To seek indictments against the White House officials caught up in the inquiry would deliver a devastating blow to the Bush administration. To simply walk away after two years of investigation, which included the jailing of a reporter for 85 days for refusing to testify, would invite cries of cover-up and waste.
Yet Mr. Fitzgerald's past courtroom allies and adversaries say that consideration of political consequences will play no role in his decision.
"I don't think the prospect of a firestorm would deter him," said J. Gilmore Childers, who worked with Mr. Fitzgerald on high-profile terrorism prosecutions in New York during the 1990s. "His only calculus is to do the right thing as he sees it."
Stanley L. Cohen, a New York lawyer who has defended those accused of terrorism in a half-dozen cases prosecuted by Mr. Fitzgerald, said he never detected the slightest political leanings, only a single-minded dedication to the law.
"There's no doubt in my mind that if he's found something, he won't be swayed one way or the other by the politics of it," Mr. Cohen said. "For Pat, there's no such thing as a little crime you can ignore."
The above is from Scott Shane and David Johnston's "Leak Prosecutor Is Called Exacting and Apolitical" in this morning's New York Times. It's a feature on Patrick Fitzgerald. We're noting it because if we didn't note Scott Shane, others at the paper couldn't write in to complain about this site 'playing favorites.' If there's any news worthy factor (most features don't have a news worthy factor), it may be in seeing how Fitzgerald is portrayed in the feature. (Remember Robert Parry's observations regarding the way Lawrence Walsh was trashed by the press.) Fitzgerald's been in the news for some time and mentioned here many times so that's another reason to note it here. (Though honestly, I do enjoy hearing other writers whine that we play favorites with Scott Shane, among others.) (And in fairness, I'm assuming that some of those e-mails are meant to be humorous. On this end, they seem that way. There was one that Jess read aloud that had us both laughing.) (Thanks to Jess and Ava for their help with the e-mails and also to Shirley and Martha who are always willing to help out during times when the e-mail volume is huge. 2016 unread this morning in the public account. 330 in the private one. Members, remember to use the private account. It always comes before the public account.)
We're going to note Katharine Q. Seelye's "Times Editor Expresses Regrets Over Handling of Leak Case" because I got calls about that last night. Keller's out of the country. He's offered some sort of apology/explanation (read Seelye's account if you're interested) re: Miller. Miller disagrees with his accounting. Why are we noting it? Rumbles. But not the obvious ones some might expect. We'll leave it at that. ("Rumbles" was what I was asked to put in by three at the Times.) Just pay attention. (Members might want to search their brains for an entry -- think The New Yorker -- and they'll have a clue re: rumbles.) (Members still in the dark can think of the gina & krista round-robin and a thing Gina, Krista and I did that noted a Simon & Garfield song. But note, it's only "rumbles.")
Kyle e-mails to note Norman Solomon's "25 Years After Reagan's Triumph" (CounterPunch):
By a twist of political fate, the Oct. 28 deadline for special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to take action on the Plamegate matter is exactly 25 years after the only debate of the presidential race between Ronald Reagan and incumbent Jimmy Carter. How the major media outlets choose to handle the current explosive scandal in the months ahead will have enormous impacts on the trajectory of American politics.
A quarter of a century ago, conservative Republicans captured the White House. Today, a more extreme incarnation of the GOP's right wing has a firm grip on the executive branch. None of it would have been possible without a largely deferential press corps.
Among other things, Reagan's victory over Carter was a media triumph of style in the service of far-right agendas. When their only debate occurred on Oct. 28, 1980, a week before the election, Carter looked rigid and defensive while Reagan seemed at ease, making impact with zingers like "There you go again." More than ever, one-liners dazzled the press corps.
For the next eight years, a "Teflon presidency" had the news media making excuses for the nation's chief executive, who often got his facts wrong while substituting folksy exclamations for documented assertions. The Democratic Party's majorities on Capitol Hill rarely challenged Reagan, and the Washington press corps used the passivity of the Democrats to justify its own. As Walter Karp wrote in Harper's magazine a few months after Reagan left office, "the private story behind every major non-story during the Reagan administration was the Democrats' tacit alliance with Reagan."
That tacit alliance included going easy on Reagan and his vice-president-turned-successor, George H.W. Bush -- despite the Iran-Contra scandal that exposed their roles in the illegal funneling of aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, a CIA-backed army that intentionally killed civilians in Nicaragua while trying to implement Washington's goal of overthrowing the Sandinista government.
["Norman Solomon is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." For a review of that book, you can check out The Third Estate Sunday Review's "1 Book, 10 Minutes."]
Martha asks that we note Robert Parry's "Rise of the 'Patriotic Journalist'" (Consortium News) one more time for the section on Gary Webb:
Even years later, when historical facts surfaced suggesting that serious abuses had been missed around the Iran-Contra Affair, mainstream news outlets took the lead in rallying to the Reagan-Bush defense.
When a controversy over contra-drug trafficking reemerged in 1996, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times went on the attack -- against Gary Webb, the reporter who revived interest in the scandal. Even admissions of guilt by the CIA's inspector general in 1998 didn't shake the largely dismissive treatment of the issue by the major newspapers. [For details, see Lost History.]
(For Webb's courageous reporting, he was pushed out of his job at the San Jose Mercury News, his career was ruined, his marriage collapsed and – in December 2004 – he killed himself with his father's revolver.) [See Consortiumnews.com's "America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb."]
When Republican rule was restored in 2001 with George W. Bush’s controversial “victory,” major news executives and many rank-and-file journalists understood that their careers could best be protected by wrapping themselves in the old red-white-and-blue. "Patriotic" journalism was in; "skeptical" journalism was definitely out.
That tendency deepened even more after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as many journalists took to wearing American flag lapels and avoided critical reporting about Bush’s sometimes shaky handling of the crisis.
For instance, Bush's seven-minute freeze in a second-grade classroom -- after being told "the nation is under attack" -- was hidden from the public even though it was filmed and witnessed by White House pool reporters. (Millions of Americans were shocked when they finally saw the footage two years later in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11.")
In November 2001, to avoid other questions about Bush's legitimacy, the results of a media recount of the Florida vote were misrepresented to obscure the finding that Al Gore would have carried the state -- and thus the White House -- if all legally cast votes were counted. [See Consortiumnews.com's "So Bush Did Steal the White House."]
Amy Goodman's Un-Embed the Media Tour is in California today:
Saturday, October 22,
Presentation of first annual Pace e Bene Nonviolence Award to Dolores Huerta
First Congregational Church
2501 Harrison at 27th St
Amy will be interviewing Dolores Huerta
Tickets $15 advance, $18 door. $50 includes reserved seating and reception
Benefits Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service
in advance at www.paceebene.org
by calling 510-268-8765
or at independent East Bay bookstores: Black Oak; DIESEL, A Bookstore; Global Exchange store; Pendragon; Pegasus (both stores); Walden Pond
Reception tickets only available in advance until October 17th at www.paceebene.org or by calling 510-268-8765 Download a flier here.
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