Media Matters reports that, despite U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's warning to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed" in the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, numerous media outlets have jumped to tie President-elect Obama to the scandal.
An AP article called "Questionable associations of Obama" used the Blagojevich arrest to run down other "notable figures who have drawn scorn and scrutiny" who have crossed paths with Obama. Media Matters points out that Obama has not been implicated in any criminal wrongdoing in connection with any of these people, more than half of whom have not themselves been charged with anything.
A Politico article called "Big risks for Obama in Blago scandal" calls the case "a stink bomb tossed at close range." They note that Obama comes out well from the criminal complaint, but quote numerous Republicans to suggest that the scandal will cause trouble for the President-elect.
On MSNBC Chuck Todd said, "Obviously, Chicago Democratic politics, Illinois Democratic politics has a lot of concentric circles. People who used to work for Blagojevich, maybe in his 2002 campaign, have connections now with Obama." He added, "the guilt-by-association stuff, it'll serve as a Republican talking point probably for four or eight years, depending on how long Obama is president." Chris Matthews also used guilt-by-association against Obama, pointing out that he "rose to political power in a city, Chicago, in a state, Illinois, known for corruption." He noted that there were "no allegations" against Obama, but added, "There are many unanswered questions."
As Jason Linkins reported, Sean Hannity attempted to tie Obama to Blagojevich but failed -- in fact he noted repeatedly that all the references to the President-elect in the criminal complaint were "exculpatory." The only damning piece of information he could find was that Obama's name came up in the complaint The word President-elect is mentioned 44 times.">44 times.