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Thursday, July 14, 2005

MSM Obsesses on Rove/Plame While Journalist Paul Klebnikov's Murder(s) Walk Free; Anybody Remember Don Bolles?

And the MSM wonders why its public standing is plummeting? Consider these two items from this morning's postings on the Blogosphere.

First, RedState.org's Clayton Wagar ends the discussion of whether Karl Rove or any reporter - much less Judith Miller, Matt Cooper or columnist Robert Novak - could have violated the law by noting CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame's employer two years ago. The answer is, as I and many others in the Blogosphere have argued, no, they did not because the law requires that the CIAer being outed be in an undercover position, the government be attempting to keep that fact secret and the offender knowingly acting to out the CIAer.

But what about Plame? Was she in such an undercover position in 2003 when Novak published the fact she recommended her husband, Kerry advisor Joe Wilson, who was then a Clinton administration holdover in the Bush White House, for a trip to Niger to determine whether Saddam Hussein tried to obtain materials there needed for his WMD program?

Wagar has the definitive evidence from liberal blogger Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo that Plame was not undercover:

"Yet we need only go right back to TPM itself to see that Plame was brought back from overseas in the late 90's because she may have been compromised by Aldrich Ames. Heck if you just Google 'Aldrich Ames Plame' you'll see plenty of blog posts, Wikipedia, et. al. discussing this."

No wonder Plame had no fear of appearing on the cover Vanity Fair with Wilson! Thus the controlling fact of the Plame contretemps is that the law could not have been broken. Yet the MSM, especially the White House press corps, is on Double-Double-Super-Extreme-HerdThink-Obsession on the Rove angle of the controversy.

Wagar has more, which you can read here.

Second, Paul Klebnikov was Founding Editor of Forbes Russia when he was shot 10 times at close range and died on a Moscow street July 9, 2004. To this day, his murderer (s) has not been identified or brought to justice. Klebnikov had written news articles and several books detailing the vast corruption that permeates Russian society, as well as the influence of the Russian mob. It seems reasonable to assume his death has some connection to somebody who didn't like what he was reporting, or what they feared he might report.

But when was the last time you read anything in the MSM about Klebnikov, asks Democracy Project's Win Myers? Unless you happen to have seen The Wall Street Journal's piece reporting the July 9 launch of Project Klebnikov, you haven't seen much of anything about this journalist's murder or the investigation by Russian officials presumably seeking to find his killer (s).

Notes Myers:

"Given the extraordinarily poor performance of the White House press corps and their petulant, even amateurish efforts to bring down Karl Rove (and, therefore, the President) over a non-issue (see yesterday's WSJ editorial on this matter), it's important to remember that not all journalists are so petty and self-important. For those working in Russia, investigative reporting of the kind that uncovers facts can be a lethal game. Let's hope that Paul Klebnikov's colleagues get to the bottom of this case, and that the phrase "Russian civil society" rings less hollow in the years ahead."

Klebnikov's tragic case reminds me of the Don Bolles murder in Arizona in 1976. Bolles was blown up when he started his car outside a Phoenix hotel to which he had been summoned by a source claiming to have information on real estate fraud, an issue the Arizona Republic journalist was actively covering. The source never showed up. Bolles lingered for 10 agonizing days before passing away.

Bolles was a member of a small organization, Investigative Reporters & Editors. Following his death, IRE organized The Arizona Project, which pooled the resources of various news organizations in an investigation of the corruption that would lead to the murder of a journalist in broad daylight on a public street in a major American city. You can read the rest of the Bolles story here. (Full Disclosure: I am a long-time IRE member).

Now, if Karl Rove couldn't have broken the law in the Plame contretemps, shouldn't the MSM stop obsessing about it and start devoting itself to something much more clearly linked to the health of the journalism profession? Like demanding justice for Paul Klebnikov's murder (s)? Yes, it's terrible that Judith Miller of The New York Times is in jail. She made a promise to a source and she is standing by her promise. She is acting honorably. I admire her immensely. In the final analysis, I believe she will be vindicated.

How long will the MSM remain silent about Paul Klebnikov?

UPDATE:
More fine work at RedState.org, this time by Leon H, who provides an excellent guide for the confused (i.e. me and most everybody else who is either not employed by the Special Prosecutor or any of the attorneys for the main characters in this drama, or is not Victoria Toensig who helped write the Agee Act and explained it clearly and concisely earlier today on FOX News) with his 13 statements about the controversy and a handy summary of where things stand on each statement.

Anybody have the video of the Toensig interview? I cannot find it on the FOX web site.