The house next door to President Obama’s in Chicago is for sale, and Tuesday’s New York Times ran a front-page puff piece about it.
We learn that the current owners are too old for such a big home and that the Obama children, Sasha and Malia, love to poke their hands through the fence to pet the dog.
The Times helpfully includes an aerial photo with labels to show the Obamas’ house and their neighbor’s.
Only one thing is missing: any unpleasantness about the controversial parcel on the other side of the Obama house. It appears prominently in the picture and made national news during the presidential election, but the Times skips that entirely. That parcel is the infamous “Rezko lot.”
Mum’s the word, at least for Times’ readers.
Tony Rezko, an early fundraiser for Barack Obama before he became a fixer and fundraiser for Governor Rod Blagojevich, bought the garden lot on the same day the Obamas purchased their house and from the same owners. Somehow, the canny Rezko paid full price. The Obamas received a significant discount.
Although Rezko purchased his vacant lot during a real-estate boom, he made no effort to develop it or sell it to someone who would. Instead, he left the Obamas with a bucolic side yard, while he paid the mortgage and the taxes. But Rezko went one step further. When the Obamas wanted to expand their land a little, Tony sold them a small slice of his parcel, something that is virtually unheard of in that neighborhood.
Rezko now sits in federal prison for his central role in the corruption scandal surrounding Rod Blagojevich. The Times avoided any mention of these issues and failed even to label the lot as it blew kisses to the Obamas and their neighbors.
For the once-proud New York Times, the code of omertà seems to have replaced “all the news that’s fit to print.”