Here’s an important question:
Valerie Wilson has reminded us there was, in fact, a crime committed by the vice president‘s office, a multi-count crime that led to years of imprisonment, except the president commuted it. [But people] allowed the president to erase the blackboard and say it never happened, [as if] there has been no criminality in the vice president‘s office, or in the White House… That‘s the way people [sound], is everybody a jug-head now in politics?!
That’s what Chris Matthews wanted to know last night. His guests posited two quick answers. Maybe other events sidelined the administration’s criminal record (from The Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut), or it was a "media failure" to stick with the story (from The American Prospect’s Ezra Klein). But Matthews’ response answered his own question:
I mentioned criminality in the vice president‘s office a few weeks ago, and some reporter said he didn‘t know what I was talking about. Is it amnesia? Is it just bad reporting? I think it‘s probably the latter. Anyway, according to a new field poll in California, Rudy Giuliani is only at 25 percent. But he‘s double digit over the pack. I‘m amazed by that, Anne, because here we have Schwarzenegger, a pro-choice, moderate Republican in many ways–many, many ways–Maria Shriver‘s husband in many ways…
And that was it. One meta-question about how the administration has suppressed accountability and scrutiny of its crimes, and then back to horse race politics. (The vast majority of the segment covered polls and political advertising.) And Matthews’ entire show, which included an interview with Valerie Wilson, did not even mention the current White House attempt to grant amnesty to telephone companies that allegedly helped the administration break the law to spy on Americans.
It’s not just Matthews, either. The New York Times is still ignoring the new face-off over the surveillance bill. When the Times thought the entire Democratic caucus would roll over, the news was trumpeted in a front-page story "Democrats Seem Ready to Extend Wiretap Powers," which reported that Democrats were "nervous that they will be called soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence." That turned out at least partially incorrect. The next day, October 12, the Times ran a more measured article, "House Panels Vote for More Scrutiny Over Foreign Eavesdropping," which it buried on A29. (Also note how "Democrats" turns to "House Panel" depending on the news.)
Does this mean that Chris Dodd, the leader of the fight against telecom amnesty, is getting no coverage in the Times?
Of course not. Today the Times published an article about his haircuts.