The Politico's awkward attemp to hype the Blago/Obama drama

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Ugh, this is painful to read. And we're just talking bout the first couple sentences:

The breathtaking scope of Tuesday's Illinois Senate scandal presents President-elect Barack Obama with a direct and immediate test of leadership.

Between the criminal charges lodged against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the questions raised by the conduct of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Obama must decide how bluntly - and how personally - to raise his voice against real-life allegations that epitomize what he has called "decades of broken politics in Washington."

It's hard to imagine a timelier moment, or a more compelling convergence of circumstances, for Obama to signal the seriousness of his promise to reform the way Washington goes about its business.

What's Obama gonna do?! Politico wonders ominously. It's just a hunch, but our guess is that when it comes to the Blagojevich story, Obama won't do anything. It's a criminal case and Obama, as the prosecutor make perfectly clear on Tuesday, is not an active player.

What exactly, does Politico expect Obama to do? He should make a speech and denounce corruption. Well sure, that would be nice. But we're pretty sure most Americans assume that Obama is not in favor of U.S. senate seats being sold off to the highest bidder. (Obama made that quite clear with his comments on Tuesday.) And would denouncing the obvious really reflect "a direct and immediate test of leadership" as Politico breathless claims? A rather eccentric politician in Illinois was tape-recorded cooking up a local money-making scheme. What's that have to do with Obama's transition to the White House and his leadership of the country?

Meanwhile, did you notice how Politico slipped in a vague, confusing reference to Charles Rangel in its Blagojevich lead? Rangel's inclusion makes no sense--Rangel hasn't been charged with any crime, let alone selling off U.S. senate seats--but by including Rangel, Politico can prop up the phony claim that the Blagojevich story in Illinois has something to do with reform in Washington.

FYI, Rangel's vague, confusing reference at the top of the story is never explained in the article. (i.e. Details are never given.) Meaning, Politico never justifies why it named-dropped the senior Democratic Congressman in an article about naked corruption.

Does Politico owe Charles Rangel an apology?

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