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December 12, 2008

Can Obama Escape Blago TIME Taint?




If so, it will be in spite of cheap guilt-by-association headlines and file photos like this.

Although my friend Jason Linkins — with back-up from Media Matters –was all over this TIME story and even ran the picture, he didn’t mention the visual innuendo. Besides Obama and Blago side-by-side (actually, the physical arrangement sort of makes it look like Obama has Blago’s back), more toxic is the return of the McCain meme, pushing the image of Obama as another Chicago pol.

… I have another example for you around mid-day (PST).

  • JayDenver

    “Long before federal prosecutors charged Blagojevich with bribery this week, Obama had worked to distance himself from his home-state governor. The two men have not talked for more than a year, colleagues said, save for a requisite handshake at a funeral or public event. Blagojevich rarely campaigned for Obama and never stumped with him. The governor arrived late at the Democratic convention and skipped Obama’s victory-night celebration at Chicago’s Grant Park.” [From a Washington Post story this a.m. as run by]
    The LA Times also has a story by Peter Nicholas about Obama’s need for 3 days to get it right. Kind of like another reformer/community organizer I could mention.
    The President-elect will dodge this bullet unless someone high-up in his transition team had contacts with Blagojevich.

  • Seitan Worshiper
  • David

    Good point BAG; there is no evidence that President-elect Obama is connected to this matter in any meaningful way. Shame on TIME for these nasty insinuations.

  • Joe

    This is absolutely incriminating. I mean, a picture of a U.S. Senator STANDING NEXT TO the Governor of his state! With a little digging, I’m sure Time can come up with actual, bona fide conversations the two had together. Or worse, video of them being cordial.

  • MS

    What I like in that photo is the space between Blago and Obama.
    Unfortunately, Fox News (picked up by Huffington Post – is reporting that Rahm may have given Blago staff a list of “acceptable” Senate candidates. Though NO quid pro quo is suggested in any way.

  • Gasho

    Remember that we’ve already ELECTED Obama. Even if they try to kick up some dirt to sell their dying newspapers and magazines, Obama is going to the White House where he’ll be judged and remembered for what he is able to accomplish during his tenure.
    Remember that Bush had a very image conscious handler (Rove) who set him up for as many positive photo ops as possible .. and what do we think of Bush? Idiot. Liar. A-hole. Warmonger…
    Visuals are important, but this kind of dirt isn’t going to stick so long as Obama delivers from the Oval Office.

  • Laura

    I agree that the media is being totally unfair to Obama on this, although I think he could have handled his initial response a little better. But luckily it doesn’t seem to be hurting Obama’s public image much so far. In the Gallup daily tracking, his favorability went up a point to 72% today, matching his highest ever.

  •[email protected]/ DennisQ

    The picture has been cropped. To the governor’s immediate right, we don’t see Louis Farrakhan, and to Senator Durbin’s immediate left, we don’t see an obviously drunken Britney Spears. A somewhat inebriated Ahmed Ahmadinejad is standing right behind Obama – you can just see the top of his head. Bill Ayers took the picture.

  • Russ Nichols

    This is the kind of outrageously sloppy reporting that has come of age in the last 15 or 20 years. I am a retired television and print reporter and I may sound like an old crank, but it seems to me that standards have been relaxed to such a point that the news business has lost all sense of ethics and standards. Clearly Obama had nothing to do with the insane For Sale sign that Blago put on his office door. Yet in the interests if titillating the public imagination and for the entertainment value, this kind of insinuation is made and I expect it will be commonplace in news outlets for weeks to come. I blame the corporate culture that has grown up in the news business. When I was in the business, sales people did not so much as dare to step into a newsroom. Democracy is ill served by the corporatization (is that a word?) of journalism. The reporters and writers have internalized the mindsets of the bean counters.

  •[email protected]/ DennisQ

    Ultimately the issue is indifference to the news. Serious reporting doesn’t matter to people who just want to be entertained. They may feel powerless to affect what’s happening; or it may be that government actions don’t affect their lives. For example, Bush’s wars are too far away. If the draft were still around, people would not taking the word of General Petraeus that everything’s going well.
    Popular indifference to the news will come to a halt as our economic slide progresses. I heard a guy say the other day that he lost his job but he’s going on vacation before he decides what to do. Wait till he finds out how bad things have gotten. He’ll start questioning how we got into this mess and what it will take to get us out.
    Here’s a variation on the joke that a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. An activist is somebody who didn’t think politics meant anything important, until it did. People are not going to snooze through the bad times ahead. Serious reporting won’t be crowded out by nonsense.

  • Samantha

    I’m struck by the space between them as well. So I’m not sure what the photo is for. I don’t understand, there is corruption everywhere, and Republicans were getting arrested and going down faster than water through a collander, yet no one suggested George Bush was personally responsible for any of them. A politician is a politician, and CEO’s are CEO’s, and we haven’t gotten to the bottom of the economic, social, and health barrel by being served by mother teresa for the last 20 years. People pursue personal gain, period. It’s rare to find a leader with vision, fearlessness and enough stamina to pull us out of the muck and save us from ourselves. Hopefully Obama will be that type of leader, or god help us.

  • jean

    Think of the ‘r’s as deranged copy editors. Very big into rewriting reality.
    (I did a wiki search for copy editor and it seems to fit. I’m not a journalist, obviously)

  • David Cross

    Dunno… it is a 5 inch taint.

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