We just got a copy of former Illinois scandal Gov. Rod Blagojevich's book, The Governor: The Truth Behind the Political Scandal That Continues to Rock the Nation. The theme: He did nothing wrong. Better yet, he wasn't selling Barack Obama's Senate seat. Instead, he just wanted a deal in which the Illinois legislature passed do-gooder programs.
Of course, he puts a hurtin' on the media, and that's what we'll focus on in today's hopper. Spread out over Pages 18 and 19 in the book embargoed for release until today, he says the press just wanted a good story, not the truth. Here is his reaction, in his words, as he faced the court and media on charges he attempted to sell Obama's seat:
"I appeared before Federal Magistrate Nan Nolan at approximately 1:30 p.m. I had never seen her before. But I thought to myself, oh my God, what does this respected judge think of all of this? As she was conducting the court proceedings and speaking to the lawyers, I noticed on one or two occasions she glanced at me. As she was doing this, I felt her silently saying to me, 'How could you get yourself in this position?' I had this powerful urge to jump up on the table and tell her I didn't do anything wrong—that this must be some kind of mistake.
"As expected, the courtroom was packed with the media. These are the kinds of things they just love. Good news; forget about it. Real and meaningful results that you accomplished for people, that touched the lives of people, that helped them—okay, sure—we'll write about it. Let's see. There's room on page 27.
"This was going to be a great day for them. This is what they live for. The misfortune of others is a mother lode of fortune for them. And in a mad dash to write about the bad news, they're so busy tripping over each other and trying not to get scooped by the competition that the search for the truth is a casualty. It's collateral damage. Newspapers need to be sold. Deadlines have to be met. There's no time to lose, not even time to catch your breath. Not even time to ask the right questions. Aren't they supposed to challenge the information; to be objective; to probe? Isn't that what a vigorous and free press is supposed to do? The fourth estate is supposed to check the unfettered power of the government. It's supposed to act to check the abuse of power, wherever it exists. And when they fail to do so, our democracy is undermined, and our freedoms are threatened. . . .
"This was too good of a story to let the truth get in its way. Nor was there even time to search for the truth. It's a rat race out there. It's a rush. It's a rush to beat the competition. It's a rush to sell newspapers. It's a rush to judgment! Screw the truth. Edward R. Murrow would roll over in his grave."