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April 3, 2009
NY Times hides Blag-O connection
The New York Times is once again filtering content to protect its Chosen One. Their Friday report on the indictment of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich covers up the document's many allegations against Barack Obama's "political patron" and longtime friend and fund-raiser, Tony Rezko.
The Times article -- buried in the "More News" section, in the online edition at least -- does not mention Rezko, even though a count shows Rezko is named 100 times in the 75-page indictment: more than once per page, and more times than four of the five actual defendants.
The indictment does not formally charge Rezko, already serving time on corruption charges, but alleges that, "Rezko at times exercised substantial influence over certain activities of the Office of the Governor..."
Among the specific allegations:
Real estate and fund-raising
Real estate dealings, like the proverbial bad penny, also kept coming up in reports of the relationship between Rezko and Obama.
Most readers are familiar with the cozy deal in which Obama purchased his South Chicago mansion for $300,000 below asking price, while, at the same time, Rezko's wife paid the seller full price for the vacant lot next door. But a Chicago Sun-Times article from two years ago also pointed out that:
The report noted that "Obama has been friends with Rezko for 17 years"and detailed a relationship in which Obama continued to do legal work for Rezko's various entities even after Obama became a state senator.
It added that, "As a U.S. senator, Obama grew closer to Rezko... Over the years, Rezko, (Rezko partner Daniel) Mahru, their wives and businesses have given more than $50,000 to Obama's campaign funds, records show. And Rezko has helped raise millions more."
Fund-raising and real estate.
The two areas in which Rezko has been identified with Obama are the same two areas which the indictment now portrays Rezko as being involved with Blagojevich.
Coincidence? Could be. It could also be coincidence that the Blagojevich indictment, anxiously awaited for weeks, was handed down on Thursday, when the media--in full-blown Obamania over the G-20 summit--was sure to give it minimal play.
Journalists are curious people. (Sometimes in more ways than one.) Simple intellectual curiosity should have led the Times--and other journalists--to follow the Rezko connection.
At the Times, though, journalists have proved curiously un-curious about the current President.
And those "others known and unknown to the Grand Jury" to whom the Blagojevich indictment refers? (Can anyone say, unindicted co-conspirator?) Don't expect to read about them in the Gray--and getting grayer all the time--Lady, either.
William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author