July 27, 2003
ANOTHER CONSPIRACY THEORY....I've been emailing with Tom
Maguire quite a bit over the Valerie Plame affair, and he's made the
point to me that perhaps the media isn't really very excited about
looking into the whole thing. After all, what's in it for them to track down a leaker in the White House?
media prefers its sources to feel chatty and expansive. If one
consequence of the sort of investigation that would resolve this is a
silent White House, journalists, at least collectively, may prefer to
let this go.
I told him I didn't think much of this,
figuring that the thrill of breaking a good story was more than enough
compensation for the temporary chilling effect it might have on
Yesterday, however, Mark Kleiman, who's also been following this story closely, edged toward agreeing with Tom:
hate to endorse the MinuteMan's cynical assertion that the story won't
be covered because the people who should be covering it are too busy
sucking up to their sources and don't want to help stir up a leak hunt
when they rely on leaks for their livelihood, but that explanation is
looking better every day the Times and the Post act as if this story wasn't there.
Josh Marshall is part of the DC journalism community, I think it's time
for him to weigh in with an opinion. My theory is that getting a good
story pretty much trumps any other concern, and the relative silence on
this one has simply been because no one has managed to track anything
down. But it's been the better part of two weeks now, and it does seem a
bit peculiar that the combined forces of American journalism haven't
been able to come up with anything. How about it, Josh?
Posted by Kevin Drum at July 27, 2003 10:54 AM
Or maybe, they're afraid that there won't be much of a story once they start looking into it.
Sorry Justene. There is a story here--and it's about outing CIA agents.
If Sid Blumenthal did this, there would have been a story already and it would have been added to the impeachment counts.
Clinton didn't punish reporters the way the Bush/Rove/Cheney axis does.
Sometimes it's just that simple.
Or sometimes, you hope it is.
I think It'd be nigh on impossible for the press to track down
the leaker themselves. That would require another leak from someone in
the know (or torturing Novak into submission).
If a reporter could somehow nail the source, I wouldn't
doubt that they'd do it in a heartbeat. But merely drawing enough
attention to spur an investigation (which Schumer is already calling
for) wouldn't be "breaking" the story.
I also can't remember it being established that the leaker is in the White House.
And here I was thinking that it was their obligation to look into
this story since the ramifications are so serious. But they're afraid
of losing their leaks? So, they're okay with being good patsies when it
comes to muscling dissenters into line, but not for doing any real
work? I'm with John Stewart; they can't lose access that they don't
have. The way this story has been ignored is shameful and says all you
need to know about the WH press corps and mainstream journalism in this
I don't get the argument here.
There must be all kinds of potential sources who have already been
outraged at the suddenly uncooperative coverage the WH has been
receiving at the hands of a finally inquisitive press.
Why should the Plame affair cause more avoidant behavior in the media than, say, the 16 words?
I'm guessing the press looked into it and ran into a brick wall -- or stonewall to be more exact.
Well, David Johnson of the NY Times got several sources to discuss
the still classified Saudi section of the 9/11 report with him, so we
are still getting "good" leaks that may (or may not) affect national
security. Presumably we do not want Ashcroft to investigate those.
As to the (my? OK, my!) media "cone of silence" theory, I did say
"journalists, at least collectively" for a reason - I happen to agree
with Kevin, and said so in some earlier post, that individually, the
pull of a Pulitzer should be strong. Still, if your editor is pushing
you to work some other story...
I also have a theory about Josh Marshall, whose silence on this has been notable. I will save that.
Finally, and I say this in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I have posted contact info for people who might like to hear an expression of your concern. Reporters, Senators, ths usual suspects.
So far, we know--KNOW--that an undercover CIA agent was outed in the
press. This passes what I call the Joe Lelyveld test (see his NYRB
exchange with Blumenthal)--it's worth a story even if it's not certain
that any criminal conduct took place.
(Or, short version: That didn't stop them from blanket-covering Whitewater, did it?)
Poodle press? The poodle press be damned! They've no subpoena power.
Where is congress?
I figure they'd be more likely to avoid antagonizing sources who are career employees of the various agencies.
