The right-wing apologists in the press have launched a virtual Pardon-palooza on behalf of their favorite former hill staffer, Scooter Libby. You only have to read to the second paragraph of Howard Kurtz’ column in the Washington Post to understand the level of criminality in the DC press corps:
“When Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff and other top administration officials wanted to neutralize a critic by disclosing his wife’s role at the CIA, they turned to some of the capital’s most prominent chroniclers, who — under longstanding local custom — promised the leakers anonymity.”
Since when is it the role of reporters to accommodate political assassins by publishing their attacks and promising them anonymity? The journalist’s obligation to protect a source was meant to shield whistleblowers who risked retribution from a powerful government that would prefer to keep its wrongdoing secret. It was not meant to shield dirty tricksters within government who want to harm their political rivals.
Now that a jury has convicted Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice, many in the media are still rising to his defense. The arguments trace a perverse logic that insists that, although there never was a leak, Libby wasn’t the leaker. Kate O’Bierne told Chris Matthews that the difference between Bill Clinton’s perjury and Libby’s, was that Clinton confessed. Libby, therefore, should be pardoned because he was convicted against his will (unlike every other felon).
O’Bierne is not the only loose-screwed advocate of a pardon for Libby. Editorials in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and the National Review are also pro-impunity.
In the Wall Street Journal’s tortured logic, Libby is only guilty of being too honest:
“…he has been convicted of telling the truth about Mr. Wilson and Ms. Plame to some reporters but then not owning up to it.”
Note to WSJ: “Not owning up” to the FBI and the grand jury is a felony! The Journal also suggests that there would have been no case if only Libby had said that he didn’t recall his conversations with reporters. In other words, the Journal believes Libby’s problem is that he didn’t tell the right lies. Either way, the Journal just made two arguments advocating perjury.
The New York Post headline screams, “Free Scooter Libby.” But they don’t appear to know from what he should be freed:
“Despite the jury’s guilty verdict yesterday on four of five counts, it’s fair to say that Fitzgerald added nothing to what was well known about the question that ostensibly prompted this probe in the first place: Who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s name…”
Note to NYP: Perhaps the reason that nothing was added to what was known is that the defendant was lying and obstructing justice – for which he was convicted. This trial was not about who leaked Plame’s name, anyway. It was about Libby lying during the investigation.
The National Review finds new places to point the finger:
“A good man has paid a very heavy price for the Left’s fevers, the media’s scandal-mongering, and President Bush’s failure to unify his own administration.”
Note to NR: A good man would not have lied to investigators; would not have covered up political hit jobs; would not have sabotaged the career of a patriotic CIA operative just to discredit her husband, a political foe. And it wasn’t the left or the media that made him do those things, although it might have been President Bush.
It should come as no surprise that these papers and pundits, who now solicit forgiveness for Libby, have long championed his efforts to slime Joe Wilson and his family. Driven by a desire to justify a disastrous and unnecessary war, they now seek to award their loyal servant a get out of jail free card. My guess would be that he gets it. Because if there’s one thing these people are consistent about, it’s hypocrisy. But if justice is ever truly served, they will be bunking with Libby at Leavenworth.