The Wall Street Journal has been an exception to the mainstream media rule of unquestioned support for Barack Obama, and to this day the WSJ’s editorial page is one of the few places where Obama’s proposed policies are questioned. But a news article in today’s WSJ, “Reform Law Might Have Aided Blagojevich Scheme,” gives me great concern.
The article describes how Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was able to take advantage of a 2003 ethics law which revamped the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. The ethics legislation was supported by Obama, who was described in the article as being “influential” in its passage. After the Planning Board revamp, Blagojevich was able to put together a “friendly, five member majority” which Blagojevich allegedly used to squeeze campaign contributions from businesses which needed Planning Board approval, and which is a focus of the Criminal Complaint filed against Blagojevich by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
So what does Obama have to do with this? The WSJ article points out that after passage of the law, Obama received $15,500 in campaign contributions from three board members “who since have been identified by prosecutors as participants in the alleged abuses.” And who coordinated all the Planning Board scheming for Blagojevich? None other than Antoin Rezko, the longtime Obama campaign supporter and fundraiser whose wife helped the Obamas purchase their house by simultaneously purchasing the adjoining lot.
So Obama helps pass a law, which enables Blagojevich to control the Planning Board whose members then donate to Obama’s campaign, under the coordination of Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko. Does this mean Obama did anything wrong. Not necessarily, but it certainly raises questions, though not apparently to the WSJ.
In the article, the WSJ goes out of its way to exonerate Obama before there has been any investigation:
There is no indication that President-elect Obama was involved in any hospital board wrongdoing. But his role in the legislation shows how he became a useful, though apparently unwitting, ally to Mr. Blagojevich’s alleged schemes, sometimes conducted under the “reform” slogan that both men regularly invoked.
Why does the WSJ feel the need to describe Obama as an “unwitting ally” of Blagojevich’s schemes. We don’t know that to be true, or not true. Why not just report the news (including that Obama has not been charged with any wrongdoing), and let the readers draw their own conclusions?
The tone of this article is similar to what we have come to expect from The New York Times and other pro-Obama newspapers, which use news articles to express editorial opinions, and which accept at face value that Obama has no clue what is going on around him. Lets hope this WSJ article is not the taste of things to come, from one of the last truly inquisitive mainstream newspapers.