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December 09, 2008

The Context of the Blago Arrest the Media Won't Report

When there's a hot story, the media usually likes to pile on with background pieces, context pieces, related pieces. This is flood-the-zone type coverage as former NYT editor Howell Raines dubbed it. And the media likes doing this coverage... so long as it's not harming The Cause.

In arguments between liberals and conservatives on media bias, liberals will often point out "But the media did cover that particular story!" Yes, there is usually a short article out there, failing to note the Democratic wrong-doer's partisan affiliation. But there is no flood-the-zone. There are no background pieces, context pieces, related pieces. Some follow-up, but no pile-on. Not when a Democrat has been caught dirty.

If there were going to be flood-the-zone coverage of the corrupt Chicago machine, some background as to how it operates and how breathtakingly blatant corruption is viewed as normal business practices by pols and citizens, what sorts of stories would we see?

Well, in this Bizarro universe I'm hypothesizing, we might see some fresh mention of this story:

Dan Riehl notes, via Amanda Carpenter, that in the list of earmarks he requested, $1 million was requested for the construction of a new hospital pavilion at the University Of Chicago. The request was put in in 2006.

You know who works for the University of Chicago Hospital?

Michelle Obama. She's vice president of community affairs.

As Byron noted, "In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office."

Looks like that raise was worth it.

But the media is not going to offer context in this case.

What context do you need to explain One Man's Crime?

Blago did something bad. That's it. There's no more context to explain, no political culture which requires further elaboration.

The story begins and ends with Blago himself. There is no point in expending all those journalistic resources to story which is simply about a single man's failings.

Nothing to see here, folks. MoveOn.org.



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posted by Ace at 04:44 PM

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