Thursday, March 08, 2007
Freedom of Libel
The Scooter Libby trial is over, but the spin continues. I am hoping the American public is not so blind as to see the shameless refusal of the media to acknowledge that Valerie Plame was not a spy, which means she was never outed, which also means that Scooter Libby had no motive to lie to the FBI or to anyone. Memo to the AP: Valerie Plame was not "outed" and you know it well; you know, as does everyone else involved, that she was never covert! Shouldn't the freedom of the press be mitigated somehow by refusing to the press the freedom to lie? Shouldn't the press be held to some standard of objectivity that warns it against spinning stories so as to make political enemies look bad, but which in the meantime ruin a man's reputation? Isn't that a kind of libel? I wish someone would sick a special prosecutor on them for a change; what they did to Mr. Libby is a crime.
The poor man assumed he had nothing to hide, so he went ahead and tried to remember conversations, and in the end contradicted himself. This is common, and it happens to everyone all the time, and there's nothing sinful about it, as memory is such a treacherous thing. Just don't let it happen to you in court, or you could end up with a conviction at the hands of a merciless prosecutor.
So now everyone has his hands dirty, it seems, except for Scooter Libby himself. The prosecutor certainly does, and so do both sides of the political aisle. Why the Bush Administration went forth with this monkey trial I'll never know, or at least, why they didn't call off the dogs once it was clear that it was Richard Armitage who supplied the information everyone had originally supposed came from Libby (and besides, So what? Ms. Plame was not a spy!). And when the truth about Mr. Armitage came out, the prosecution suppressed it, as it would (naturally) have affected their case. But I suppose it would have been too much for the Administration to deal with if they backed off now, which is to say, the political fallout would have been too much to bear. I thought this President was one who said he didn't care about political fallout. Just do the right thing! Meanwhile now the Democrats have jumped in anyway, and demanded more blood, wanting the scalp of the Vice President himself, whose aide Libby was. Harry Reid had the gall to say the other day that this is the first conviction of someone in the White House in over a hundred years (H'mm, somewhere in the back of my mind is the memory of some Clinton guy, but never mind). And now they're saying it doesn't matter what he lied about, he lied! (H'mm, wasn't there something in the case of that Clinton guy about the fact that lying about personal stuff didn't matter?) It's amazing to me that the jurors were not given information about the Valerie Plame situation which would make it abundantly clear that Mr. Libby had no reason to lie. He was caught by people who make it their life's business to see if they can't twist someone's tongue.
The reason this is all so very sad is that so many people seem to have forgotten about poor Scooter Libby himself. Luther says well in the Large Catechism that a man's reputation can't stand being played with. Well, this man's reputation has certainly been played with, and it is my hope that somebody fix the travesty. Mr. President, I hope you're listening to the advice the Wall Street Journal gave you yesterday: the time for a pardon is now. And an apology would be nice too.