Losing access to a political appointee at the White House wouldn't be
as damaging as losing access to a CIA analyst or career diplomat. In a
few years, the political appointee, and all her friends, might be gone
and working in the bowels of a think tank.
I'd think the press would be interested in pursuing the White House
leaker, in order to maintain access to other leaks. After all, the White
House was clearly trying to get people to shut up.
From the point of view of the journalists, in terms of maintaining
access, it might be better for them to nail the intimidation leaker,
thus helping others feel free to leak.
And speaking of a press poodle, does anyone think that Robert Novak
would have rushed to the defense of a non-poodle journalist who
acquieced in blowing the cover of a CIA operative?
Where is Congress?
?There are enough yellow dog journalists who will chase this story.
This story went from Novak to Nation, Time Magazine, DeanforAmerica,
Newsday, New York Times, Guardian then across the country with “Schumer
It’s absolutely astonishing in this day and age that we haven’t had a
sighting of the female lead. The media for once is showing restraint.
It’s conceivable there is a second security breach in this story.
What if Mrs. Palme-Wilson’s husband was a source for journalists in the
write up of intelligence evidence gathered and the discontent among
operatives at Langley.
Retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson missed an opportunity to stifle this
story early on, he could have let it slip under the radar. A leak hunt
could derail more than a White House aide caught passing on office
scuttlebutt to Novak.
Re: Pshaw's comment What if Mrs. Palme-Wilson’s husband was a
source for journalists in the write up of intelligence evidence gathered
and the discontent among operatives at Langley.
the intelligence might be an issue...but you've got to be heck of a lot
more specific to get any traction. If you are suggesting that he is the
source for all intelligence leaks from the CIA, that defies
credulity...if you are suggesting that he may be responsible for
some...you are suggesting that we go on a fishing expedition to further
smear Wilson(which I think your "plame-wilson's husband" comment is
intended to do).
As for anycomments about discontent at Langley...why the hell is that a state secret?!
Leaking the fact that Wilson's wife is a CIA operative was part of a plan to smear Wilson. Has that happened?
When Wilson was on NOW with Bill Moyers he alluded to looking into
the legal side of that. While the press may allow it to go away it
could be that Wilson himself might take some kind of action. I hope he
I treat media conspiracy theories as weaker versions of the 'health
care companies have a cure for AIDS but won't release it because they
depend on spending for long term therapies' theories.
One of the underappreciated facets of fairly free market system is
that it does quite a bit to undercut secrecy. Even if the health care
industry as a whole would profit in the continuation of long term
treatments on AIDS, any individual scientist or any individual company
which discovered a cure would have a much larger profit/pride motivation
to go public with the cure.
Same is true with reporters. Even if it would be bad for the
industry as a whole, the rewards for an individual reporter or newspaper
more than outweigh such considerations for that particular entity.
As I recall, your publication submits your work for the Pulitzer. If
it's an article your editor didn't want you to chase in the first
place, how's that going to happen?
As to the pharmaceutical companies having the secret cure for AIDS:
First I'd have to believe they were still doing original research,
instead of cannibalizing NIH's work. It seems unlikely that NIH has
been keeping the cure a secret. (This isn't a mere Pulitzer we're
talking about, it's a Nobel!)
This is a real story. Who in the Bush White House leaked it, who
ordered it and what the consequences to Wilson's family and the
operation and the operatives involved is not yet published and indeed
the consequences is still reverberating around the world. Novak is
either one of the administrations channels for outing leaks for them, or
he was used as an unwitting go between. Joseph Wilson is having to be
very careful about what he says and is currently pursuing a law suit.
He may be able to get standing in court, but Mr. "Ashcraft" is fighting
with all the resources used to get the recount in Florida thrown out.
Sorry I had some typo's above. Check out this link:
....Do a Google search on Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV.
You will be able to find his CV/Bio in several listings...THE Middle East Institute,
THE Corporate & Public Strategy Advisory Group, The EPIC Group, are among several more.
In all of them His wife Valerie Plame is identified.
The listing below is a MONTH before the Robert Novak Leak BS.
What do you make of it all?
You have a pretty nice blog. English is not my native language but it
was please to read your site. From Russia with love :)Sincerely yours..