“Outside Views”

(from)Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Dec. 10

(republished to the Spokesman-Review “Outside Views”) U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, an intrepid prosecutor, made a name by securing a conviction of I. Lewish “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, in the Plamegate scandal.  This arrest shows that Fitzgerald’s reputation as a no-nonsense prosecutor with a commitment to combating public corruption is well-deserved.  He also successfully prosecuted Blagojevich’s predecessor, GOP Gov. George Ryan, on influence-peddling charges.

Fitzgerald said he ordered the arrest to stop what he described as a “political corruption crime spree.”

The complaint offers ample evidence of this, including the charge that Blagojevich threatened to withold state assistance to the Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field unless certain members of the paper’s editorial board were fired. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last Monday.

If Tribune management was playing ball with Blagojevich, it will be a black mark on the record of Sam Zell, the real estate magnate who has owned the newspaper for the past year.  But it seems clear that the newspaper’s editorial board pulled no punches.  The board suggested that the Legislature investigate impeaching Blagojevich over an unrelated matter in September, one of several editorials that prosecutors say enraged the governor.

It is clear from this example, and other “Outside Views” the Spokesman-Review editorial board published, that various newspapers were prepared to nail Gov. Blago with the corruption that he had undeniably engaged in and did not demand an accounting from President elect (what did he know and when did he know it) Barack H. Obama as CNN for the past week has been demanding that he do.  Simply because the various newspapers, unlike CNN, don’t play games of “guilt by association.”  Gov. Blago was the fellow who engaged in the crime, therefore he is the one who needs to be held to account.

Here is another remarkable element that came out of CNN and most specifically, from the mouth of Wolf Blitzer.  Blitzer of “The Situation Room” and “Late Edition” wondered who it was that blew the whistle on Gov. Blago that led to his being investigated by Fitzgerald at all.  Well now, maybe Blitzer need look no further than his compatriots in the news media.  If a Gov.s actions become a matter of public record and prove to be sufficiently bad enough for an editorial board to begin demanding an impeachment, then I would certainly suggest that U.S. Attorneys’ and/or their staff, can read the newspapers and get interested in investigating what did Blago do and when did he do it?  In this case, where there was editorial smoke, there was indeed fire.  Why couldn’t Blitzer see the obvious?

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