Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Freedom to Play it Safe

Am I the only one out here in the hinterland who is sick to death of how our so-called free press has rolled over and played dead during the Bush administration? It seems that our much-heralded watchdogs for truth have lost their appetite for the good fight.

It doesn't make sense. After enduring years of GOP-led scrutiny that exposed Bill Clinton for lying about weighty issues like blowjobs in the Oval Office, the mainstream media takes a nap when Bush & Co. come to Washington and start leading us down the path to massive deficits, growing poverty and protracted war overseas. There seems to be some kind of inverse law of media attention here.

The recent flap over White House leaks that "outed" a covert CIA agent may have finally awakened a few people, especially since the president's own man-behind-the-scenes, Karl Rove, is involved.

It all began when conservative Chicago Sun Times columnist Robert Novak, citing two adminstration sources, named covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Novak wrote the column in 2003 trying to explain why Bush's state of the union speech hyped up Saddam Hussein's attempt to buy uranium in Africa when his own diplomatic emissary had already reported that this was not the case.

It's curious that Novak tried to soft-pedal the story in much the same way Rove did to the Time reporter, by implying that the diplomat, Joseph Wilson, was sent there by his CIA agent wife - and the Bush administration really didn't know much about it. Are we suppose to believe that Wilson went to Africa at his wife's behest? "Honey, would you mind going to Niger and checking out that uranium report for me?" Gimme a break. No, they had to discredit Wilson somehow because he refused to tell them what they wanted to hear and, worse, had publicly criticized their efforts to tilt intelligence reports while building a case for invading Iraq.

Another curious thing about this story . . . how is it that reporters Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper get hammered by the grand jury prosecutor for not revealing their sources, but Robert Novak, who started the whole thing, doesn't even get a dishonorable mention? Cooper was let off the hook by none other than Karl Rove, who admitted that he was the source for the Time story. Miller was found in contempt of court and could face four months in jail for protecting her sources.

Ms. Miller, by the way, is hardly a non-partisan in all this. Her pre-war hyping of weapons of mass destruction and germ warfare was right on script with Bush's war mongering after 9/11. My guess is that her source, and perhaps Novak's as well, is either Rove or Cheney . . . and we can't have old Dick getting too much air time on this. Miller, no doubt, is proud to have become a media martyr and gain big points with the Bushies. Her next book should do well.

When Novak's column first shed light on the CIA leak, Bush blustered that anyone caught leaking classified info would be fired. That simply won't happen - not Rove. They'll find a way around it because Bush wouldn't know what to say or do without the guy. And the media will be there to cushion it all for us.


RSmith said...

Another oddity in this case . . . Miller chose to go to jail even after her sources gave her permission to reveal their identities if she chose to cooperate with the grand jury. Why do you suppose she chose jail? Is it possible that Miller is the original source? Was this a leak in reverse with Miller telling her White House sources about the covert CIA operative?
It's an interesting story.

Soprano2 said...

Hi, I'm from Spfd--found your blog because of the newspaper article.

I think it's entirely possible that Miller is protecting her own ass rather than protecting her source. If that's the case then she has absolutely no justification for refusing to testify.

It's interesting that no one in the mainstream media has talked about Miller's sources saying she can talk, isn't it? I think they're making her into a marytr for their own selfish reasons.

This revelation might make it possible to finally stick a fork in George Bush.

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