Having Ann Coulter on your network debating the "meaning" of the Fitzgerald investigation isn't relevant. It isn't useful. It's like watching a dog crap to music. There's some percentage of the country that would probably tune in to that too, but it doesn't make it "news" or even "analysis".
And you can repeat that statement, to a less overtly crass degree, for nearly every Republican and Democratic professional spinner, on both sides. During this particular week, we have actual news. It means something, something important. We don't know all the facts yet, or even whether or not a man is guilty or innocent, and finding out is deadly serious business. So how about we start finding out the facts? How 'bout the media start, instead of turning this story into the same Rolodex-emptying game of Hollywood Squares that producers have managed to turn every major national story into, these last ten years?
Interviewing reporters who have been breaking new information in this story -- I'm sympathetic to that. Interviewing longtime Washington hands who can shed light on what it means to have something be "classified", or legal figures who can explore where the case could go, by all means. But there is something flatly wrong about the ongoing, incessant Pundit-O-Matic that presumes that just because someone is a partisan, they have relevancy to this story.
I'm sick of Republican pundits expressing doughy vindication that there is, according to them, only one potential felon in the White House. That's the standard, now? "Just one felon" is fine? And it's only for a cover-up, and not the "actual crime", so hell, that's just dandy? That's the damn standard, nowdays?
I'm sick of partisan defenders claiming that, well, we have to expect a certain amount of felonies in any political enterprise, be it DeLay or Abramoff or Noe or blah blah blah right up to the White House itself, and it's really quite crass to expect otherwise.
And I am very, very sick of the continuing Bitch Deserved It talking point. No, not sick -- f---ing livid. They all say oh, America's at war. Oh, terrorism is an imminent threat. Oh, human sources are our best defense in this new time of constant, low-grade warfare. But f--k those goddamn operatives, if party momentarily requires it.
Throughout the entire pundit brigade -- blogosphere included -- everyone is trying to decide whether or not the Fitzgerald indictments are a "victory" for their side or the other side. It's not, OK? It's just not. There is nothing good or victorious about this situation, for either side. Nothing. Nothing.
We've got exactly two choices here. Either the White House outed a covert agent because they handled sensitive and classified information so incompetently that it was distributed throughout the administration and into administration-selected leak receptacles without anyone realizing that the classified information was, duh, classified...
Or, they did it on purpose. I say "they", because we know that even though Libby is currently the only one indicted, the public record already shows, at minimum, Karl Rove as being one of the other administration figures that discussed Plame's classified CIA status with multiple reporters. That little tidbit ain't going away, regardless of how it's spun.
Incompetence, or intentional. Ignoring Republican fantasies that, after two entire years, the CIA still couldn't figure out whether or not Plame's status, marked as secret-NF in documents, was, you know, secret, that's what we're left with. Mishandling of classified information, or willful distribution of classified information -- and Libby, bless his true believer, neoconservative heart, has taken it upon himself to hide from the American people the answer to that question.
I want one thing out of this entire investigation. I want to find out what happened, and why. In that Scooter Libby has now been indicted for obstructing prosecutorial attempts to find out -- by flatly lying, on multiple occasions -- than yes, I freely admit I take a certain grim satisfaction in a prosecutor dragging him out of the White House by his ankles, and the prospects of depositing him, eventually, in a jail cell. But there's nothing happy about this week, or the month before it, or the two years before that. And there won't be much to celebrate even when this whole sorry mess is finally done and over with.