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April 23, 2008
'Name the Crook's Party' - New York Times wants you to guess
News out of the Tony Rezko trial in Chicago where the long time patron and fund raiser for Barack Obama and current governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is in the dock on federal fraud charges. One of the key figures in the case, Ali Ata, has pleaded guilty in the "pay for play" scheme:
A former high-ranking state official pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to a federal agent when he denied receiving anything in return for political contributions to the campaign of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. It's funny but the courts won't refer to Blagojevich by name and the New York Times won't refer to the political party he belongs to. Perhaps because spectacularly bold corruption like this can only be carried out by Democrats and the Times felt no need to identify the governor's political party:
The guilty plea by Ali Ata, former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, carries strong accusations against Mr. Blagojevich, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing but whose name and administration have surfaced repeatedly in a trial against a former fund-raiser, Antoin Rezko.
Mr. Rezko is on trial here on federal charges of soliciting kickbacks from companies seeking business or regulatory approval from the state. As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Ata admitted to knowing that he had received his state position, with a salary of $127,000 a year, because he made political donations to Mr. Blagojevich. He also admitted lying when he said he was unaware that Mr. Rezko played a role in his appointment to head the finance authority.
While the court documents do not refer to Mr. Blagojevich by name (they call him “Public Official A”), the details confirm his identity. He was also referred to that way in documents pertaining to Mr. Rezko’s case, and earlier this year the judge in that case, Amy J. St. Eve of Federal District Court, effectively identified Mr. Blagojevich as Public Official A.
According to Mr. Ata’s plea agreement, he took a $25,000 check to a meeting with Mr. Blagojevich and Mr. Rezko in 2002. With the check in an envelope on the conference table between the men, Mr. Rezko “stated to Public Official A that the defendant had been a good supporter and team player and that the defendant would be willing to join Public Official A’s administration.” Ed Lasky:
“Public Official A expressed his pleasure,” the plea agreement continues, “and acknowledged that the defendant had been a good supporter and good friend. Public Official A, in the defendant’s presence, asked Rezko if he (Rezko) had talked to the defendant about positions in the administration, and Rezko responded that he had.”
What word is missing in this article about the corruption trial of figures linked to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (and Barack Obama).?The word Democrat which is their party affiliation. The article was buried on page A 18. Oddly enough - or not so oddly considering the Times carries water for the Democratic Part - there was an article right next to the one on the corruption trial which noted the partisan race in Mississippi.
In case you didn't take a high school journalism course - as Catrin Einhorn, the Times reporter evidently didn't - identifying the party of a politician mentioned in an article, be he president or dog catcher, is pretty much a basic rule of journalism. But that's the advantage of working for a rag like the New York Times.
The rules simply don't apply.