Frankel : The Media as Victim

I read Max Frankel's 7,800 word article on the Scooter Libby trial last night. It left a bad taste, and I didn't write about it. Marcy Wheeler has a terrific analysis of the article and what's wrong with it at Firedoglake.

However, my problem with the article was not so much Frankel's embrace of Judith Miller, but his implication that no real crime was committed and Fitzgerald should not have compelled the journalists to testify.

This wasn't a case of whistle-blowing. This was a case of Administration officials using the media to discredit a war critic by outing his CIA agent wife through allegations that his trip to Africa was the result of nepotism and therefore his findings on that trip were not worthy of belief.

Since when are perjury and obstruction of justice not really crimes?

Max Frankel disappoints with this article.

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    You are very nice (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 07:54:02 PM EST
    The column is an embarrassment of ignorance, elitism and arrogance.

    Max Frankel should be ashamed of himself.

    I say that as a Media lawyer who has often argued for maintaining the confidentiality of sources.

    The principle remains sound. The DC Appellate court opinion a travesty.

    But it is Judith Miller's fault that this important principle has been sullied.

    She is a disgrace. And Max Frankel disgraced himself with this column.

    This passage undermines the entire piece (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 07:59:15 PM EST
    "Libby's reasonable expectation that reporters would keep his confidences -- and protect his perjury -- was foiled by some weird mishaps and finally by the shrewd maneuvers of a passionate and politically independent prosecutor. "

    Never should the shield be allowed to be used for such nefarious purposes. Journalists must insist that PERJURY not be what the shield defends.

    Other selfish motives can be justified. Not that.

    Libby could have refused to testify. He should have. Or admitted it. Either way. But to use the reporters' privilege as a perjury shield is simply over the line.


    And this (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:03:58 PM EST
    "The final allure of the Libby trial was the hope that Fitzgerald had fully solved the underlying mystery that plagued the capital for four years: Who outed Valerie Plame?"

    What mystery? It was Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage. Everyone knew this. That Armitage did it as well as Libby was no mystery.

    Anyone with a brain knew this. Novak's column gave it away. A "non-partisan" he wrote. Obviously it was Armitage, especially after Woodward admitted his deception.

    The difference of course was Armitage came clean.


    And this (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:07:35 PM EST
    "Woodward held the anecdote for possible follow-up questions and mentioned it to his Post colleague Walter Pincus, who did nothing with it."

    Pincus flatly denied this. Frankel writes it as truth.

    The circumstantial evidence strongly supports Pincus.


    And this (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:11:31 PM EST
    "On Tuesday, July 8, in what his normally detailed calendar listed only as a "private meeting," Libby spent two hours at breakfast with Judith Miller to enlist her help in countering Wilson's attack. He told the grand jury that he admired her reporting, on Al Qaeda and chemical and biological weapons, and presumably also her prewar articles lending credence to the administration's wild alarms about Iraqi W.M.D.'s -- credulous articles that The Times eventually disowned."

    Frankel utterly ihnores the June 20 disclosure by Libby TO MILLER of this classified information.

    Why? Ignorance.


    More ignorance (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:18:19 PM EST
    Knowing of Armitage's role, why didn't Fitzgerald fold his tent and return at once to his "day job" as U.S. attorney in Chicago? Because Libby's already evident lies to the F.B.I. and Fleischer's multiple leaks in far-off Uganda convinced him that there had been more than a single careless source. He smelled an illegal White House smear campaign and thought Libby could help him crack the case. And if Libby persisted in his story before the grand jury, he would at least have a perjury case -- if, against all precedent, he could force reporters to testify.

    Against all precedent? I wish. My job would be a breeze. The precedent is largely the other way.


    BTD (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 26, 2007 at 08:36:15 AM EST
    Other selfish motives can be justified. Not that.

    Thanks for noting that the use of leaks by unattributed sources with a political position that is the same as the reporter is understood and approved of by the reporter, and evidently, you.

    Selfishness is such a wonderful personality trait to defend.

    What is missing are the questions:

    Is the leak accurate?

    Is the reporter using their employer to help their political "friends?"

    Does the reporter really have a constitiutional right to do such things when they are self-serving?


    7800 pages? (none / 0) (#5)
    by rdandrea on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:07:50 PM EST
    Or 7800 words?  Because if it's the former, I'm gonna pass and let myself get screwed.

    I know, bad attitude. But 7800 pages?  Life is too short.

    Obviously words (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:11:52 PM EST
    That's not what it says. (none / 0) (#9)
    by rdandrea on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:20:15 PM EST
    Maybe I'm too trusting of what I read.

    His own audience (none / 0) (#10)
    by MPhilip on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:40:07 PM EST
    Altohugh his artile may be public, it is directed to a narrow slice of members of the media and those who support officials leaking anything they can print.  

    And when he takes his 50 whacks from places like this, it helps build his credentials amongst the so-called media elites and those who support overturning Libby's mark.

    And so it goes.

    Lessons Learned (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 09:03:46 PM EST
    It relates to when the times went against Israeli policies and all the department stores cancelled their ads. The NYT almost went bankrupt, so now it is business first.