What with the mini-hullabaloo about what may or may not be Karl Rove’s pseudo-anonymous leak to Robert Novak in July about the positive identification of a CIA official (thereby violating federal law), the press is yet again in a flurry! A tizzy! Law-breaking administration officials — scandal!
Well, rest assured this scandal will go the way of missing WMD’s and budget deficits and under-funded education legislation. The President’s press secretary, Scott McClellan, stated today that an investigation will ensue if the administration happens to come across any more information regarding the leaks. This information, of course, won’t come from up on high, as this excerpted info indicates:
“Q (The President) does not know whether or not the classified information was divulged here, and he’s only getting his information from the media?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, we don’t know — we don’t have any information that’s been brought to our attention beyond what we’ve seen in the media reports.”
Well, if what Bush knows is confined to what appears in media coverage, it might help to take the President’s news-gathering habits into account, as per last week’s interview with Brit Hume from Fox News:
“HUME: How do you get your news?
BUSH: I get briefed by Andy Card and Condi in the morning. They come in and tell me…I glance at the headlines just to kind of a flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves.”
How do you like those odds of there being an independent counsel to investigate this matter?
In this post-Inside.com world of media criticism, scoops are few and far between. Unless you’re >Slate‘s ineffably muckraking media crit Jack Shafer!
Shafer, who lost the magazine’s editorial stewardship to Jacob Weisberg when Michael Kinsley stepped down last year, has now posted two uber-niche media navelgazing pieces in consecutive weeks…starting with last week’s ill-conceived, contrarian-for-contrarian’s sake dismissal of “public” or “civil journalism” (which in and of itself isn’t the obscenely I.F. Stone-centric idea that Shafer makes it out to be) and culminating with today’s front-page featured article, The Rat of Baghdad – Who tattled on New York Times reporter John F. Burns to the Iraqi ministry of information?
Within, we get a sanctimonious dissection of one anonymous reporter’s “outing” of the Times’ John Burns and his criticism of Saddam Hussein to the tyrant himself. The issue? “(B)y performing his comparative literature review with the Iraqi ministry using Burns’ copy, did the unnamed American correspondent end up taunting the ministry for allowing Burns to write so damagingly? Did the unnamed American correspondent’s comparison draw an extra set of crosshairs on Burns’ forehead and put him in even greater peril? Did the unnamed correspondent encourage the Iraqis to further play one foreign correspondent off the other?”
Wow, first Daniel Pearl, and then Jayson Blair, and then…Burnsgate! Let’s hear it for (over-)reactionary New York-based self-absorption! Scoop on, Shafer!
We eagerly await the onslaught of frontpage media-crit controversies on the U.S. coalition’s shooting death of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana or the Army’s cannon-fodder treatment of journalists in Baghdad’s Palestine hotel or the American-led interim Iraqi government’s banning of Arabic satellite television networks such as Al-Jazeera.
Wait. Maybe those stories already got their token half-day of coverage?
He didn’t pay good money for a medical degree for some TV critic to keep calling him “Mr.”
Coming soon to your mailbox: Personally signed “I’m sorry for lying about the Iraq-9/11 connection” greeting cards from one very apologetic Texan.