I guess they used to get away with reporting one thing to the public, and another to the courts. After all, in the past, who was going to report it? Now that the nexus of power has shifted out of their hands (although they will not admit it), and independent and responsible news reporting can be conducted by any private citizen with a computer and 15 minutes a day, this kind of thing will not go unnoticed anymore.
We're all familiar with the media shark frenzy over Karl Rove. You know, the one in which they confuse the president's statement "if the person has violated law" with "I will fire Karl Rove if you ask me to do so, blatantly disregarding my principles in exchange for appeasing the ailing mainstream media powerhouses". And the one in which we are relying on shady, half-baked claims from a shady, attention-hungry former ambassador who has contributed to democrat campaigns and been basically outed as a democrat operative. (To the mainstream press: contrary to the your belief, it is not a crime to out a democrat operative, even if he is masquerading as an objective source to accomplish your political agenda.)
Now, what most people don't realize, and should, is that the press has already admitted that we're right (and by we I mean Americans with at least half a brain). As Bill O'Reilly so eloquently stated, most people just don't care, but for those that do, this is interesting reading.
The press dispatched an amici curiae brief to the D.C. Federal Appeals Court, in which they insisted that no crime was committed in the revealing of the name of Valerie Plame, in addition to other ridiculous claims about the press being a 4th unofficial branch of the government designed to check the other three. (Apparently, the electorate gets shafted in such considerations). Some of the highlights of this brief:
...the explanation by a White House official to Robert Novak that Joseph Wilson had been sent by the CIA to Niger because his wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA represents a single fact which has been an enduring and crucial news story for the past two years - i.e., did the Bush Administration invade Iraq with a reasonable, if mistaken, belief that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed weapons of mass destruction? As that story unfolded, the nation's focus migrated from questions about the failure of America's intelligence operations, to "leaks" from the intelligence community that embarassed the Bush Administration during a presidential election, to the President's housecleaning of the CIA after the election.
We'll go for this one first, although it isn't really related to the Wilson debacle. I just thought it interesting that, while most of the nation seemed more interested in fighting terror and protecting our borders and freedom, the press still claims to speak for the nation with absurdities. They might as well say the nation's focus shifted to quantum electrodynamics after the apparent failures of string theory. What they mean by "the nation's focus migrated" is really "our attacks shifted".
Another bit of gold from the brief is the section in which it rattles off 9 conditions of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, including "the person disclosing the identity knows that the information so identifies the covert agent" and "the disclosure is intentional", among others. Immediately following is the real gem, though. The brief points out that the law offers exclusion in the case that the agent's identity has previously been exposed, and that "Congress intended to criminalize only disclosures that 'clearly represent a conscious and pernicious effort to identify and expose agents with the intent to impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States".
Andrew McCarthy in an article for National Review Online, points out that Plame/Wilson's "cover" has been blown for decades. I will not attempt to steal his analysis, but will instead direct any readers I might have to read his article. It is very well written and I actually printed a copy to tote around with me, so useful is the commentary.
The brief is priceless in light of what the press is now saying. Watching the news really does leave a bad taste in your mouth for republicans, but then you find out the facts and realize that the press is, well, just lying.