THE INEVITABLE PUSH…. It’s only been 24 hours, and it’s pretty obvious that reports like this one, from the AP’s Liz Sidoti, are going to quickly become mind-numbing.

President-elect Barack Obama hasn’t even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him.

Obama isn’t accused of anything. 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.

There’s just no reason for reporting like this. Is Obama connected to Blagojevich’s scandal? No, but the scandal is “threatening to dog him.” Has Obama done anything wrong? No, but Republicans are going to “try to link him to the scandal.”

Well, yes, of course they are. That’s what political opponents do. We’re supposed to have an independent, professional press that helps the public cut through the nonsense and explain why baseless attacks are wrong. Instead, we get an “analysis” piece like this one.

Jamison Foser noted:

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.

Alas, Sidoti and the AP don’t see it that way. Her report says there are “signs the continuing investigation could still involve Obama.” That would be interesting, if it were true, but Sidoti pointed to no evidence to support the assertion.

She added that “more details on the case could be forthcoming.” How insightful.

The scandal isn’t dogging Obama, but the AP believes it’s threatening to dog him. Hmm. All we know at this point is that Obama didn’t play along with Blagojevich’s tactics, Obama didn’t help Blagojevich, Blagojevich was livid with Obama’s lack of cooperation, and federal investigators haven’t implicated Obama with this mess in any way.

And yet, here’s the Associated Press, telling a national audience that this story may mean trouble for Obama. It’s wildly irresponsible.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.