Helen Thomas and Rod Blagojevich

What do they have in common?

Their colleagues publicly treated both of them as members in good standing of their respective professional communities, until they did things that embarrassed those communities. In each case it was the embarrassment, not the bad behavior, that was the problem.

Thomas was widely known as a left-wing crank who abused the deference she was shown at press conferences to engage in rude harangues of officials under the guise of asking questions. The inappropriateness of her behavior was obvious not only to her fellow journalists but to anyone who watched her performances on television. Conservative media commentators and bloggers complained about her for years. Yet her behavior was not an issue in her professional and political circles until she publicly made anti-Jewish comments that merely echoed what she had said for years in private in the presence of other journalists.

Blagojevich, the disgraced ex-governor of Illinois, was a corrupt hack. Everyone in Illinois knew it. Yet he was a member in good standing of the Democratic establishment until he got caught on tape in the act of attempting to sell a Senate seat. Like Thomas, he became an instant pariah. Also like Thomas, he became a pariah not because of his corruption but because he was clumsy or cocky enough to let himself be caught.

The petty sagas of these two people reveal more about the values and integrity of our media and political establishments than they do about Thomas or Blagojevich as individuals.

2 thoughts on “Helen Thomas and Rod Blagojevich”

  1. Yeah, people just don’t pull crap like that out of the blue.

    It’s like when someone makes a racist comment and is surprised someone takes offense. It’s because they do it all the time in their own little circle.

  2. Blago is comic relief for the rest of us, especially the ex-Chicagoans. He may not be comic relief for Obama though, although if he gets too rambunctious with his testimony, he may find the bathtub is too deep for swimming.

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