The Obama Scandal That Wasn’t

The news media has many biases, and most have nothing to do with political ideology. Reporters love to report a scandal. If they’re the first to report a good scandal they may even become a celebrity themselves and win a few awards. There have been many attempts to find a scandal at this early point in the 2008 elections, with among the weakest being the latest story in the New York Times on Barack Obama. It is hard to find what the scandal is reading this (emphasis mine):

The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, also shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees.

A spokesman for Mr. Obama, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, said yesterday that the senator did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks. He sold them at a net loss of $13,000.

The spokesman, Bill Burton, said Mr. Obama’s broker bought the stocks without consulting the senator, under the terms of a blind trust that was being set up for the senator at that time but was not finalized until several months after the investments were made.

“He went about this process to avoid an actual or apparent conflict of interest, and he had no knowledge of the stocks he owned,” Mr. Burton said. “And when he realized that he didn’t have the level of blindness that he expected, he moved to terminate the trust.”

Bribes don’t commonly work by taking a $13,000 loss. It appears that Obama knew nothing of the investments when made and got out, despite the loss when he did find that there was a potential question of conflict of interest. It’s hard to see any sign of a scandal in this.

While it might not mean much to see liberal blogs defend Obama, this story doesn’t seem to have any traction any where. The conservative Riehl World View writes, “frankly, I think the Times story is a bust. Reads to me like a hit piece with no powder behind it.”  John McCain says that “Sen. Obama is a very honest and fine person from everything I’ve known about him.” Hotline on Call writes that if you believe impropriety on Obama’s part, “The circumstantial evidence does not begin to prove it.”

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