Blagojevich Threatened Tribune, Too

Add to enemy of a free press to incarcerated Illinois Governor Rod Bagojevich’s sins.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is cited as saying Tribune Co. would be denied state aid in selling Wrigley Field unless certain Chicago Tribune editorial page editors were dismissed. (By Nam Y. Huh -- Associated Press)

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is cited as saying Tribune Co. would be denied state aid in selling Wrigley Field unless certain Chicago Tribune editorial page editors were dismissed. (By Nam Y. Huh -- Associated Press)

On Sept. 29, a Chicago Tribune editorial ripped Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his “notorious pay-to-play politics” and said the legislature should investigate whether to impeach him. Five weeks later, Blagojevich told a deputy governor that they should target some of the paper’s editorial page editors by telling Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell to “get rid of those people. . . . Fire those [expletives].”

This, according to a criminal complaint unveiled yesterday, was no idle threat. According to secretly recorded phone conversations, the Democratic governor had his deputies convey a threat that Blagojevich would block the Tribune’s effort to sell the Chicago Cubs unless certain staffers were dismissed. An aide to the governor told him a Tribune financial adviser suggested that changes would be made at the editorial page. But the journalist targeted by Blagojevich, Deputy Editorial Page Editor John P. McCormick, was not fired.

As media analysts question the continuing relevance of newspapers, prosecutors are charging Blagojevich in an extraordinary scheme to silence critics at the state’s largest paper — even as they were urging editors not to undermine the investigation with premature disclosures.

As it is, Blagojevich is likely going to spend a long time in jail and the Tribune is going bankrupt.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    And yet we see nods of approval from the left when Fox gets left out of Obama news conferences.

    Hmmm.

  2. Triumph says:

    incarcerated Illinois Governor Rod Bagojevich

    He’s not incarcerated–he posted bond yesterday afternoon and returned to his home yesterday @ 2:30pm: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/1323346,CST-NWS-scene10.article

  3. Eric says:

    And yet we see nods of approval from the left when Fox gets left out of Obama news conferences.

    How is this in any way related? Blagojevich was clearly acting criminally if he was looking to get editors fired. Obama merely does not call on Fox News reporters at a news conference. (Actually, he has–but I know that would destroy your fantasy, Bitsy.) Once again desperately trying to find links where there aren’t any.

    Moreover, wasn’t the right nodding approvingly when Helen Thomas was unceremoniously removed from her front-row spot in the WH press room and not called upon either?

    My, what a short memory you have, Bitsy.

  4. Bithead says:

    How is this in any way related?

    I should think this rather obvious.

    Blagojevich was clearly acting criminally if he was looking to get editors fired. Obama merely does not call on Fox News reporters at a news conference.

    But note that in both cases, news coverage the pol doesn’t like gets squashed.

    Moreover, wasn’t the right nodding approvingly when Helen Thomas was unceremoniously removed from her front-row spot in the WH press room and not called upon either?

    Yep. And the left was breathinga sigh of relief, too. In that case, we’d not talking about news coverage, just grandstanding, as even a lot of leftists mentioned. But frankly, that you can’t tell the difference between the two situations speaks volumes to my conclusion about you from the other day.

  5. Eric says:

    I should think this rather obvious.

    This is a cop out. If it was so obvious, no one would’ve needed to raise the question.

    But note that in both cases, news coverage the pol doesn’t like gets squashed.

    OK… so how is this any different at any point in any presidential administration? In fact, your boy G-Dub has been much more selective and insular about whom he chooses to talk to and call on. People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Bitsy.

    Yep. And the left was breathing a sigh of relief, too.

    Once again, another unsupported assertion that leaves everyone wondering what the heck you are talking about. Oh, wait, lemme guess: it’s “obvious,” right?

    But frankly, that you can’t tell the difference between the two situations…

    Actually, I’m the one who’s making the distinction between the two here. You are the one trying to conflate Blogojevich’s behavior trying to get editors fired and Obama not calling on Faux News at news conferences, then trying to weasel out of it by saying, well, “it’s obvious.”

    …speaks volumes to my conclusion about you from the other day.

    Aww, I’m crushed. Eheu! Eheu! (Eric beats his breasts, gnashes his teeth.)

  6. Bithead says:

    This is a cop out. If it was so obvious, no one would’ve needed to raise the question.

    The question is an attempt to duck the obvious.

    OK… so how is this any different at any point in any presidential administration? In fact, your boy G-Dub has been much more selective and insular about whom he chooses to talk to and call on. People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Bitsy.

    I suppose you ahve some specific examples? Try to keep to the real ones.

    Once again, another unsupported assertion

    Let’s examine this.
    Who on the left complained when she got pushed aside? Was it nearly as loudly as some of the other windmills the left tilts at? No?

    Well….

    Sorry, but the facts don’t mesh with your charge.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Careful Eric, Itsy Bitsy will declare that he has achieved a crushing victory over you if you are not careful…

  8. Eric says:

    The question is an attempt to duck the obvious.

    So let me see if I get your “logic” straight. You make an unsupported, opaque assertion about some topic as “obvious.” Person X asks you to be a bit more clear, as it isn’t “obvious” what you mean. You reply that Person X’s question asking for clarification is itself an attempt avoid having the question clarified, so you refuse to clarify your own statement?

    Look, you’re the one who implied that there was some sort of similarity between Blagojevich’s criminal attempt at getting editors from the Trib fired and Obama not calling on Fox News reporters at press conferences. I merely asked you come out and state what that similarity was instead of hiding behind innuendo–but I’m suddenly the bad guy? I’m the one preventing you from actually owning your own statements? Please. Just own your words for once and come out and state the obvious. Or is that beneath you?

  9. Drew says:

    How old are you, Eric?

    (snicker)

    Or is the question, how mature?