Libby Verdict: Armitage-less Evening News Report Points Finger at Bush Administration

Avuncular he might be, but Bob Schieffer can sling Dem spin like a Shrum.

Appearing on the CBS Evening News to comment on the Libby verdict, not only did Katie Couric's predecessor in the anchor chair paint things in the grimmest possible terms for Vice-President Cheney, he took things an unsolicited step further. Katie Couric asked Schieffer "how badly does this reflect on Mr. Cheney in your view?"

Schieffer: "Very badly, and it's hard to conclude otherwise."

View video here.

Schieffer acknowledged that: "The prosecutor did not prove any underlying crime here."

Right. For the simple fact that there was no underlying crime. If there is one fact that is undisputed, and undisputable, it is that neither Libby nor VP Cheney nor anyone in the White House first leaked Valerie Plame's identity. It was good old Richard Armitage over at the State Department. But Schieffer never mentioned that. He plowed ahead with his personal indictment:

"But [the prosecutor] convinced this jury that Scooter Libby lied. Well you have to ask why would he lie? Clearly because he did not want what was going on in his office and the Vice-President's office where he worked to come out. He was talking to the Vice-President, he was getting memos from the Vice-President, he was saying this and that and trying to work with the Vice-President. So there are a lot of fingers pointing tonight at Dick Cheney."

Schieffer wasn't content to point the finger at the Veep: "I think this is not only going to hurt the Vice-President, Katie. I think it's going to hurt the administration because it's going to raise new questions about their credibility when they already have more questions on their plate than they can really handle right now."

Let's review: Schieffer admits that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald didn't prove any underlying crime. Schieffer failed to mention that the prosecutor didn't even try to do so for the indisputable reason that Lewis Libby had not committed any underlying crime. He had not outed Valerie Plame. Richard Armitage did. So what was the sin in Schieffer's eyes? That Libby "was talking," "getting memos" and "trying to work with the Vice-President." Well, yes. That's what a Vice-President's chief of staff tends to do, after all. To claim, without citing a single damning fact, not only that this is going to hurt the Vice-President "very badly," but that the harm will extend to the Bush administration at large, smacks of a smear.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.