Getting it wrong
The Washington Post, in its two news stories yesterday on President Bush’s commuting the 30-month prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., referred to a “Democratic outcry” and “an avalanche of criticism.”
However, the seven staffers listed in the Home Edition as having worked on the articles apparently were unable to find anything to back this up. The only Democrats quoted — besides former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame — were presidential candidate and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and House Judiciary Committee ChairmanRep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan.
Not only that, the newspaper said that “all but a few Republicans were conspicuously silent” and that “congressional Republicans seemed muted in their defense of the president.” Once again, the newspaper seemed to make an assertion without any evidence.
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri was the only Republican official quoted, but the newspaper failed to mention that Congress is out of town for the July Fourth holiday and that the White House made its announcement late in the day. That probably explains why The Post reporters could find neither “an avalanche of criticism” nor, apparently, more than one Republican congressman to comment. (Former Sen.Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, former Sen.Fred Thompson of Tennessee, former Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota and Weekly Standard editorWilliam Kristol, all Republicans, were quoted and none of them sound “muted.”)
Finally, one of the articles said, “Prosecutors convinced the jury that Libby deliberately obscured his role in a White House campaign in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war began, to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.”
This assertion of “a White House campaign” against Mr. Wilson and his wife was nicely rebutted in one of this nation’s most prestigious newspapers: “Mr. Libby’s trial provided convincing evidence that the revelation of Ms. Plame’s identity was not the result of a conspiracy to punish her husband, administration critic Joseph C. Wilson IV — the allegation that caused all the partisan furor surrounding the case and that led to [special prosecutor Patrick J.] Fitzgerald’s appointment.”
Keith Olbermann’s anti-Bush obsession erupted in full force Monday night, as the MSNBC “Countdown” host dubbed President Bush “Worst Person in the World” for his commutation of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr.’s 30-month prison sentence.
Mr. Olbermann opened his show thus: “A president who lied us into a war and, in so doing, needlessly killed 3,584 of our family and friends and neighbors; a president whose administration initially tried to destroy the first man to nail that lie; a president whose henchmen then ruined the career of the intelligence asset that was his wife when intelligence assets were never more essential to the viability of the republic; a president like that has tonight freed from the prospect of prison the only man ever to come to trial for one of the component felonies in what may be the greatest crime of this young century.”
Mr. Olbermann said the president made the commutation “gutlessly by press release … buried it on the Monday of the longest Fourth of July weekend possible, and … in so doing, forfeited his claim to being president of anything larger than a small, privileged, elitist, undemocratic, anti-constitutional cabal.”
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By Andrew P. Napolitano
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