The coverage of the leak investigation is starting to acquire a distinctly Rovian stench about it. Even though the White House is itself stunningly silent, the other root of all Bushit is on the case. The Sunday talk shows were full of the pro-administration talking points, with the NeoCon Numero Uno Bill Kristol leading the charge.
Kristol: The leak story is absurd, but I now think the whole prosecution is absurd. - I now think it's a politically motivated attempt to wound the Bush administration. - He is now out to discredit the Bush administration.
Kristol was backed up by a weird juxtaposition of editorial versus news reportage in the Washington Post.
The editorial page, a co-producer and then staunch defender of the war in Iraq, declared in a headline on Sunday that the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) info “Scooter” Libby gave to reporters in 2003 was in reality “A Good Leak.” The White House was not out to punish Ambassador Joe Wilson for raising doubts about pre-war intelligence; in fact, Wilson is the bad guy in this story for making false claims. Bush, in a sense, is the hero, for instantly declassifying the key NIE document - he was only out to inform the public. Now the poor guy, the Post complains, is the target of “hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy” from the Democrats.
On page one on Sunday, Post reporters Bart Gellman and Dafna Linzer observed that Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald this week in his latest court filing had for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" using classified information to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" Wilson. “Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign,” they write.
Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson."
Then, getting right to the point, the two reporters debunk their own paper's “public service” defense by observing “that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before." Libby, allegedly at Cheney’s direction, "sought out at least three reporters to bolster the discredited uranium allegation.” In other words: Far from serving our citizens, the White House was misleading and manipulating them.
The inimitable Firedoglake excoriates Fred Hiatt, the editor who presumably wrote "A Good Leak." The really good parts I can't print here. If you're over 18, I suggest you click on the link and read it. But here's a postable clip, and media-related at that.
George Bush abused his power to authorize leaks to mislead the press for political gain.
The leakers in the NSA warrantless wiretap scandal are true whistleblowers, people who risked much to inform the public about the Administration’s illegal activities.
Fred Hiatt takes out a big-ass knife and plants it in the back of his fellow journalists by applauding the witch hunt being carried out by the Bush Administration.
(Media Matters has a less amusing but equally thorough evisceration here.)
CNN's media critic Howard Kurtz devoted only a few minutes of his hour-long Reliable Sources to the subject yesterday, allowing power mouth-with-no-brain Scott Johnson to slag Ambassador Joseph Wilson all over again.
Powerline's Scott Johnson took a trip to Crazy Land today when he spouted the lie, drawn from now disproven Republican talking points, that Ambassador Joe Wilson lied about his trip to Niger, among other things. Scott Johnson (no relation thank God) lives with the delusion that if you say the earth is flat then it must be so. Too bad for Scotty that there are historical records and transcripts. A look at source documents makes clear that when it comes down to Joe Wilson versus Scott Johnson, the liar is Scotty.
Of course, the progressive blogs are all over this, calling for Bush's head. But all for nothing. This threatens to die on the too-complicated-to-tell-on-TV vine.
Blow jobs? They're easy for late night comedy show hosts to joke about.
Too bad Bush didn't authorize actually leaking ON the reporters. That might have shocked the American nation out its stupour.