Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Fox All-Stars on Rove/Plame Scandal - the spin starts here

Reported by Chrish - July 12, 2005

On the Special Report "All-Stars" panel discussion 7/11/05, the group (Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, Jeff Birnbaum, and Brit Hume) discussed Karl Rove and his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The lack of diversity within the panel was matched only by the lack of outrage. There was even an air of resignation on the part of the so-called moderates on board. The consensus was that nothing will come of this because hey, he's Karl Rove.

The segment opened with video (aired earlier) of David Gregory (NBC) asking Scott McClellan if Karl Rove committed a crime. McClellan replied with a different version of his other non-answer: "...as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it."

Gregory then pushed, "Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk?" There's a clumsy edit to McClellan calling on Terry Moran of ABC, who asks "Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed, peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?" McClellan replies "that's not a correct characterization, Terry, and I think you are well aware of that."

Comment: Finally a little aggression in the briefing room and we still get no information.

Hume starts things off by saying this has been going on for some time now, all about the "alleged leak" of the identity of an undercover CIA agent who "happened to be the wife of Joe Wilson..." and gives a little background information. Then "the allegation is that in an effort to discredit Wilson, who wrote critically of the administration's policy on Iraq and critically of its concerns about weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's regime, the White House, someone in the White House, leaked Valerie Plame, the woman's name and identity and CIA role illegally. Where are we in the investigation?"

Kondracke starts off stating more background: the special prosecutor has been appointed, two reporters almost went to jail, one went to jail, and the question now is...

Brit interrupts saying that one reporter has said, correct me if I'm wrong, that one reporter said he did talk to Karl Rove and Rove did say the Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. So, is Karl Rove caught red-handed?

Kondracke, the Fox version of a liberal on the panel, repeats practically verbatim Rove's lawyer's talking points: Rove didn't know her name; he never referred to her by name; and in order...

Brit interrupts with "and he didn't know what her work was, either."
Kondracke says "right, and in order to..."
Brit continues to overtalk "and if she was an undercoverop at that time he didn't know that either."
Kondracke, still trying to talk, says "right, and in order to violate the law, you have to knowingly reveal the identity of a clandestine CIA agent..."
Brit again "and you have to have known about it through classified sources."
Kondracke, "right, right. So, did he, are any of those things true? In order to be convicted, indicted anyway, the prosecutor has to establish those things, and all those things we have no knowledge of." All we know is what Rove's lawyer tells us, which is that Rove is not a target of the investigation.

Brit expands that we know Rove has testified in the investigation and that he has signed a waiver that all reporters may talk about whatever conversations he has had with them regarding this. This serves the purpose of making Rove appear to be an open and non-secretive guy.

Kondracke goes on to say that if Rove said to Cooper that Wilson's wife was the one who assigned him to Niger, AND someone talked to Judith Miller AND Bob Novak AND Walter Pincus (WaPo), we do seem to have a White House/administration plot to discredit Wilson.

Fred Barnes jumps in, saying Wilson's story has been totally discredited now. He says if Rove's story is true, he's clearly not going to get indicted. Nobody is, because there probably was no crime committed. He thinks he has the story right, that at the end of a conversation with Matt Cooper, Karl Rove repeated a rumor, that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent, and that's how Wilson was assigned the Niger trip.

Barnes says Rove has 2 problems; first, he's Karl Rove and 3/4 of the press and 100% of the Democrats are out to get him, and second, his lawyer has been (stutters, fumbles for word, hand gestures), deceitful isn't the right word but the way he's answered questions is as if Karl has something to hide.

Jeff Birnbaum reinforces the partisan angle, saying the Democrats see blood in the water and at the least want to embarrass the president's top advisor and in their wildest dreams they could get him fired or sidelined somehow. And he did speak to reporters, and Scott McClellan gave the impression at least
that Karl Rove did not speak to reporters...his words were more carefully chosen, saying he did not give classified information which gives him an out in his denials over the last year or two. (Comment: there was video shown earlier in the show dated 9/29/03 of McClellan saying "I've said that it's not true, and I've spoken to Karl Rove.") Birnbaum says the president himself said if someone had done something illegal, and "I think we all agree here, everything we know Karl Rove did not," ...nonetheless if someone were involved, they would pay the price.

Hume comes in with this diminishing tactic: "Is this, as I suspect, the annual summer storm that we get when the doldrums hit in July, or is it a big deal?"

Barnes quickly answers with a dismissive one, saying that it's less than a storm, because it's not an issue that anyone outside the Beltway cares about.

Birnbaum somewhat disagrees by labelling it a partisan issue and saying Democrats will not let it go because of the importance of Rove. they'll keep complaining (whiners) and talking about it.

Brit lays the issue to rest, narrowing the issue down to if there's no indictment for violating the law by leaking classified information, is this over?

Kondracke says the Democrats will rant, the press will rant, but the Republican Congress will not go to investigate Karl Rove.

Summary of points to drill:
1. It's a summer thing, like shark attacks.
2. Nobody cares except DC insiders - wonk wonk nudge nudge.
3. It's personal - it's a "Get Rove" creation.
4. It's partisan - Democrats smell blood in the water. (There's that shark thing again.)
5. The press, which Fox apparently considers itself above, has it in for Rove.

There is nobody there who cries that this is just wrong - an important anti-terrorism unit was disrupted while we're in the midst of, what do they call it, the War on Terror! Not fair, not balanced, not even close.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

We welcome your opinions and viewpoints. Comments must remain civil, on-topic and must not violate any copyright or other laws. We reserve the right to delete any comments we deem inappropriate or non-constructive to the discussion for any reason, and to block any commenter for repeated violations.

Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.