December 15, 2008

If you think Blagojevich was arrested so early in the investigation to stop a crime from being committed, you're wrong.

Says the WSJ. Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation team would have preferred to let the sale of the Senate seat go through and to catch the crime on tape. In fact, the timing of the arrest was dictated by the Chicago Tribune:
At Fitzgerald’s request, the paper had been holding back a story since October detailing how a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with his office.

But editors decided to publish the story on Friday, Dec. 5... : “Feds taped Blagojevich; TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE: Adviser cooperated with corruption probe, sources say.”

Blagojevich read the same headline. “Undo” that “thing,” the governor allegedly told his brother, according to the FBI. And just like that, the meeting was off, only one day after it had been put back into play.

IN THE COMMENTS: Darcy says:
I never thought that.

I do have a suspicion that the Tribune didn't want it to go any further, though. Time to warn the Democrats and protect Obama?
A poll -- and I'm deliberately depriving you of the weaselly "both" answer:

What is the main reason the Chigago Tribune decided to reveal the wiretap?
For its own advantage -- to get more readers.
To warn Democrats who were about to fall into the trap. free polls


George M. Spencer said...

If you a word missing so early in the morning....and fo sorth.

Darcy said...

I never thought that.

I do have a suspicion that the Tribune didn't want it to go any further, though. Time to warn the Democrats and protect Obama?

al said...

I do have a suspicion that the Tribune didn't want it to go any further, though. Time to warn the Democrats and protect Obama?

The MSM protecting the Democrats? That would never happen...

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry for the omitted 2 words in the original title, since fixed.

Issob Morocco said...

Food for thought, yesterday Veruca Salt Madigan proposed on TV that Blago could keep his salary if he would temporarily step aside.

That is a machine attempt to offer him something in plain view, to make him go away. Another pay to play attempt. Don't expect him to bite on it. But it does show the pressure mounting on the Machine and no doubt from the One himself to clean this up today.

As for the Trib, well no doubt to increase flagging sales and hence ad revenue, they knew they had to strike on the story to get revenue or else if someone else broke it, they would be following. A media version of pay to play, perhaps.

Christmas Cheers!

Unknown said...

Yes - the Chicago Tribune is a huge standard bearer for the left. Huh?

Besides Obama (who was the home state favorite), please name one Democrat they have EVER endorsed for President before.

You can't.

sean said...

downtownlad, do not try to confuse people by conflating the editorial page of the Tribune (or any other newspaper) and its politics with the news editors and their politics. The latter group is reliably Democratic at every major newspaper in the country (even the Wall Street Journal).

Unknown said...

The Wall Street Journal is left wing? You're on drugs.

I know people who write for The Wall Street Journal. They're also in Opus Dei.

Issob Morocco said...

Open your eyes DowntownLad and get understanding. The newsrooms for both the Trib and WSJ are left leaning. You are confusing Editorial boards of the WSJ and Trib as being right leaning as compared with their news departments.

As for the Trib, well they saw fit to open Jack Ryan's divorce papers against his and his former wife's wishes to help the One get the US Senate seat in 2004. So Darcy is right.

We didn't see that with the One, on a multitude of issues they could have dug on like Rev. Wright, what he did in college, politically knee capping Alice Palmer, his failed Annenberg Challenge work, his association with Ayers and Dorhn and on and on and on....

kjbe said...

This seems little to do with Obama. It sounds like Blagojevich was trying to use his power as Governor to fire the Trib's editorial board members as a condition of the state's financial assistance in connection with refinancing Wrigley Field. Sam Zell may have dropped one on Blago - the timing is quite coincidental.

bearbee said...

I do have a suspicion that the Tribune didn't want it to go any further, though. Time to warn the Democrats and protect Obama?

Protect Dems and O for what purpose? Possible bailout money? Does the Trib have dealings that it needs to cover-up?

I need a motive.

Tribune Company to Voluntarily Restructure Debt Under Chapter 11

Sam Zell

bearbee said...

But I am concerned that if there were more fish to fry and the Trib had the exclusive, why it would pull the trigger.

Other media sniffing around?

Der Hahn said...

I guess I'd have to say protecting Obama and other Dems was probably a secondary consideration after protecting the Tribune Co. as it slid into bankruptcy.

John Stodder said...

