Wednesday’s CBS Early Show worked hard to put as much distance as possible between Barack Obama and disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, as correspondent Chip Reid reported: "Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich have both been leaders in Illinois Democratic politics for years, but long-time observers say that's about as far as the connection goes." Reid later dismissed Republican efforts to question Obama’s connection to the indicted Governor: "...that's not stopping the Republican National Committee from trying to tie the two men together...Despite the occasional photo together, though, linking them could be a tough sell."
In a segment that followed Reid’s report, co-host Harry Smith asked Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet: "Does any of this rub off on Barack Obama?" Sweet replied: "A little bit does. Because these are his -- this brings up the whole -- we're talking about the Senate seat for sale, but the criminal complaint does bring up Tony Rezko, it does bring up questions about the associations-" Smith interjected: "Which the Republicans tried so hard during the campaign to say Barack Obama is a Chicago politician." Sweet dispelled that characterization: "Right. And here's the thing, Obama does not come out of this culture."
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell will appear on the Sean Hannity radio program later this afternoon. We're not certain about the time, but he will appear with FNC's Juan Williams to discuss how the media are not covering the Obama angle on the Rod Blagojevich scandal.
Note -- A related November 5 story at KHAQ in advance of the Obama-Blago meeting that is no longer available at KHAQ's site is here at my web host. It has been taken down from the related web site, and I believe its Google cache has also been removed.
(original post follows)
Yes indeed (content at original link was deleted; current link is to copy at my web host; HT to an e-mailer, who tells me that “this is (in) the newspaper from Quincy, IL from KHQA, a CBS affiliate”; bold is mine):
By Alexis Hunt Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m.
Duckworth comments on consideration for Senate
QUINCY, IL -- Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.
Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it. Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There's already been speculation about his selection...from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.
The three broadcast networks started their evening newscasts on Tuesday with stories on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest and corruption charges. All of the newscasts mentioned Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation, but only in passing. And, only ABC's World News questioned the details about the Illinois Governor's relationship with President-elect Barack Obama, while NBC and CBS brushed over the President-elect's connections with Blagojevich and seemed content to end their investigation of this relationship by reporting on Obama's statement that he was not aware of what was going on.
ABC and NBC both identified Blagojevich as a Democrat early in their reports. NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams's introduction to the report by Lee Cowan described the charge as "that the two-term Democratic governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder." Brian Ross, reporting for ABC's "World News," identified the Illinois governor as "the boyish looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder."
The CBS "Evening News," however, did not identify Blagojevich as a Democrat until the very end of Dean Reynolds's report when an on-screen graphic identified the governor as "(D) Illinois" and Reynolds claimed that "fellow Democrats worry that whoever he might pick could wind up tainted politically and could ultimately cost the party a valuable seat in Congress."
Former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to downplay the connection between Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, charged with trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat, and President-elect Barack Obama. He helpfully argued that the profane references to Obama on the FBI's tapes indicate that "Blagojevich himself is the President-elect's best character witness."
Stephanopoulos and co-host Diane Sawyer did discuss the apparent contradiction between Obama's claim on Tuesday that he had "no contact" with the governor and chief spokesman David Axelrod's comments on November 23 in which he asserted, "I know he's talked to the governor." A very credulous Stephanopoulos explained, "Well, first of all, David Axelrod put out a statement late yesterday, where he said he simply misspoke there...That is backed up by everyone else on the team, as well." So, while an ABC graphic read, "Political 'Crime Spree': Will Allegations Affect Obama," the former Clinton aide obviously didn't think so.
This is just too perfect. Earlier today, noting that none of the network morning shows explicitly identified Rod Blagojevich as a Democrat, I wondered out loud how the MSM would treat a Republican in like circumstances. It's taken less than three hours to get our answer.
Let's preface this by saying that Norm Coleman is not, repeat not, the target of an investigation. To mention him anywhere within a million miles of Blago is unfair. I'm citing the MSNBC coverage just for purposes of illustrating the double standard. At about 11:20 AM ET, here's how Contessa Brewer threw it to Norah O'Donnell.
CONTESSA BREWER: Let's head over to Norah now, live at the politics desk, with more on a potential problem for GOP Senator, and the incumbent here in Minnesota, Norm Coleman. Norah.
If Rod Blagojevich were a Republican, what's the over-under on the number of times the network morning shows would have mentioned that fact in their coverage today?
But Blago is a Democrat. So how often did Today, Good Morning America and the Early Show explicitly identify him as such during their opening half-hours today? Not once. The closest any came were references at Today and Early Show today to "Democratic politics" and one at GMA to "the Democratic Chicago machine." Speaking of GMA, George Stephanopoulos, appearing there, put in the most embarrassingly sycophantish performance of the morning.
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN host Wolf Blitzer tried to downplay the significance of the arrest of the Democratic governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich by making an unequivocal statement about Republicans: “You know, most of the scandals -- most of the political scandals...in recent years have involved Republicans...and they’re all pretty well-known.” He continued by labeling the Democrat’s apprehension a “huge embarrassment.”
