DAMNED IF YOU DO…. In June, political reporter Jonathan Weisman noted, “The great irony is that [Barack Obama] is much more white than black, beyond skin color.” A month later, Weisman took an Obama quote, second hand and out of context, to make a wildly misleading claim.
Today, Weisman reports on the Obama transition office’s decision to honor Patrick Fitzgerald’s request on the release of a list of contacts with Rod Blagojevich’s office.
Robert Luskin, a Washington white-collar defense lawyer who knows Mr. Fitzgerald well, said he doesn’t doubt the prosecutor would have asked that Obama officials keep quiet until his investigation is further along. That is to prevent witnesses from tailoring their stories to what they learn others are saying. But, he said, Mr. Obama and his aides don’t have to comply. They are using the prosecutor as a “fig leaf” to avoid answering questions just now, Mr. Luskin said. They could just as easily have decided that assuring the public about their actions is more important than acceding to the prosecutor’s request.
I see. So, yesterday the AP suggests Obama is trying to bury embarrassing news by listening to Fitzgerald and federal prosecutors, and today, the Wall Street Journal suggests Obama could have “easily” ignored the wishes of law enforcement officials altogether, and “reassured” the public this week, instead of next week.
The media’s drive to make Obama look bad as part of the Blagojevich mess is getting kind of silly.
Jamison Foser explained very well why, if we follow Weisman’s logic, Obama is wrong no matter what he does.
If Obama ignored Fitzgerald’s request and released the findings anyway, the Wall Street Journal — and the rest of the media — would be full of stories about Obama deliberately undermining Fitzgerald’s investigation. They’d be speculating breathlessly about why Obama would undermine the investigation, and claiming that it proves he has something to hide.
And that’s the entire point of Weisman’s article — that Obama could have blown off Fitzgerald’s request.
NBC Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker insisted this morning that reporters covering Obama are “going to have to get tougher.” At this point, I’d settle for smarter.