Thursday, August 25, 2005

How Time chose our President

Salon.com - War Room
The LA Times did a long, mostly repetitive piece on Plamegate. One of the questions they chew on is how it could have happened that Rove and Libby were able to keep their roles quiet until after the election.
The answer, at least in part: Their roles remained secret because some members of the mainstream press helped to keep them secret. According to the Times' report, Time magazine's Matthew Cooper chose not to ask for a waiver of confidentiality from Rove until this summer -- in part because his attorney advised against it, and in part because "Time editors were concerned about becoming part of such an explosive story in an election year." As a result, the Times says, "Cooper's testimony was delayed nearly a year, well after Bush's reelection."

Translated, as John Aravosis explains at AMERICAblog today, that means that Time's editors didn't want Cooper to reveal information that could be damaging to Bush's re-elections hopes until after the election was over. "It's one thing for Time to do its job and ignore the effects of its reporting and overall work on US elections," Aravosis writes. "It's quite another for Time to make decisions based on whether they'll influence US elections."

In a way, it may be even worse than that. By not seeking a waiver from Rove -- by not reporting what its reporter knew to be true -- Time allowed Americans to go the polls believing that which the magazine knew to be false. Until Time turned over Matthew Cooper's email messages to Patrick Fitzgerald this July, the White House was free to proclaim -- as it did, repeatedly and vociferously -- that Karl Rove had nothing whatsoever to do with the outing of Valerie Plame. That's the false story Americans had been told when they cast their votes for the presidency in November. Time knew better but didn't say.

In our frenzy to vilify the Queen of Iraq (not that there is anything wrong with that) we may have let similar evil go unremarked. What Time did, if it was not deliberate (and thus an utterly heinous abuse of their role and status), must be viewed as one of the most spectacular acts of cowardice in decades by a major media outlet -- an act that, sadly, is being echoed in the failure of its competitors to use Time's utter dereliction as an excuse to feed on their entrails.

1 Comments:

Blogger pseudolus said...

As I recall, one of the big 3 networks did something similar in refusing to air an exposee that would have shed a bad light on Bush just weeks before the election because they were afraid of being accused of tampering with the election.

This was AFTER CBS did the story about Bush's National Guard "service" based upon the "forged" Burkett documents. What's more the story they pulled and replaced with THAT report was far more critical of Bush.

I can't remember the topic but the producers had woked for most of a year on it. Perhaps it was the Plame case?

Needless to say, there is more than enough blame to spread around the various news outlets.

It's just shameful.

6:16 PM  

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