Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Plame-gate: The Revised Standard Version

I watched the first part of this Frontline program. Color me unimpressed. They bounce from one interview to the next and skip from one idea to another. Plame-gate keeps appearing and disappearing in their narrative. The disjointed storyline allows the charges linger because the key revelations that refute them get lost in the clutter.

For instance, they never make it clear that Wilson was less than honest in describing his trip to reporters and in his famous op-ed. Nor do they pin Ambassador Joe down on his accusations that Karl Rove was the ring leader in the effort to out his wife.

The net result is that the viewer is left with the impression that “something bad happened” with pre-war intelligence. Joe Wilson knew it and said so. Then the White House “did something else bad” to Wilson’s wife in retaliation. Then great harm was done to the press and the First Amendment.

There was also the obligatory detour to Watergate and Deep Throat and the importance of anonymous sources in breaking Nixon’s cover-up.

Judith Miller was interviewed and she came across as a surprisingly sympathetic figure when she defended her reporting on WMDs.

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