Blago Publisher Defends Deal

Michael Viner, head of Phoenix Books, the publishing house that just paid six figures for Rod Blagojevich’s memoirs, fancies himself a public servant. Far from just monetarily rewarding the impeached Illinois governor for the allegedly corrupt practices of his administration, Phoenix Books is, according to Viner, educating the public by giving it a close-up look at ties between lobbyists and politicians. “If through Mr. Blagojevich’s book we learn how the system works from someone who is as critical of himself as the system that he used, and perhaps abused, then this is a cautionary tale worth telling,” the CEO writes. He adds: “I only ask that the public at large give him a fairer trial than the railroad ride he was given out of his role as governor.”