Depending on which news outlet you rely on for current events, you may not have heard that convicted Chicago real estate developer Tony Rezko was sentenced to 10½ years in prison Tuesday.
On top of this, unless you read the following report from Reuters, you mightn't have known just how connected he was to a junior senator from Illinois who just so happens to be the President of the United States:
On Saturday, NewsBusters reported that CNN in the six days after Politico's hit piece on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was published did more stories on that subject than it did on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's connections to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright combined.
On Fox News Monday, Bill O'Reilly agreed with our analysis saying, "This is disturbing," as did guest Bernie Goldberg who explained, "The reason is fairly obvious and fairly simple. They like Barack Obama and his politics and they don't like Herman Cain and his politics" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters reported Monday, the broadcast network news outlets of ABC, CBS and NBC ran a total of 84 stories on the sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in the week following Politico publishing its hit piece.
That is more coverage than they gave to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's connections to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, or America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright throughout the entire campaign.
As of Monday, the so-called news network MSNBC has already run more stories about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's alleged sexual harassment than it did Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright combined.
If you needed any more evidence of the political leaning of CNN, consider that much like Politico, it has in the last six days done at least 94 reports on the sexual harassment allegations involving Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
Substantially more shocking, according to LexisNexis, the supposedly most trusted name in news only did 77 total stories on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show’s regular "Miller Time" segment, comedian Dennis Miller used humor to make a serious point about Barack Obama’s connections to corrupt and questionable characters in Illinois, and whether the President-elect was aware of the darker sides of his colleagues. Miller: "It’s just nice to know that my President-elect went through that entire system – all of these guys – Ayers, Blagojevich, Rezko, the Reverend Wright – and he didn’t notice any of them. At his worst, he is oblivious. At his absolute worst, he is disingenuous. He had to know something about some of these guys. ... We’re told that he’s the smartest guy on the planet on one hand. In the other hand, he never noticed any of this stuff. Come on, get the antenna up there, Barack. You got to wake up."
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.
Who you choose to surround yourself with makes you what you are and we already know Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko and William Ayers.
The Associated Press has long been a bastion of liberal bias. But has it now sunk to the level of a left-wing blog in the throes of Palin Derangement Syndrome? Yes, suggests the Morning Joe folks. In a rare bit of unanimity, the panel condemned and ridiculed AP for its "analysis" item, "Palin's words carry racial tinge." According to Douglass K. Daniel, the item's author, Palin's criticism of Barack Obama for his association with Ayers somehow carries "a racially tinged subtext." See Warner Todd Huston's earlier discussion here.
Mika Brzezinski questioned the strategic wisdom of the McCain campaign's playing of the Ayers card, but even she joined in the excoriation of the AP.
UPDATE at end of post: the can has already been opened!
Without question, ABC's Jake Tapper is one of the few members of the mainstream media who's actually willing to publish less than favorable reports about Barack Obama.
In a "Political Punch" blog posting Saturday about new revelations involving indicted fundraiser Tony Rezko, Tapper deliciously summed up a Washington Post piece as claiming that "Sen. John McCain's campaign...is about to open up a can of whoop-ass on Obama with a focus on his personal associations."
I kid you not (emphasis added, photo courtesy ABC):
When the latest installment of Saturday Night Live parodied Friday’s presidential debate, the NBC comedy program gave attention to Barack Obama’s connections to convicted criminal Tony Rezko, corrupt Chicago politics, and Obama’s recent attempts at "playing the race card," which notably are all matters that the mainstream news media have given little attention to. While the show also took a number of shots at John McCain, several times having him propose a bizarre gimmick like challenging Obama to a pie-eating contest for example, the Illinois Senator also received several noteworthy jabs. One line involved McCain’s character, played by Darrell Hammond, referring to Obama, played by Fred Armisen, as making an earmark request titled "Tony Rezko Hush Money." Obama’s character also bragged that his tax cut plan would benefit Chicago politicians and city employees "because my plan would not tax income from bribes, kickbacks, shakedowns, embezzlement of government funds, or extortion."
The Obama character later promised that he would "play the race card" against dictators like North Korean President Kim Jong Il if necessary to guilt-trip them into dismantling their nuclear programs, as he would accuse Kim of refusing to cooperate with him because "I’m not like the other guys on the $5 and $10 bills."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos clearly had John McCain's houses on his mind Sunday, for during the latest installment of "This Week," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's real estate holdings were discussed with every guest.
