Meredith Vieira: Presidential 'Pardon' of Libby
In an interview published today in the Tampa Tribune, Meredith Vieira talks about how wonderful her two jobs are, co-hosting NBC's "Today" and hosting the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." In particular, she loves the "switching gears" aspect of the stories she covers on "Today":
She says 'Today' is a great challenge 'because you can go from reporting on the presidential pardon of Scooter Libby to grilling hamburgers outside on the patio - from one kind of grilling to another - and I love that. Switching gears makes it so much fun.'
Presidential pardon? Pardon me? President Bush did not pardon Libby, he commuted his sentence. There is a huge difference between a pardon and a commutation. The felony conviction is still on his record, along with the huge fine he was ordered to pay, and he still faces the possibility of having his law license revoked. The only difference is that Libby won't have to serve jail time. And while the White House says a full pardon has not been ruled out, it hasn't happened yet.
(If you want some perspective on how freely presidential pardons and commutations have been handed out, check out this list, which runs down the numbers from the past 10 presidents.)
Sure this was just a fluff interview piece, but Vieira's slip of the tongue is indicative of the bias that so many media mavens are loathe to admit exists. And people reading this interview who might otherwise not know many details surrounding the Libby commutation flap, might take her comments at face value and think that a pardon had indeed been issued.
Either that, or Vieira just likes alliteration.