The Tribune Company had just announced bankruptcy earlier the same week.

Publishing this story changed the subject.

Individual reporters might love love love Obama, but the collective decision process that got this story out probably didn't have much to do with him, and had more to do with internal agendas.

Darcy said...

bearbee said...But I am concerned that if there were more fish to fry and the Trib had the exclusive, why it would pull the trigger.

Well...doesn't that question at least make you wonder if my suggestion could be true?

And, can I claim coffee shortage for my muddy presentation? The first sentence is my suspicion. The second is a possible reason that has crossed my mind...I really didn't mean to convey that I'm at all convinced of it. I simply would not be surprised by that idea.

I think it stinks. For whatever reason, the Trib disrupted an investigation at a crucial point. Why?

And the media always claims they had to run with it before they were scooped. How very convenient.

Wince said...

Please, in the future, use the new technical term, corruptus interruptus.

Not to be confused with the old Chicago saying, "Corrupt, us? Hey, don't interrupt us."

Tibore said...

Folks, I think we're missing something here. We're stuck on conspiratorial explanations for what the Trib did - protect Democrats, yadda yadda - but I think there's a simpler, yet more damming reason for what they did:

They don't care about any duty to anyone else.

You see, I think they would've behaved the way they did if it were a Republican at the center of this story. Or anyone else. News organizations generally view themselves as the check and balance against any of the ills in society, and they don't believe they can discharge this duty without being able to publish what they want on whatever schedule they deem is necessary. Therefore, everyone else must bend to meet them, not the other way around. In their minds, arrests and prosecutions are the side-effects of uncovering sensational stories, and it's the reporting of such that is the actual strike against "corruption" or any other act they deem as injustice.

What am I saying? In simple language, I'm saying the vigilante is the one who thinks they're actually the vehicles of justice. The police and courts just mop up afterwards.

If they had allowed the investigation to proceed, in the end they'd merely be reduced to the status of "reporters", not actual activists in the delivery of justice or actors in the rectification of misdeeds. Reporting on their own schedule makes them the driving force behind the issue. And that is what they care about. You see, it's been a long time since the news organizations were merely in the business of reporting news. Waiting for the investigation to reach it's zenith would make them mere observers, not driving forces. And the fact that their action disrupts the prosecution is irrelevant to them, since they view themselves, not the courts, as being the arbiters of actual social justice.

bearbee said...

Well...doesn't that question at least make you wonder if my suggestion could be true?

Only if you can point to a self-interest component. I don't think Obama love is something that would move Zell

KCFleming said...

Tibore's right.

Darcy said...

Tibore: Yeah, I do think you nailed it.

Daryl said...

Remember that the Tribune had some extreme bad blood with Blago, who wanted members of its editorial board fired.

This way, they knock out Blago but protect the rest of the Chicago establishment.

DaveG said...

For its own advantage -- to get more readers.

Oh yes, sure! Because Friday is traditionally the day to release all of the stories that will increase readership. What? Friday is traditionally the day that you bury news??

Who knew??

William said...

Human beings, and many reporters are half human, generally act in their own self interest...It is moving to see that so many readers here believe that a paper would sacrifice its narrow self interest in order to advance the cause of a political party....This may turn out to be the press's Watergate. Obama and his team used Madoff's split conversion strike strategy to win the Presidency--i.e. a monstrous pile of bullshit was reported as the golden door of hope and change.... The subtext of CNBC is that there are fortunes to be made on Wall St. They do not report the predations of the bears with the same gusto as the exuberances of the bulls. More people watch CNBC when the market is up. It is more in their interest to not only cover a bull market but to create a bull market.....A similar phenomenon seems to have happened with Obama. I think there is a very good chance that Obama is a Chicago machine politician. He is perhaps a cut above in style and eloquence, but there is nothing in his record to indicate the pristine moral being that the press reported on. Obama as an agent of hope and change is a much better story than Obama as a machine politician, and that is the story the press reported.....If Obama turns into a disaster the big story will be the press's failure to do due diligence in its coverage....Looking backwards it is easy to see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, that banks were over leveraged, etc. Will we look back at Obama and wonder how the press missed so many obvious warning signs?

Henry said...

TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE: Eliot Ness's Home Address

Thanks guys.

Alex said...

