Blogger Matt Yglesias has been in Finland lately, studying up on their education policy, but all it took was a single viewing of Morning Joe to bring him up to speed with the new way the political press corps has been abusing their platform:
[T]his morning on MSNBC there was a lengthy discussion of Obama's involvement in Blagojevich's corruption. Of course, there was no evidence of any involvement on Obama's part. Nor, despite this being a news channel, was there any original reporting of any kind whatsoever. There was, however, a ton of time spent criticizing the Obama campaign's PR strategy with regard to this issue -- the suggestion being that had Obama adopted a better PR strategy, then people wouldn't be on television making evidence-free guilt-by-association accusations against him.
This strong me as odd. The people making the accusations kept acknowledging that they had no evidence. One might think that communicating to television personalities the fact that there was no evidence of wrongdoing on Obama's part would constitute a good PR strategy. Given that they knew there was no evidence of wrongdoing, they should have ceased implying that there was wrongdoing. But they didn't do that at all. Not, I would submit, because of any failings on Obama's part, but because Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, John Heileman, Mark Halperin, and Pat Buchanan don't care at all about the accuracy of the impression their coverage gives.
I really can't sum up the past week of coverage any better. What I can do, however, is relate the effects of this coverage. Via Rasmussen Reports:
Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.
Just 11% say it is not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Thursday and Friday nights.
A key finding, by the way? "Voters nationally are more skeptical than those in Illinois."
What can I say? THE SYSTEM WORKS.