What Stephanopoulos may not have expected was Time's Mark Halperin claiming that "this is going to end up being one of the worst moments in the entire campaign for one of the candidates, but it's Barack Obama."
Adding delicious insult to injury, much to Democrat strategist Donna Brazile's dismay, Halperin saw the Obama campaign's attack on McCain not knowing how many houses he owns as opening the door for the Arizona senator to bring up the Illinois senator's connections to Tony Rezko, Reverend Wright, and William Ayers (video embedded right, partial transcript follows):
The most important news event in the universe, according to Friday’s Good Morning America, was John McCain’s gaffe about not knowing how many houses he and his wife own, as ABC led off its morning newscast with the story. ABC’s Jake Tapper devoted nearly two minutes to recounting John McCain’s property holdings after snarkily pointing out that he and his wife own just one house — “well, actually the banks owns it, we pay a mortgage.”
Does the media treat Democrats and Republicans differently when stories of their various peccadillos reach the Press? Well, in actuality, the question is essentially a moot point. There are stories today on the NewsBusters front page testifying to said bias. However, in Yahoo! News' choice of front-page stories today, we can see yet another example of this bias.
Clout and corruption scandals that have plagued Chicago and Illinois politics in recent years have not laid a glove on Barack Obama, he told reporters here Wednesday.
"You will recall that for my entire political career here, I was not the the endorsed candidate of any political organization here," the Democratic presidential hopeful said at the Westin Hotel downtown.
That isn't accurate and wasn't from the time of his very first political race. When Obama sought state office in 1996, he completed a questionnaire from the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO). Asked what endorsements he'd received so far, Obama listed the 4th, 5th, and 6th Democratic Organizations, Aldermen Preckwinkle and Steele, and the New Party.
The Sun-Times article also reports:
Obama friend Tony Rezko was convicted of corrupting state government, but Obama was never implicated and has returned contributions Rezko made to his Senate campaign.
As of 11:05 p.m. EDT I found quite different play among some major newspaper Web sites regarding the verdict handed down by a Chicago jury against former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko today. Both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times gave prominent play to the story on their Web sites, and the Los Angeles Times similarly teased the story on its front page, four headlines down the left-hand column. But the New York Times downplayed the story while the Washington Post failed to tease it at all on the Web site's front page.
"Ex-Obama Fund-Raiser Is Convicted of Fraud" read a teaser headline under the "More News" menu on the NY Times Web page, about a quarter of the way down the page. A search through the Washington Post's online edition -- looking for keywords "Obama" "Rezko" and "Blagojevich" -- found no links to articles regarding Rezko's conviction, however.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all led Wednesday night with celebratory interviews with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama -- with ABC and NBC plastering “MAKING HISTORY” on screen -- as the three anchors luxuriated in Obama's success. ABC's Charles Gibson wondered: “I'm curious about your feelings last night. It was an historic moment. Has it sunk in yet?” Gibson followed up by prompting Obama to share his excitement: “When everybody clears out, the staff is gone, you're in the hotel room at night, and you're alone, do you say to yourself, 'Son of a gun, I've done this?'” On CBS, Katie Couric was so giddy she couldn't complete her question: “Did you ever think you'd see this day? I mean, are you still just completely-”
Echoing Gibson, NBC's Brian Williams began: “What was it like for you last night, the part we couldn't see, the flight to St. Paul with your wife, knowing what was awaiting?” Williams next cued him up: “And you had to be thinking of your mother and your father.” Then Williams excitedly informed Obama of the popularity on the Internet of the “fist pound” with his wife on stage the night before:
And your wife came up on stage with you last night, and in an otherwise private moment, attempted to give her husband a fist pound the way a lot of Americans do, the way a lot of couples do. Only problem was, it was an inside move shared in front of seventeen and a half thousand people in the arena and millions watching at home. It's the most talked about fist pound on the Internet today, you'll be happy to know.
Chris Matthews took to the air on MSNBC's "Hardball," just moments after former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko was convicted on fraud and money laundering charges, but Matthews wasn't about to let that bit of breaking news ruin the moment, as he never mentioned the conviction once on the hour long program.
