From Pine View Farm

Indictment 6

Libby is indicted and the press and blogosphere will certainly be full of comments.

Here are a few items I found particularly interesting to the extent I could keep up with things while at work today:

A live chat with the Washington Post’s Associate Editor Robert Kaiser about the Libby indictment and related issues.

Witness this exchange:

Dayton, Ohio: Perhaps, this indictment will teach Republican officials a lesson not to get too cozy with the journalists who are for all intents and purposes their enemies.

Robert G. Kaiser: You know, this is a truly silly comment. At the risk of sounding self-serving and pompous, I will say as forcefully as I know how that honest reporters are not the “enemies” of any public figures other than corrupt or malfeasant ones. The idea that we are sitting in this newsroom with a political mission to undo Republican officials is just nuts. (Did Bill Clinton believe that when The Post broke the Monica Lewinsky story?)

Follow the link for the full chat.

And the effects of this whole escapade on Valerie Plame are not being reported, because she’s not speaking to the press. But it looks as if the current Federal Administration’s love for the politics of character assassination will ultimately end her career at the CIA:

Lost in the din of the leak scandal that has consumed Washington is the very personal impact on the gracious, willowy CIA operative at its center. Plame, the wife of former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and arguably the most famous spy in the world, is not likely to stay at the CIA, some acquaintances say.

With her career derailed, Plame, 42, the mother of 5-year-old twins, hasn’t publicly signaled her plans. But privately she has said that she feels she has no future at the spy agency where she has worked for 20 years.

And Senator Ted Kennedy (not one of my favorites, but he knows how to orate) reminds us of this (via Eschaton):

Today is an ominous day for the country, signifying a new low since Watergate in terms of openness and honesty in our government. This is far more than an indictment of an individual. In effect it’s an indictment of the vicious and devious tactics used by the Administration to justify a war we never should have fought. It’s an indictment of the lengths Administration officials were willing to go to cover up their failed intelligence, their distortion on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and their serious blunders on the war. It is an indictment of their vindictive efforts to discredit anyone who challenges their misrepresentations. (Emphasis added)



  1. Opie

    October 28, 2005 at 9:40 pm

    I’d have to side more with the guy from Ohio. After a lifetime of watching the press and a couple of years of working alongside it, I don’t see the press as being anymore or less trustworthy than the rest of American society at large.

    Not everyone in the media is out to get Bush, but it would be naive to think none are. Any politician above the level of coroner would be well advised to be circumspect in their dealing with reporters.

  2. Frank

    October 29, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    I have to disagree, mostly. Certainly there are journalists (and bloggers) with agendas. Sy Hersh comes to mind. And he has never been a shy Sy–he’s always been open about his agenda.

    (Unlike, say, Judith Miller and her handlers in the current Federal Administration.)


    I believe the guy from Ohio was coming from a different point of view from yours (which I would characterize as “people have biases and those biases affect what people do, say, and think), the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” point of view. I’ve seen it on many issues: those who accuse reporters who report facts–that’s facts, not opinions, suppositions, or conclusions–that undermine their point of view of being biased or of having hidden agendas, simply for telling the truth as best as they could.

    It’s the same mentality that leads some people to accuse those with whom they disagree of being “un-American” (whatever that is). And it’s the same mentality that gave rise and support to Joe McCarthy.

    And, frankly, these days, you see that practiced most often by persons like Bill “I can shout louder than you” O’Reilly, Rush “send drug addicts away for life–except for me” Limbaugh, Ann “I don’t like the first amendment” Coulter, and their accolytes.

    Those who can’t argue away the facts tend to try to shoot the messenger. It’s the politics of character assassination.

    That’s what the Ohio caller was doing, and it came through in the underlying tone of his post. He was not discussing, he was accusing. Two different things.

  3. Opie

    October 30, 2005 at 2:05 pm

    1. Well here’s a more detailed explanation of my take: can you find a liberal bias in the press? Yes. Can you find a conservative bias in the press? Yes. Can you find reporters who would hang any politician from either side to further their own careers? In a heartbeat. Are all reporters like this? No way.

    Post-Watergate, every administration, from either or any other party, will eventually come to see the press as adversary, and sometimes dishonestly adversary. And sometimes it will just be paranoia, and other times it will be correct.

    2. OK, show-off, you got the plug-in working.

  4. Opie

    October 30, 2005 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, by the way, you mention Seymour Hersh – have you ever read The Samson Option? It’s a little outdated by now but it was a good book.

  5. Opie

    October 30, 2005 at 4:14 pm

    And since I am having so much fun testing your new comment plugin, consider how both men in the exchange put subtle qualifiers in what they said:

    “not to get too cozy with the journalists who are for all intents and purposes their enemies.

    Without being able to hear the inflection of the sentence, I wonder if he meant to distinguish them from journalists who aren’t their enemies and therefore not imply they all were.

    “I will say as forcefully as I know how that honest reporters are not the “enemiesâ€? of any public figures other than corrupt or malfeasant ones.”

    “Honest” is a key word in that comment, when you think about it.

  6. Frank

    October 30, 2005 at 5:53 pm

    1. “Honest” is the keyword to making democratic government work.

    2. But it wasn’t the same plugin you were working on. I think this one was a lot easier.