The N&O’s front page story today on the withdrawal of the Daschle and Killefer nominations is a classic of friendly, damage control “journalism.” Under the AP’s Charles Babington’s byline the story begins:
Two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama proved that even a clearly gifted politician cannot escape the gravitational pull of Washington forces that he has vowed to reform.That sounds just the way an Obama speech writer would frame the story. A “clearly gifted” new President just “[t]wo weeks into his presidency” is caught in “the gravitational pull" of “forces he had vowed to reform.”
That's nonsense! Obama may not have known Daschle was a tax cheat, but he knew he was a leading Washington influence peddler who’d raked in millions in recent years trading on the contacts he’d made while a Senator. That was no secret inside the Beltway.
After praising Obama’s “I screwed up” as “a frank admission.” Babington goes on to minimize the screw-up by shifting his story’s focus from Daschle’s well-known, egregious abuses over many years to the far less serious mistakes of Killefer :
It was an old story with new actors: A new president's team imperfectly vetted top nominees. The nominees, it turns out, had not paid taxes for household help or other services when they were private citizens. The news media and political adversaries bored in. And rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on.I guess for those he thinks are dolts who don't get his pitching for Obama, Babington adds:
In other words, Obama isn't perfect. This may be news to his adoring supporters, but like other presidents, Obama is going to make more mistakes over the coming months as he struggles with the economy, health care, military matters and Congress.There’s more to the N&O and Babington’s story. You can read it all here.
Question: Does anyone know how sales of the adoring Obama book the N&O’s parent McClatchy Company’s published are going?
I’m sure McClatchy and the N&O don’t want sales dropping because of “the gravitational pull” of the growing list of Obama-nomination screw-ups.