Blitzer made the remark to Karen Finney, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee, during the regular “Strategy Session” segment. Finney appeared with Republican strategist John Feehery, and the three discussed the political implications of Blagojevich’s arrest. Besides this most recent development, the CNN host only mentioned the recent defeat of Louisiana Representative William Jefferson as an example of a political scandal involving a Democrat.
The mainstream media aggressively covered the controversies surrounding Republicans such as Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff and speculated about their connections to President Bush and other high profile members of the GOP. So, it will be interesting to see how tenaciously journalists investigate any linkage between President-elect Barack Obama and scandal ridden Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, now under arrest for allegedly trying to sell the selection of Obama's replacement to the Senate.
ABC Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper [see file photo above] outlined the connections in a post on Political Punch. It seems that in addition to then-state senator Obama endorsing the Illinois governor in 2002 (Blagojevich returned the favor in 2004), Tapper noted that Obama's insistence on Tuesday afternoon that he "had no contact" with the governor's office on his replacement doesn't match previous comments from the incoming administration. According to senior advisor David Axelrod on November 23, 2008, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them." [Emphasis added.]
[UPDATE: During the 6:30pm ET feed of ABC's World News, Tapper appeared on screen and anchor Charles Gibson asked him about the contacts between Blagojevich and Obama's transition office. But the audio failed and, after two attempts to talk to Tapper, the newscast moved on. Maybe it will be corrected in the 7pm ET feed.]
Sure, the sitting Democratic governor of Illinois has been arrested and charged with attempting to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. But enough about that. Jay Leno is starting his show 90 minutes earlier!!
Yes, a bit after 1 PM today, MSNBC actually pre-empted its Blago coverage to go to a news conference at which NBC honchos, with Leno present, announced that the Tonight show host would be moving from 11:30 to 10 PM.
Andrea Mitchell was in the midst of a serious dialogue with Pete Williams, when someone apparently whispered in the NBC justice correspondent's ear . . .
Much as when then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught with a prostitute last March, the arrest Tuesday of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on allegations he was trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat raises the issue of whether or not the Big Three networks will forthrightly tag him as a “Democrat.”
Among wire services, the Associated Press has included the “Democrat” label in its round-up, but not in the lead paragraph, while Reuters linked Blagojevich to "fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama."
So what would happen if the corruption charges were flung at a Republican Governor of Illinois?
Media ignored Guv's party today, but also links to Rezko corruption and Barack Obama and his chief strategist David Axelrod during presidential campaign.
As folks in Illinois were waking up or just getting to work, news hit like an avalanche that Governor Rod Blagojevich had been taken into custody by federal authorities this morning. The news was flying hot and heavy, and still is, over what the feds are alleging that Blago (as we call him in Chicago) did. There are reports of wiretaps, solicitations for bribes, mail and wire fraud... the list is long and shocking.
But one thing seems to be missing from many of these news reports. You guessed it, the fact that Blago is a Democrat seems to have slipped under the radar. But also his connections to Obama and his associates has continually gone unnoticed.
I'm looking for the first MSM wag who will have the gumption to suggest that Rod Blagojevich, the Dem Illinois governor accused of trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, should have put it on Ebay.
Suggested MSM defense of Blago: hey, even with the bailouts, car czars and other government intervention in the economy, we're still trying to encourage the free market system, aren't we?
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press's Mike Robinson actually identified "Blago's" party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Updated below: CNN.com now noting Blago's Democratic affiliation
An unsigned CNN.com article on Tuesday which broke the news that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been arrested by federal authorities omitted his Democratic party affiliation. Both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris face conspiracy and bribery charges related to the appointment of Barack Obama’s successor to his Senate seat.
The article did describe the accusations against the Illinois governor and his aide in detail. Among other things, Blagojevich is accused of trying to obtain “a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions; placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year; promises of campaign funds -- including cash up front; [and] a Cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.”
The Land of Lincoln had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.3% in July, up 2.2% from the previous year's 5.1%. That puts Illinois, along with California, in a tie for fourth place in the worst state unemployment rate derby, behind only Michigan (8.5%), Mississippi (7.9%), and Rhode Island (7.7%).
Illinois' 2.2% year-over-year unemployment rate increase is the third largest in any state, behind only tiny Rhode Island's 2.7% and smaller state Tennessee's 2.3%. Over 80% of Illinois' deterioration has occurred in the last three months, as its March unemployment rate was only 5.5%.
ABC correspondent Gigi Stone’s report on Friday’s World News lined up two liberal women against a pro-life pharmacist in a segment on the controversy over whether pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception. She later reported in a condescending tone about how the family of the pharmacist has nine children [see video at right; audio available here].
Stone introduced the first woman, Megan Kelly, as a "married mother." Several years ago, as Stone described, Kelly "tried to fill her monthly birth control pills [when] a pharmacist refused."