However, he did find time, during the 5 PM EDT edition of Wednesday's Hardball, to gush about Obama's "magic moment" with his wife Michelle:
..... 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.
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.
Hey MSM! Since all has been forgiven by most of you for Obama’s warm friendship with the radical racist and anti-American conspiracy nut Jeremiah Wright, and many of you are crowning him, once again, as the next JFK or Lincoln for “bringing the discussion of race to a higher plane…would it be utterly presumptuous of me to suggest that this should lead to opening a few more cans of worms? I mean, since most of you, with few exceptions, have decided to ignore the lies and contradictions revealed through Obama’s speech and instead trip over yourselves to focus on how “courageous” and “eloquent” his speech was…I’ll concede…let us move on, because there is plenty you have ignored that we can move on to. Jeremiah Wright is not the only radical company that Obama keeps.
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.
The last time I wrote about Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, I described her as "ever-smiling." Scratch that. The Dem congresswoman from Ohio and Hillary co-chair just jabbed at MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell during a discussion of who is responsible for circulating the story about the Rezko trial: the media or the Clinton campaign.
At one point, things got heated enough for Tubbs Jones to tell O'Donnell "you know what? I'm enjoying talking to you but you can't talk on top of me in order for me to answer your question."
Jury selection began Monday in Chicago in the trial of Syrian-born businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a major supporter of Barack Obama. Two days before the 2006 elections in which Democrats won by running against a "culture of corruption," Chicago newspapers revealed that Obama purchased a home in the summer of 2005 for $1.6 million, but to complete the deal, he would need to buy an adjoining parcel for $625,000. Instead, Mrs. Rezko bought the parcel, and they closed on the properties on the same day. Rezko was already under federal investigation for kickback schemes.
To a political opponent, this might resemble a lobbyist’s sweetheart deal like the one that started Rep. Duke Cunningham’s political decline, where a lobbyist paid $700,000 more for Cunningham’s home than his own sale price months later. But the national media are anything but opponents of Obama’s. An MRC analysis shows that despite Obama’s high national profile as a Democratic symbol of hope, network TV news and the national news magazines have done a dreadful job of telling the Rezko story, and have struggled not to repeat it.
"Nightline" host Terry Moran appeared on Monday's "Good Morning America" with a segment in which he repeatedly quizzed Senator Barack Obama on the subject of his relationship to indicted political operative Tony Rezko, now facing corruption charges. Moran persistently asked the Democratic presidential candidate if he would release all information relating to the role Rezko played in a house purchase by Obama.
After several evasive answers, Moran scolded, "...You call yourself a reformer?You talk about your judgment?" He then bluntly followed-up by wondering, "And yet, how could you enter into this transaction with a long-term contributor who, at that time, was known to be under investigation for corruption? What does that say about your judgment?" This is quite a change for the anchor, who, in 2006, skipped Rezko and gushed over Obama as "an American political phenomenon" and someone who might be "the savior of the Democratic Party."
In a lengthy seven-a-half minute Friday CBS Evening News profile story, “For the Record: Hillary Clinton,” reporter Nancy Cordes devoted a measly 15 seconds, a piddling three percent of the story, to scandals connected to Clinton's actions. But the night before, in a “For the Record: Barack Obama” profile, reporter Dean Reynolds allocated 42 percent of his piece to Obama scandals: Anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan's ties to him and his church as well as his connections to indicted developer Tony Rezko. Here's the totality of all viewers heard Friday night from Cordes about scandals blamed on Hillary Clinton during her life:
Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees.
Cordes then stressed her innocence as she led into a mention of Monica Lewinsky; “But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute. And the only Clinton investigation that did stick had decidedly little to do with the First Lady." Cordes proceeded to segue into her Senate years: “She has called it the greatest adversity she ever faced. But instead of retreating from public life, she decided to run for office herself.”
One major flash-point in the January 21 Democratic debate was when Hillary Clinton slammed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for ties to Tony Rezko, an indicted real estate developer. Shortly thereafter a photo from the Clinton administration depicting Sen. Clinton with Rezko and her husband came to the fore, and Clinton subsequently denied knowing Rezko.
Fast forward to today and the Associated Press reporting that Hillary Clinton booster L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took campaign contributions from Rezko. The question remains how much the media, outside the Associated Press, will care: