Yesterday, Jamison Foser made mention of the need to be watchful for an emerging press trope as the Blagojevich scandal unfolded: stories that darkly warn of imminent implications for President-Elect Barack Obama in one breath, followed in the next by "concessions that he, you know...isn't implicated.
Obviously, you get variations on a theme. But for my money, the angle taken by Time Magazine's Massimo Calabresi in the opening paragraph of "Can Obama Escape the Taint of Blagojevich?" deserves a special award for fatuousness. I mean, first of all, points off for the mental image of Blago's "taint." Not cool!
On more than one occasion during his stunning press conference on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald bluntly said he has found no evidence of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama in the tangled, tawdry scheme that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich allegedly cooked up to sell Obama's now vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. But for politicians, it's never good news when a top-notch prosecutor has to go out of his way to distance them from a front-page scandal.
As Foser points out in his own analysis of this lede, the entire first sentence of Calabresi's article describes the actions of a man repeatedly prompted to answer the same question, over and over again, by reporters. Calabresi seems to want you to believe that Fitzgerald was repeating himself of his own volition, in some sort of "lady doth protest too much" scenario. But that Fitzgerald was made to repeat his statement isn't news, it's just press-conference process given a heightened meaning by a disingenuous reporter from Time.
But honestly? It takes a special sort of reptilian brain to accept the logic of this sentence: "But for politicians, it's never good news when a top-notch prosecutor has to go out of his way to distance them from a front-page scandal." Really? See, in the world where I live, when a top-notch prosecutor goes out of his way to keep me at a distance from a scandal, this is always, always, always a good thing. By Calabresi's logic, Obama would have been better off getting indicted! Oh well. Maybe, given some more time, Patrick Fitzgerald will uncover some wrongdoing on Obama's part. Then, things'll really start looking up!