Monday, July 18, 2005

News flash: the media know Nadagate's a fantasy

I just got a chance to take a look over at LGF and noted with interest this post on an article written by Andrew McCarthy in National Review. McCarthy has read the friend-of-the-court brief authored by 36 news agencies in their attempts to save Matt Cooper and Judy Miller from jail time over their contempt of court charges. What that brief says about what the news media knows on the topic is simply stunning:

::::::::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.

You see, if you really want to know what the media think of the Plame case — if you want to discover what a comparative trifle they actually believe it to be — you need to close the paper and turn off the TV. You need, instead, to have a peek at what they write when they're talking to a court. It's a mind-bendingly different tale.

I'll say. The briefing they wrote shows that the media believes Plame was outted a decade ago and the deed was done by the CIA, not by any member of the current administration. Read the whole thing for the details, but here's my question: Why is the media acting like they don't know what they clearly knew to write that brief? And why should anyone not consider their actions and reporting on this issue to be such a clear-cut case of lying as to defy imagination?