June 21, 2006

Media Behaving Badly > Truthout Sticks to its Crazy Guns

Last month Truthout.org (motto: "Out, out, damned truth!") published a story by Jason Leopold claiming that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgeralnd had indicted Karl Rove and would charge him within 24 hours. The "scoop" included the docket number of the sealed indictment.

When the 24 hour deadline passed without an arrest, Truthout revised their claim to 24 "business hours," whatever that is. Days went by, and Truthout apologized for the story. Then last week (a month after the apology) Karl Rove's attorney told reporters that Fitzgerald had given him a letter saying no charges would be brought against his client, making the demolition of Leopold's fantasy complete. It appeared to be over once fat's lawyer sang, but now Truthout is claiming the story is still alive.

What appears to have happened is that - and this is where Truthout blundered - in our haste to report the indictment we never considered the possibility that Patrick Fitzgerald would not make an announcement. We simply assumed - and we should not have done so - that he would tell the press. He did not. Fitzgerald appears to have used the indictment, and more importantly, the fear that it would go public, to extract information about the Plame outing case from Rove.

Yes, it does appear that Truthout was used, but not lied to or misled. The facts appear to have been accurate. We reported them, and in so doing, apparently became an instrument. From all indications, our reports, first on May 13 that Rove had been indicted, and then on June 12 when we published case number "06 cr 128," forced Rove and Luskin back to the table with Fitzgerald, not once but twice. They apparently sought to avoid public disclosure and were prepared to do what they had to do to avoid it.

So now Truthout is claiming that Rove was, in fact, indicted, but that he was forced back to the bargaining table by their revelation of the indictment. The Truthout guys are insane. The Valerie Plame story has been playing out for years. It's been in all the papers, and was an obsession among left-wing political buffs.

Yet according to Truthout, you should ignore all of the mistaken predictions they made (Rove would be indicted in 24 hours!) and believe that their little-known Web site forced Karl Rove - the GOP Dark Master of the lefty universe - to the bargaining table pleading on his knees for mercy offering to rat out Dick Cheney. How fevered would a person need to be to believe this stuff? And how stupid do Truthout's editors have to be to continue to take the word of a disgraced, drug-addicted, three-time loser like Jason Leopold? A man who wrote in his own memoir, "A scoop is a scoop. Other journalists all whine about ethics, but that's a load of crap." Truthout has already become a punchline for B.S. ("too far out in front of the news-cycle"). Now they're following Dan Rather's career trajectory by trying to save face on a bogus story.

Posted by lesjones | TrackBack

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