Even though conservative columnist Robert Novak was talked about and attacked many times on MSNBC's Countdown show -- especially as host Keith Olbermann frequently devoted time to the Valerie Plame case -- the MSNBC host did not take time this week to report on Novak's passing. In fact, even though he reported on Novak's hit-and-run car accident last year just before Novak's brain cancer diagnosis and portrayed him negatively, Olbermann never revisited the story to inform viewers that his illness was the likely cause of the conservative columnist's erratic behavior.
And when Olbermann launched his Countdown show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment on June 30, 2005, the very first recipient of the number one "Worst Person" dishonor was Novak, because of his role in the Valerie Plame leak case, even though the story at that point was two years old. Olbermann: "We still know what you did last summer. Well, summer before last summer." His dislike of Novak was so great, that Olbermann even included him again in the next night's "Worst Person" segment -- in the number two position -- calling him a "holdover."
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, after discussing Scott McClellan's views on invading Iraq with FNC contributor Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly turned the discussion to McClellan's comments on Rove's role in the CIA leak probe. Rove complained that while the media were obsessed with him during the investigation, Richard Armitage, who was the actual leaker, was virtually ignored, and argued that if Armitage had publicly admitted earlier that he had leaked Valerie Plame's identity, "this would have all gone away. You'll notice when it came out that Richard Armitage was the source of the leak, the media rapidly lost attention." Rove also accused Joe Wilson of making untrue claims about his trip to Niger.
After playing a clip of McClellan from his Today show interview in which he complained that Rove and Scooter Libby had claimed they were not involved in the leak, Rove contended that it was Armitage who leaked Plame's identity: "The identity of Valerie Plame was leaked to Robert Novak by Richard Armitage. What I told Scott was I didn't know her name, didn't reveal her name, didn't reveal, didn't know what she did at the CIA, and that I wasn't the source for the leak." (Transcript follows)
For years now, Valerie Plame has been the toast of the liberal glitterati, a celebrated combat specialist against the Vast Bush Conspiracy. Every move the former CIA employee has made has oozed political and commercial calculation. She struck a book deal with Simon & Schuster worth more than $2 million. She struck a movie deal based on the book deal with Warner Brothers for millions more, so she can be played as a patriotic heroine on the silver screen by Nicole Kidman or Naomi Watts. How many millions more? Two million? Five million? Don’t wait for the media to ask. They're too busy playing her as victimized.
In the Clinton years, any opponent in a Clinton scandal was assumed to be overwhelmed with greed, desperate to get an agent and make millions with lies about the president, to sell "trash for cash." Since she's been encouraged to wage political war by Hillary Clinton, none of these assumptions have been applied to Valerie Plame, or her husband, Joe Wilson. Here’s a rundown of the Plame interviews and the number of questions about the Wilsons making millions:
Valerie Plame (wife of serial anti-war misleader Joe Wilson) has just published "Fair Game," the biography of her life before and after columnist Robert Novak "outed" her as a "CIA operative" in a column in 2003, starting a domino effect that made her and her husband heroes of the antiwar movement and the media, including the New York Times.
Times critic Janet Maslin's review Monday neither questioned Plame's story nor raised a single inconvenient truth.
"Needless to say, the story of how her career was derailed and her C.I.A. cover blown also has its combative side. But the real proof of Ms. Wilson's fighting spirit is the form in which her version of events has been brought into the light of day. 'Anyone not living in a cave for the last few years knew I had a career at the C.I.A.,' writes Ms. Wilson (who has gone by that name since she married former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in 1998). Once that career was destroyed, she wrote this account of her experiences as a means of both supporting herself and settling scores. She was contractually obligated to submit a draft of the book to the Central Intelligence Agency's Publications Review Board. That draft came back heavily expurgated. She was then expected to rewrite her book so that it made sense despite many deletions."
Both CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric and "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith portrayed Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, as innocent victims, even though Plame admitted to being "partisan" in a "60 Minutes" interview with Couric on Sunday.
On Friday’s "Early Show," Smith opened a segment previewing the upcoming interview by explaining that, "Valerie Plame spent nearly 20 years in the shadows of the CIA. Then suddenly, she became a public figure." He later played a clip of the interview in which Couric exclaimed how "18 years of meticulously crafted cover were gone in an instant." Strangely there was no mention of the "Vanity Fair" photo op that Plame and her husband posed for, which Couric asked about in the "60 Minutes" interview:
The saying goes, if you tell a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it.
Such is the case with Valerie Plame. In reporting about Plame's setback in publishing her memoirs (a judge ruled she cannot include the dates of her employment with the CIA as they have not been declassified), Reuters says the following:
The ex-spy whose unmasking led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide cannot disclose the dates she worked for the CIA because the details were never declassified, a federal judge has ruled.
The decision, made public on Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, was a victory for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which sought to block former agent Valerie Plame Wilson from including the dates in her upcoming memoir, "Fair Game."