Broder Faces Liberal Wrath for Declaring Press Should Apologize to Rove

During today's Live Discussion at WashingtonPost.com, columnist David Broder took heat from liberal readers who asked him to explain why he said the press should apologize to Karl Rove for the stink it made over the non-issue of Valerie Plame.

It's remarkable how overwhelmingly liberal the questions are that make it to Broder's attention, but perhaps conservatives readers have given up on the Washington Post.

Washington, D.C.: Mr Broder, if you feel Karl Rove is owed an apology from the pundits and writers over Valerie Plame, did you also call for an apology to the Clintons after Ken Starr, the Whitewater investigation and the failed attempt to impeach President Clinton? If not, why not?

David S. Broder: As best, I can recall,I did not call for such an apology. My view, for whatever it is worth long after the dust has settled on Monica, was that when President Clinton admitted he had lied to his Cabinet and his closest assoc, to say nothing of the public, that the honorable thing was for him to have resigned and turned over the office to Vice President Gore. I think history would have been very different had he done that.

Ontario, Calif.: David,

You recently took the position that the media owe Karl Rove an apology for buying into left-wing conspiracy theories instead of sticking to the facts in their reporting on the outing of Valerie Plame? Is this a view commonly held by other Post reporters? Do you think the media in general shares your opinion on this?

Thanks for the discussion.

Thanks again.

David S. Broder: I don't know the answer to either question. I have not canvassed my Post colleagues and I certainly can't guess about the broader population of Washington reporters. I can tell you that most of the e-mails I received were critical of my position.

Rochester, N.Y.: I'll be impressed if you take this one...

Mr. Broder, you recently argued that many in the media owed Karl Rove an apology, because we now know that the worst Mr. Rove might have done in the Valerie Plame case was to have misled prosecutors about a deed that was not itself a crime. If you feel this way now, then why were you so critical of Bill Clinton for misleading lawyers about a deed that was not itself a crime? Or do you now feel you owe Bill Clinton an apology? If not, then why not?

David S. Broder: We return a second time to President Clinton. What bothered me greatly about his actions wwas not what he said to his lawyers but what he told the Cabinet, his White House staff--You can go out and defend me becauyse this did not happen. And he told the sam,e lie to the American people. When a president loses his credibility, he loses an important tool for governing--and that is why I thought he should step down.

Ann Arbor, Mich.: "by some parts of the press that Rove had masterminded a plot to expose Plame and discredit her husband has fallen apart with the disclosure that Mr. Armitage, no tool of the White House, is the man who set the whole thing in motion. "

You are wrong. What about Cheney's little annotated column? What about the comments to Chris Matthews that the Wilson's were 'fair game' and 'they were trying to screw the WH so we're going to screw them right back." What about the reporting that the OVP was pushing this info to six different reporters?

David S. Broder: Conspiracy theories die hard, don't they? If it comforts you to believe this was all masterminded by the White House, be my guest. Anyone who knows Dick Armitage would think otherwise.

Washington, D.C.: I can't imagine that reporters enjoy doing these chats. Is it something that The Post strongly encourages?

David S. Broder: This reporter really enjoys these chats--including the messages from people who have strongly critical views. And yes, the Post does encourage us to do them. But they don't have to twist arms.