With each passing day, the manufactured "scandal" over the publication of Valerie Plame's relationship with the CIA establishes new depths of mainstream-media hypocrisy. A highly capable special prosecutor is probing the underlying facts, and it is appropriate to withhold legal judgments until he completes the investigation over which speculation runs so rampant. But it is not too early to assess the performance of the press. It's been appalling.
Is that hyperbole? You be the judge. Have you heard that the CIA is actually the source responsible for exposing Plame's covert status? Not Karl Rove, not Bob Novak, not the sinister administration cabal du jour of Fourth Estate fantasy, but the CIA itself? Had you heard that Plame's cover has actually been blown for a decade — i.e., since about seven years before Novak ever wrote a syllable about her? Had you heard not only that no crime was committed in the communication of information between Bush administration officials and Novak, but that no crime could have been committed because the governing law gives a person a complete defense if an agent's status has already been compromised by the government?
No, you say, you hadn't heard any of that. You heard that this was the crime of the century. A sort of Robert-Hanssen-meets-Watergate in which Rove is already cooked and we're all just waiting for the other shoe — or shoes — to drop on the den of corruption we know as the Bush administration. That, after all, is the inescapable impression from all the media coverage. So who is saying different?
The organized media, that's who. How come you haven't heard? Because they've decided not to tell you. Because they say one thing — one dark, transparently partisan thing — when they're talking to you in their news coverage, but they say something completely different when they think you're not listening.
To us, the reading, news-hungry public, the media are saying one thing. To a court they are singing another tune. If you want to have your jaw drop, go see what 36 news organizations (all the one's calling for Karl Rove's head) joined together to write in a brief filed as a friend-of-the-court in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.
Believe me, this is truly astonishing and repellant. The hypocrisy is unbelievable...except, this is the mainstream media we are speaking of, after all.
I suppose I shouldn't be so shocked.