These people are traitors - try them for treason.

Roberto said...

Now that's what I call an objective polling of wingnuts.


The Tribune, just like any newspaper, ran the story to beat out their competition, whether it be other newspapers, periodicals or the 1,000's of internet sources that could have run who-knows-what-about anybody.

*By the way, who are all of these Democrats who were on the verge of falling prey to the investigation?

Roberto said...

Alex said..."These people are traitors - try them for treason."

This person is a fucking idiot.

Give him a cookie.

Roberto said... in b-o-r-i-n-g..."They don't care about any duty to anyone else."


These people are probably Communists! Or Socialists! Or Terrorists!

Or...hey, wait...maybe they're a frigging NEWSPAPER and ran the story to beat out their competition??

Now why would a news organization do something like that?

Good lord, I think many here are literally losing your minds over Obama being elected and are looking for ANYTHING to stir up shit.

Tibore said...

Michael, two things:

1. You missed my line where I said I see journalists acting the same towards Republicans and anyone else. Part of my point in writing what I did was to note that their action had nothing to do with protecting Obama - I don't see the press as thinking that way - but rather with conducting their mission as they see it. You're the one trying to make this out about Obama. I think news media think the opposite, actually. The Chicago Trib would sell out Obama in a minute if they felt they needed to. So would the national newspapers. I don't see them defending Democrats just because they're democrats. Look at Blago himself for an example of that.

2. You fail to account for the fact that I actually i. Was a journalism undergrad, ii. Worked a very short while for a newspaper, and iii. Have known working journalists, including a one-time NPR reporter. The notable thing about journalistic attitudes (excepting local sports reporters) is that they do in fact view themselves as being the vehicles for justice in society, and don't apologize for it. I've had similar conversations on this topic with reporters, and just not laden my statements with my values and opinions like I have here, and it's rather instructive that they themselves reveal how they view their profession. Where do you think Dan Rather's "speaking truth to power" statement comes from? Some need to merely inform people about what's going on? I think you'd find journalists don't deny what I've said, but they'd merely ask in return "What's wrong with that?", and "why are you phrasing it so negatively?". There are two revealing quotes from the National Union of Journalists webpage:

"“ I became a journalist in the early ‘70s [when] the message to a young aspiring journalist was clear: Journalism was high-stakes moral stuff; compelling, collegial, necessary for democracy, for people to make an informed choice.”
Anne Taylor Fleming.

“You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.”
Jessica Mitford"

What do journalists own words tell you about how they view their role in society?

I suggest you study noted journalists in history. Martha Gellhorn is one such figure. Walter Duranty is another one. Colonel David Hackworth is a third. Note that that list spans the spectrum of people who's political philosophies are something's I'm neutral about, openly opposed to, and openly agree with. When you're done with that, you can then tell me how they view their role in this world. I may not like the "crusading" motivations many journalists have, but I am not incorrect in identifying it.

On top of that, your response is painfully trite and superficial, lacks analysis, and doesn't impart any sense of personal experience or supporting argument for why you believe you're correct. It's as if you're opposing my post just for the sake of being oppositional or disagreeable. I certainly don't get any sense that you truly believe what you're saying. If you think I'm wrong, why don't you actually explain how I am? Just once in your blog-posting life, put aside that chip on your shoulder and try to see what people are saying and respond instead to that, rather than reshape it to some stereotype you feel you can freely rant about. That sort of action is tiresome and juvenile, and for many of us older types here, wore thin well before we discovered the internet.

In short, act like an adult, and realize that many of us here are talking from experience and have drawn conclusions fairly, after due consideration. If you disagree with them, try to demonstrate it with something other than a knee-jerk.

John Stodder said...

Friday is traditionally the day that you bury news??

Well, not exactly. Traditionally, politicians and businesses announce news on Friday, preferably late Friday, if they want it buried.

But the objective is for the news to appear late Friday or Saturday, when fewer people are paying attention. If the news appears in Friday morning's paper, it's not buried. Friday traditionally was a bigger than usual day for newsstand sales owing to the pre-weekend coverage of things like movies, sports, etc.

These cycles only apply to low-information voters anyway -- the folks who spend their weekends actually living. The Internet needs to feed news junkies 24/7, so a late-Friday story will have much more explosive impact than it used to.