In her sound bite, Kelly explained her reaction to this refusal: "It's very, very shocking and very unsettling and one of those moments where, you know, as like a female, you're not sure if you want to cry, if you want to get really mad."
..... and waits until the 30th paragraph of its online story to reveal it.
The feds seem to be closing in on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- and at least one Chicago television station seems determined to minimize exposure not only of his party affiliation, but of others who have received tainted campaign contributions.
CHICAGO (CBS) ― In an explosive development reaching to the state's highest office, a former high-ranking state official claimed Tuesday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on hand when he presented $25,000 in campaign money to now-indicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.
Ali Ata, 56, a former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, said Blagojevich then asked Rezko if he had talked to Ata about a job on the state payroll.
Ata said later, after he made a second $25,000 campaign contribution, Blagojevich again brought up the subject of a job and said it should be one in which Ata "could make some money."
The Chicago Tribune continued today to dance around the party affiliation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in its ongoing coverage of the Tony Rezko trial. [See Lyndsi Thomas's March 18 blog post here]
While Blagojevich's party affiliation was not explicitly mentioned, writers Jeff Coen and Bob Secter did note that a former Democratic fundraiser has testified that the governor "linked state contracts, business and favors with the raising of campaign cash." That came 20 paragraphs deep into the 26-paragraph article:
Ali Ata, a former high-ranking Blagojevich administration official, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a separate criminal case involving Rezko. Ata admitted he bought his $127,000-a-year state job by bribing Rezko and making campaign contributions to Blagojevich.
Tuesday's plea by Ata could have significant implications for both Rezko and Blagojevich. Ata becomes the third person to testify under oath that the governor had direct knowledge of Rezko's activities. Both Stuart Levine and former national Democratic fundraiser Joe Cari testified about separate conversations with Blagojevich in which he linked state contracts, business and favors with the raising of campaign cash.
Four men that greased the wheels of the Daley machine in Chicago had their federal convictions upheld by an appeals judge, the Chicago Sun-Times noted in an April 16 article. Yet although Daley is a lifelong Democrat and the Democrats run Chicago lock, stock, and barrel, the Sun-Times failed to even casually mention either Daley's or Gov. Blagojevich's Democratic bona fides.
The federal appellate court in Chicago Tuesday upheld the conviction of four men charged with running the patronage hiring system in Mayor Daley's City Hall.
The ruling sent waves of angst through City Hall, Gov. Blagojevich's office and other government offices where some had hoped the court would find the age-old practice of giving plum government jobs to cronies was legal.
The former Daley aides -- Robert Sorich, Tim McCarthy, John Sullivan and Patrick Slattery -- were convicted of mail fraud:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D-Ill.) name has cropped up quite a few times in the ongoing trial of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) benefactor Tony Rezko. Yet in their latest coverage, both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times left out Blagojevich's party affiliation. The Sun-Times, however, did take note of the Republican party affiliation of another politico caught up in the maelstrom, William Cellini (see screencap at right, photos via AP/Sun-Times).
The caption for a photo montage accompanying the April 3 article "Levine: Blagojevich knew", reads, "Clockwise from left: Gov. Rod Blagojevich; Tony Rezko; Stuart Levine;Chicago businessman-turned-Hollywood producer Tom Rosenberg; longtime Illinois Republican Party power William Cellini."
Tribune staffers Bob Secter and Jeff Coen also covered the development in a story filed shortly after midnight Eastern time on April 3.
Yesterday NewsBusters contributor and MRC News Analysis Division intern Lyndsi Thomas noted the Chicago Tribune leaving out the Democratic Party affiliations of two politicians tied up in the Tony Rezko trial: Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, the governor's father-in-law.
As the ongoing Tony Rezko trial yields more news of corruption, once again the mainstream media aren't identifying the party affiliation of the Democratic perpetrators. This time, the culprit is the Chicago Tribune in an article regarding a witness testimony that Alderman Richard Mell, father-in-law of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, hoped to receive kickbacks from an insider deal at a state pension fund. The article goes on to describe this new information along with the details of the deal for which Mell hoped.
The Tribune also noted that this finding adds to the "Mell-Blagojevich relationship that has devolved to downright dysfunctional in recent years."
Yet despite running a thirty paragraph article over two pages, the Tribune failed to recognize either Mell or Blagojevich are Democrats.
A close adviser and chief fundraiser to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was indicted on fraud charges. Yet if you read about the story in the Chicago Tribune, you won't read which party the governor belongs to. That's right. Blagojevich is a Democrat, yet the Trib didn't bother to include this fact in their piece.
Meanwhile, Bryan over at Hot Air showed how the Kansas City Star reported the resignation of Kansas's attorney general following a sex scandal. The original article completely omitted Paul Morrison's Democrat affiliation. Only after a phone call to the writer of the article did the Star amend the article by adding the word "Democrat" to the fourth paragraph.