Cunningham accuses media of "latch[ing] on" to evidence indicating Obama had nothing to do with Blagojevich scandal

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On his radio show, Bill Cunningham advanced baseless speculation that President-elect Barack Obama will not be inaugurated because of the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Also, accusing the media of "latch[ing] on" to evidence undermining any suggestion of wrongdoing by Obama, Cunningham falsely claimed that "parts" of the criminal complaint against Blagojevich "clearly indicate that Obama is up to his eyeballs in fraud." But as U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald made clear, the complaint indicates nothing of the sort.

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On the December 10 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Cincinnati-based radio host Bill Cunningham forwarded baseless speculation that President-elect Barack Obama will not be inaugurated because of the scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). Cunningham stated: "Some have speculated, including my producer, Matt Steinman, that it's possible Obama will not be inaugurated, 'cause this scandal will envelop him and consume him." Cunningham also claimed of the criminal complaint against Blagojevich, "[I]t is replete with references to Barack Obama and his direct and indirect involvement in the bribe. It's all over the affidavits. The media latches on to a phrase that indicates that Obama is not participating whatsoever. But there are other parts of this affidavit that clearly indicates that he is participating." Cunningham later added: "[T]hey will not tell you the parts of the affidavit that clearly indicate that Obama is up to his eyeballs in fraud." Cunningham made these remarks despite U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's statement that the criminal complaint against Blagojevich "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct" and Fitzgerald's warning to the press to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed or if you learn they're being interviewed."

As Media Matters for America has noted, the complaint against Blagojevich does not include a single allegation of misconduct by Obama, and at least one mention of "president-elect" in the complaint affirmatively undermines any suggestion of wrongdoing on Obama's part. In that instance, the complaint alleges that Blagojevich "said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but 'they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.' "

From the December 10 broadcast of Clear Channel's The Big Show with Bill Cunningham:

CUNNINGHAM: ABC News and myself have read the entire 76-page affidavit, and it -- it is replete with references to Barack Obama and his direct and indirect involvement in the bribe. It's all over the affidavits. The media latches on to a phrase that indicates that Obama is not participating whatsoever. But there are other parts of this affidavit that clearly indicates that he is participating.

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: All right, now, Billy Cunningham. Coming up later this hour will be WGN's Andrea Darlas about the latest from the Obama scandal, the first of his presidency, before he gets to office. Some have speculated, including my producer, Matt Steinman, that it's possible Obama will not be inaugurated, 'cause this scandal will envelop him and consume him. In that case, I think either -- I would think Nancy Pelosi would be the president, because there's all kinds of speculation about what's going on.

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: Also on ABC News' website, there's the following recitation from the affidavit filed by the FBI. The FBI affidavit says Blagojevich had been told by an adviser that the president-elect can get Rob [sic] Blagojevich's wife on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the president-elect's pick to the U.S. Senate. Now, the media, because they so support Obama, will tell you the things in the affidavit that are exam -- are finding Obama innocent in this matter. And they will not tell you the parts of the affidavit that clearly indicate that Obama is up to his eyeballs in fraud.

The FBI affidavit says Blagojevich had been told by an adviser, quote, "The president-elect can get Rod Blagojevich's wife on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the president-elect's pick to the U.S. Senate," unquote. That is in the FBI affidavit, according to ABC News. And I've read 75 pages and it is certainly there. So, we'll see what happens.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Network/Outlet
Clear Channel, 700WLW
Person
Bill Cunningham
Show/Publication
The Big Show with Bill Cunningham
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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