9.01.2006

Goodbye Joe Wilson

This Editorial from the Washington Post sufficiently brings to an end any curiosity I may have had about the whole "outing" of Valerie Plame. Actually, I've not been able to care for some time now, but obviously some people do, so to that end read on:

WE'RE RELUCTANT to return to the subject of former CIA employee Valerie Plame because of our oft-stated belief that far too much attention and debate in Washington has been devoted to her story and that of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, over the past three years. But all those who have opined on this affair ought to take note of the not-so-surprising disclosure that the primary source of the newspaper column in which Ms. Plame's cover as an agent was purportedly blown in 2003 was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage.
...
Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

If you're still interested, Christopher Hitchens has a similarly themed roundup of the absurdity that is/was the Wilson/Plame business.

6 comments:

Andrew said...

This is a good Editorial. However it would have been a great editorial if it would have been written say nearly three years ago when the paper first had access to the Armitage information (Woodward, who got the info from Armitage around the same time as Novak, is a WashPo employee). Great journalism is reporting the truth in a timely manner. Good journalism is belatedly pulling a CYA move such as this one to awkwardly jump over to the editorially correct side of an issue. Then there’s the crap journalism of the good soldiers at the NYTimes that will ride their ideology down beneath the waves every time.

Andrew said...

Oops for got the link for my snide NYTimes bashing close.

Link validating snide comment.

Ben said...

I would agree that this Editorial is rather belated. Three years is a long time in the "news" and it's allowed the wrong impression to fester. What bothers me is that in my sense of journalism, an Editorial is meant to synthesize information that's out in the open into a coherent thought. This piece sort of does that, but it rings hollow. Aside from some folks like Hitchens, a thorough discrediting of this case hasn't happened. It seems odd that this Ed. is published only after a book about the same subject comes out. That books co-author, Michael Isikoff, also works for the Post via Newsweek.

Aside from that, I'm wondering why, exactly, the NYT article is an example of crap journalism. If I were to guess, it would be because it retreads the same rationale for this investigation that was hypothesized 3 years ago. I.e., Plame is the victim of White House pushback instead of being the victim of her husbands questionable reasoning skills. Beyond that, the NYT article makes many of the elements mentioned in the WaPo Editorial more clear, but without making the leap that Joe Wilson is an idiot. It would be ok to me if this leap was made in another article, but I'm annoyed that it isn't alluded to. Given what else appears in the article, it's reasonable to cast doubt on the guy.

I should re-iterate that I don't care about Joe Wilson, but I'm not convinced that this NYT article quite lives up to crap journalism (while others most certainly do).

Andrew said...

Like the Duke case I griped about earlier the Times article attempts to cultivate a meretricious appearance of balance by addressing new questions surrounding the Plame investigation but never really address the questions most damaging to their desired outcome. What the WashPo editorial and the Hitchen’s commentary essentially reveal is that the entire Plame investigation was a farce from day 1 and no one should have been more keenly aware of this than Fitzgerald. Yet even when containing the following statement revealing that the true culprit immediately came forward on their own accord the article never once seeks to examine the very basis for continuing the investigation for 2 years.

Mr. Armitage cooperated voluntarily in the case, never hired a lawyer and testified several times to the grand jury, according to people who are familiar with his role and actions in the case. He turned over his calendars, datebooks and even his wife’s computer in the course of the inquiry, those associates said.

No the Time’s most challenging questioning of Fitzgerald’s investigation are left to unnamed administration “critics” immediately followed up by a comforting reminder that it’s still possible that the Bush administration was up to no good. Total crap.

Andrew said...

Well it looks like at least one self-aware soul at the NYTimes knows crap reporting when the see it and came to a similar conclusion today about the Armitage revelation – asking why the investigation dragged on for 2 years after immediately knowing who did the deed as well as demanding Fitzgerald immediately show his hand. Perhaps the writer leaves the door open to further Bush officials being implicated than reality allows, but then I have no insight on the disillusionment of a Fitzmas that will never come. Ahh the memories….

Andrew said...

Links above that blogger broke:
1.) www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/opinion/06wed2.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
2.) www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/10/18/154648/93
3.) time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/05/fitzgerald_libb.html