AP's Sidoti smears Obama

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

AP reporter Liz Sidoti, fresh off a stint delivering donuts to John McCain, pens an "analysis" of the Blagojevich indictment that begins: "President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him."

Then, in the very next sentence, Sidoti admits "Obama isn't accused of anything." And that pretty much sets the tone for the "analysis" -- ominous warnings that Obama could be implicated in the scandal, followed by concessions that he, you know ... isn't.

Sidoti writes: "But the fact that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a fellow Democrat, has been charged with trying to sell Obama's now-vacant Senate post gives political opponents an opening to try to link him to the scandal."

Well, sure. Republicans can try to link him to the scandal. Have they succeeded? Are there actual substantive connections between Obama and the wrongdoing? Because if there aren't, that's the story: Republicans smearing Obama by falsely suggesting he is tied to the wrongdoing. Indeed, Sidoti later acknowledges "U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said prosecutors were making no allegations that Obama was aware of any scheming. And Blagojevich himself, in taped conversations cited by prosecutors, suggested that Obama wouldn't be helpful to him."

So there's a great big ball of nothing here, yet Sidoti continues to pretend that Obama is caught up in the scandal, writing "There were signs the continuing investigation could still involve Obama."

Well, no. The "signs" Sidoti pointed to were the fact that someone who works for Obama once worked for Blagojevich (ah-ha!) and that court papers appear to refer to "Obama friend Valerie Jarrett, an incoming senior White House adviser," who removed herself from consideration for the Senate seat Obama is vacating. Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell an appointment to that seat. Jarrett removed herself from consideration for it. How that constitutes a sign that the investigation "could still involve Obama" is clear only in Sidoti's imagination.

Still, Sidoti is technically correct: the investigation could still involve Obama. But it is grossly unfair to suggest that possibility absent any evidence. That's something Liz Sidoti apparently doesn't understand -- though one suspects she would understand the unfairness of suggesting, absent any evidence, that she could be taking payments from the GOP to write garbage like this.

Sidoti concludes: "More details on the case could be forthcoming." Hard to argue with that.

So what do we have? According to Liz Sidoti:

1) "Obama isn't accused of anything"
2) "prosecutors were making no allegations that Obama was aware of any scheming"
3) "Blagojevich himself, in taped conversations cited by prosecutors, suggested that Obama wouldn't be helpful to him"
4) There is no evidence, indication, or hint that Obama was aware of scheming, or did help Blagojevich.
5) Nevertheless, "more details on the case could be forthcoming"
6) Therefore, a "scandal" is "threatening to dog" Obama.

This is nothing short of sleazy. With no evidence whatsoever, Sidoti is suggesting ties between Obama and the scandal that simply do not exist. Whatever this is, it isn't "analysis" and it isn't "journalism."

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