GOP trying to catch up to the media in hyping the Blago/Obama story

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Chris Cillizza makes some sense regarding the Blago/Obama story. In a post raising doubts that the GOP will be able to make the guilt-by-association-claims stick between the two Illinois pols (especially since prosecutors don't think Obama did anything wrong,) Cillizza suggests it might be a non-starter in the long term:

Combine the relative paucity of proof that Obama or anyone in his political inner circle has any strong ties to Blagojevich with the fact that a series of national polls have shown widespread approval for Obama and it becomes clear that Republicans' strategy is not without risk.

That's the good news. The bad news is that Cillizza, in his lengthy analysis, pretends the press has played no role in the unfolding story or in spreading the guilt-by-association meme. Cillizza pretends it's been Republicans, and Republicans exclusively, who have been trying to taint Obama with the Blago story. Of course, as we've been documenting for the last week, the press has been waaaaay out in front of Republicans in hyping Obama's potential Blago woes.

That the GOP is playing-the-guilt-by-association card is a given and the press will acknowledge that. But trust us, the GOP has merely been playing catch-up with reporters and pundits who set up shop long before the GOP arrived on the Blago/Obama scene.

In fact, here's a little exercise we did to illustrate the point about how the press has basically done the GOP's bidding re: Blago. Below are highlighted portions from Cillizza's post, and each time he suggested the RNC or Republicans were pressing the Blago story, we took out "Republicans" and inserted "the press" or "reporters" And guess what, it reads just as true.

Take a look [emphasis added to the phrases we substituted]:

-"[Reporters] moved aggressively over the weekend to link scandal-tarred Gov. Rod Blagojevich to President-elect Barack Obama."

-"That video followed hard on a series of statements from the [press] over the last week that sought to raise questions about the nature and depth of Obama's ties to Blagojevich and that demanded more information concerning the number and substance of contacts between Obama's aides and the governor and his staff about the possible Senate appointment."

-"The goal here is clear: Blagojevich is the prototypical example of political power run amok, and if he can be used in any way to slow Obama's momentum throughout the transition, then [the media] regard that as a worthwhile endeavor."

-"At issue for [journalists] (and herein lies the risk) is whether, in fact, there is any there there as it relates to Obama's relationship with Blagojevich."

-"How hard will [reporters] continue to push on Obama-Blagojevich? And will it work in their favor or blow up in their faces?"

Uncanny, no?

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