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Covering (Up) Obama

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The mainstream media’s covering for Barack Obama on his relationship with Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is predictable, laughable and tragic. The only reporter really doing any kind of investigative journalism on the connection between Obama and Blagojevich is ABC’s Jake Tapper.

On the Wednesday, December 10 edition of MSNBCs Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough attempted to make the connection but was roundly silenced by his own panel—liberals all— including his co-host Mika Brzezinski and panelists Harold Ford, Jr. and Mike Barnicle.

Ford and Barnicle characterized the relationship between Obama and Blagojevich as “a typical political relationship”—the pols smile with arms around each other in front of the cameras, but when the cameras are off they really have no relationship at all. Amazingly, this defense has worked for Barack Obama with all of his questionable relationships, including Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko and William Ayers. Now add the corrupt governor of Illinois to the list.

The facts bear out that Obama’s relationship with the corrupt governor of Illinois goes beyond merely smiling for the cameras. Jake Tapper notes that Obama endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, serving as a “top adviser.” Obama is also referred to as one of “the top strategists of Blagojevich’s 2002 gubernatorial victory.” Tapper quotes President-elect Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel:

[President-elect Obama and myself] participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor. We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two [an aide to Blagojevich and Blagojevich’s campaign co-chair].

In August of 2006, Barack Obama told a crowd at an Illinois State Fair: “We’ve got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois.”

In spite of the clear evidence for the political connection between Obama and Blagojevich, the media would have us believe that Barack Obama is above it all. How is this possible? Barack Obama cut his political teeth while immersed in the corrupt political underworld that is Chicago politics—and yet the media really expects us to believe he was “in it but not of it”?

Beyond that, the media expects us to believe that Obama never expressed interest in who would fill his now-vacant U.S. Senate seat in Illinois. Asked during a press conference (held in Obama’s Chicago transition office!) if he had any contact with the Illinois governor’s office about his replacement in the Senate, Obama replied: “I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”

But that doesn’t quite square with what his senior adviser David Alexrod told a local Chicago news affiliate on November 22: “I know he’s [Barack Obama] 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.”

Alexrod in a press release on Tuesday, December 9 retracted his previous statement, saying he was “mistaken”: “I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then or at any time discuss the subject.”

You would think such a blatant contradiction would warrant some tough questions from the media, who should not be satisfied with a simple, “I was mistaken.” Not so.

NBC’s chief political correspondent Chuck Todd defends Axelrod by saying it’s the job of these political spokespersons to make it look as if their boss is “on top of the situation.” From MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “Could an adviser around Obama want to always make it look like Obama was on top of the situation and may have over spoke in that way?”

Can you imagine White House Press Secretary Dana Perino making such a retraction relative to a corrupt political connection to President Bush and the mainstream media simply accepting it and writing it off as “her job”?

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is on record as stating that it’s his job to make sure Obama succeeds. Obviously he speaks for all of the mainstream media who clearly have no intent of examining Barack Obama’s corrupt political connections. They refused to do it during the campaign. Why should we expect any less from them now?

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