Sunday, July 17, 2005

Smoke, Mirrors, Presto Change-o

Ah, even Frank Rich is starting to get it right. How long before the rest of the mainstream media gets on board?

"We shouldn't get hung up on [Karl Rove] - or on most of the other supposed leading figures in this scandal thus far. Not Matt Cooper or Judy Miller or the Wilsons or the bad guy everyone loves to hate, the former CNN star Robert Novak. This scandal is not about them in the end, any more than Watergate was about Dwight Chapin and Donald Segretti or Woodward and Bernstein. It is about the president of the United States. It is about a plot that was hatched at the top of the administration and in which everyone else, Mr. Rove included, are at most secondary players.

"This scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair."


And here's Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee on Tim Russert's roundtable softball tournament trying to make it about Rove and Wilson, and Timmy Boy helping him out.

And here's Joe Podesta of Center for American Progress, trying to bring the discussion back to the main point--the warping of intelligence on Iraq. "They want us to be talking about Wilson" in order to mask the real issue, he says.

And here's Little Russ bringing the discussion back to Rove and Wilson and McClellan, and helping Mehlman hammer the Dems for being such a bunch of big old partisan meanies.

And here's Tim lobbing Mehlman a straight line that lets Mehlman point out the good news: last year's deficit was only $300 billion. Mission accomplished!

The Dems really ought to stop going on Russert's show.


But back to the chase: Carl Bernstein's now trying to get back to the WMD issue, and the "switchblade" mentality of the White House.

Tim's steering him back into source confidentiality. Tapes of Woodward talking to Felt. Substance is melting.

Pictures of old man Felt.

Talk about Felt.

More talk about Felt.

Oh, well. Maybe Schieffer will get things back on topic.

But I'm not counting on it.

"What to do about Karl Rove?" Shieffer says in the pre-show promo. Looks like I have to watch.

Wilson's on, and we're back to who should be fired or who should apologize. Blah, blah, blah. Was she undercover, was she not?

Oh, now Roy Blunt says the CIA was overzealous, over classified Plame's role. Glub, glub, glub.

Smoke, mirrors, presto change-o.

Ah, Shieffer asks Blunt what Rove was trying to do. Ah, Rove was trying to wave Cooper off an inaccurate story...

Wilson's arguing whether he actually said Cheney sent him. (DOESN'T MATTER, DAMMIT!)

Shieffer asks if Karl Rove deserves an apology. C'mon, Bob!


Press and Nation, just two more walls in the echo chamber.


  1. I missed MTP. But, I caught the tail end of Shieffer, and I thought he did a rather good job of trying to keep the GOP Majority Whip (I forget his name...) focused on the point. Although, like Russert, Shieffer seemed more interested in the microcosm of Rove et al than he was about the big picture.

  2. That's how I saw it, Kevin. I guess my point is that Shieffer, Russert, etal are letting the GOP types mire them in the minutae. (Which is precisely the GOP strategy).


  3. I enjoyed reading this, Jeff. Reminds me of that website that has the motto, "We watch Fox News so you don't have to."

  4. The skunk without the smell, eh?

  5. Jeff, I don't disagree with that assessment at all. However, I think there is a minor case to be made for the journalists job being somewhat difficult. The Rove stuff is something which they can harp on with relative safety, politically. Talking about the Big Picture, which Bernstein tried to do (I caught a rerun of MTP a bit ago) would be politically dicey. Not directly, of course. The Rovian machine would put pressure on the executives at CBS and NBC, rather than on the respective news departments. And we know that CBS at least has a track record of backing down when confronted with a lockstep rightwing assault.

    None of that excuses the timidity of the MSM, of course. ROVE et al have done a masterful job of cowing the media. And it really reflects badly on the professionalism of the media that they are so afraid to ask the tough questions.

  6. Rich has "had it right" for a long time now. Like many of us, he gave Bush the benefit of the doubt after 9/11. He soon realized that his trust was not well placed.

    Rich is perhaps the greatest columnist in America right now.

  7. Kev, Doug, Carla, thanks for stopping by.

    Listening to Russert on Imus right now. He's still wrapped around the trivia. Imus is wrapped up in it to. (IT DOESN"T MATTER WHO WANTED WILSON TO GO!)

    Timidity of the MSM indeed. We have a real probolem.