Obama Gets Benefit of the Doubt (for Now)
By Ben Pershing
It's called "the benefit of the doubt" and Barack Obama gets it right now, at least as far as the media is concerned. That's the takeaway from yesterday's release and today's coverage of the long-awaited Blegojevich report, a document prepared by White House counsel-designate Gregory Craig which found that there was a bit of contact between the incoming administration and the embattled governor's office over the vacant Illinois senate seat, but nothing inappropriate.
Maybe there really is nothing to see here, and it is Christmas Eve. Still, it's striking how little skepticism there is in this morning's stories, both of the report's result and the process by which it was crafted. Imagine that there was a potential scandal like this involving the Bush administration -- far-fetched, we know, but play along for a moment. And imagine that Bush announced right away that he had done nothing wrong, but then said his staff would mount its own internal investigation, based on parameters and guidelines that he set. Next, imagine that the White House counsel produced a report, which said no one did anything wrong. Would the media buy that? Would that really be the end of the matter? The contrast between the leeway allowed the current administration and the incoming one is striking, though you could argue that the former earned a healthy dose of skepticism over the last eight years.
Posted at 8:00 AM ET on Dec 24, 2008
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