Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On Karl Rove and the "Talking Point"

It's fascinating, sort of, reading the news today about the latest on Karl Rove. The question that all journalists are now discussing is whether or not the White House will succeed in its effort to "spin away" Karl Rove's admitted culpability in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name to the press after Joseph Wilson first wrote about the falsity of Bush's claims that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger. The Globe and Mail quoted Ex-Repub Marshall Wittman saying:
"Short of a criminal indictment, Rove is not going anywhere....For Bush to get rid of Rove would be like Charlie McCarthy firing Edgar Bergen."
Meanwhile, while the Whitehouse talks about knowing/not knowing, some are actually digging. As people reading The Washington Note and Washington Monthly are suggesting, this is beginning to look more and more like a complicated conspiracy, and that Plame's name and CIA status were being leaked as a "talking point" by the Bush white-house.
But the question that remains central still is - will THIS crime finally be the one that "gets" the Whitehouse? Alternet's Evan Derkacz had a nice story on the meaning of Rove's actions which have a sort of "here's your talking point" focus.

What's so fascinating to me about watching the discussion of what the effect of this evidence will be is the way that so many reporters are presenting their role in all this as "observers" of something over which they themselves have little control, sort of like when they're watching "the horse race" of the presidential election. They seem to have adopted the position that Rove won't really be guilty until the administration says so, and already the mainstream Television and print media sources are printing Republican spin, not to cover Republican spin, but to provide it as a viable analysis of what happened. Contrast their coverage of the Sandy Berger document-in-the-sock scandal. As "Media Matters" notes, the media is, as usual, putting Republican mouthpieces on TV as if they're politically neutral experts.
Journalists should get out of their false naivete and admit it, the answer to the question of whether or not the Republican spin will succeed has a lot to do with them. I wonder if they'll do to this smoking gun what they did with the Downing Street Memo, first claim it's not true, then claim they knew it and reported on it when it first happened. oy, I guess that's the media's spin to explain its own complete failure to act as a public information service instead of as a wing of the current administration.

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