a congressional lobbying scandal. And the AP has decided that Time's non-story is news.
Bush himself has said that he doesn't recall meeting Abramoff.

Both Washingtonian and Time magazines have reported the existence of about a half-dozen photos showing the two together, however.

Jack Abramamoff is, as everyone paying the slightest attention is aware, the current personification of corruption in Washington. The desire on the part of the media to affix the Abramoff stigma to President Bush is palpable. And look at the way they've laid the story out. "Bush denies" to start with, but damaging pictures exist, "however!" (The AP is really good with those "howevers.") Consider an alternate layout to the story, written in an alternative universe where the Associated Press is a non-biased news agency.
Time Magazine is reporting has reported the existence of about a half-dozen photos showing the two together. Bush himself has said that he doesn't recall meeting Abramoff.
Same facts, different feel.

But the whole story is just silly. The fact that "there may be pictures showing the President in close proximity to a big Capitol Hill lobbyist" is right up there with the fact that "congresspeople raise money to campaign" and "sun rises in East" as shocking facts of life. Given how much money Abramoff spread around over the past decade, it would be far more surprising if there were NOT pictures of him with the President. Is there any big political donor who doesn't manage it at some time or another?

It is certainly conceivable that there's a relationship between Bush and Abramoff that would constitute a story. Nothing that's been presented thus far qualifies...