KHQA refuses comment on report of Blagojevich – Obama meeting

I called KHQA to ask why the station twice reported a meeting between Governor Rod Blagojevich and President-elect Barack Obama.
I asked to speak to the public relations staff but was not allowed to do so. The receptionist wanted to know the reason for my call which I explained. Then she said I could read the statement on their website. When I asked why the station twice reported a meeting about which they had no knowledge, she told me that the station had made a statement. After taking my number, she hung up.
I suspect the station is getting many calls which may explain in part the abrupt approach. However, their “clarification” does not clarify why the station made the report in the first place – twice. Human error would be a fine answer, but as for now, their conduct invites speculation.
Why would a news organization not be more transparent about a story of national significance – or any story – about which they now say they may have been incorrect? I have no idea if this is relevant but the owner of KHQA is the Barrington Group which is owned and controlled by the Pilot Group. This finance group is run by Rob Pittman of MTV/AOL fame. Pittman is a New Yorker who supported Obama in the primaries and according to the New York Post, hosted a fundraiser for him along with Huffington Post co-founder, Ken Lerer.

Obama mined for more gold at the Central Park West home of Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer, who co-hosted a cash bash with former AOL honcho Bob Pittman.

HuffPo has been known to be a little partial to Mr. Obama. Who knows if any of this is related, but as I said, the curious conduct of the station opens the door to speculation.

Who is Blagojevich's Illinois Senate Candidate 5?

It is starting to look like Jesse Jackson, Jr. is the one labeled Senate Candidate 5 in the Blago complaint. In reading the complaint (really just stunning stuff), I came to the tentative opinion that Jesse Jackson, Jr., was the guy. Jackson had met with Blago for “productive” conversations and the time frame for meetings with Jackson seemed to fit the Blago phone calls.
Looking around, it appears others are coming to the same opinion. Here is a Chicago paper putting the pieces together.

Meeting with Candidate 5
On Thursday, the governor was taped by investigators saying that he was going to meet with Candidate 5 in the next few days, according to the affidavit. Jackson met with Blagojevich Monday at the Thompson Center in Chicago for about 90 minutes to discuss the Senate seat. In a statement, Jackson said he “shared with the governor my hopes and unique qualifications for succeeding President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.”
Also on Thursday, Blagojevich said in a taped phone call that he was considering appointing Candidate 5 because he believed the candidate would raise money for the governor or give him money “up front,” according to the affidavit.
On Oct. 31, Blagojevich reportedly said on another recorded call that he had been approached by an associate of Candidate 5. Blagojevich said, “We were approached ‘pay to play.’ That, you know, he’d raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a senator.”
But Blagojevich apparently wanted proof of the candidate’s ability to raise money for him sooner rather than later, saying he had “a prior bad experience with Senate Candidate 5 not keeping his word,” the affidavit says.
“Some of this stuff’s gotta start happening now — right now — and we gotta see it,” Blagojevich allegedly said.
On Friday, the affidavit states, a story in the Chicago Tribune reported that authorities had been taping Blagojevich. This caused the governor to tell an associate to backtrack and “undo your — thing” with the individual he believed was close to Candidate 5, the affidavit states.

For his part, Jackson is denying any wrongdoing:

Federal prosecutors say someone approached Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Candidate 5’s behalf and offered to trade campaign contributions for an appointment to the Senate.
Jackson (D-2nd), in a pair of written statements addressing what he described as “rumors” that he is referenced in the government’s complaint, declined to address the question but protested his innocence and said he would cooperate “fully and completely” with federal investigators as they continue to examine the governor’s alleged efforts to auction off the state’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.
“Since the federal investigation of the governor is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment,” Jackson said. “However, I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing.”

Jackson, Jr., was lobbying for the Senate seat before the election was over. Here is an interesting point:

Illinois political insiders, who declined to discuss the subject on the record for fear of appearing presumptuous before the results of the presidential race are known, say Obama would have a major hand in the decision.