Worst Case/Best Case

8 comments July 2nd, 2005at 03:43pm Posted by Eli

Assuming that Lawrence O’Donnell knows what he’s talking about when he says Rove was the one who blew Valerie Plame’s CIA cover to every reporter he could find, here are the maximum downside and upside that I can envision:

Downside Scenario: White House and Republican media spin machine successfully sell the idea that the Plame outing was not a big deal (it’s not like she had infiltrated al Qaeda; everyone already knew she was CIA, etc.). And not only that, but all the left-wing excitement about this is just further proof of how hysterical and out of touch with reality liberals are, that they would try to take down a great patriotic American like Karl Rove because they’re resentful and jealous of his success at ushering in a Golden Age Of Republican Dominance. Oh, and no-one notices that Ann Coulter is nominated to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court.

Upside Scenario: The Republicans are unable to convince a majority of Americans that outing a CIA agent is doubleplusuntreasonous, and Rove is unable to wriggle out of conviction for treason (or at least perjury). More importantly, as the story of a massive media cover-up surfaces, the myth of the “liberal media” is destroyed once and for all, and news organizations are forced to fire all their Republican mouthpieces and rededicate themselves to reporting the truth, in a desperate attempt to restore their shattered credibility. Without the media on its side, the Republican Party implodes, leaving nothing behind but a foul-smelling stain on the Congressional Record.

Of course, being a pessimist, and seeing how things have played out in the past, my money’s on the downside scenario or something close to it. My sense of the past history of Plamegate is that the coverage has been sketchy, and the average American really doesn’t see what the big deal is. I mainly mention the upside scenario because I believe that some kind of cleansing, cathartic scandal within the press corps itself, followed by a massive backlash against media corruption and complicity, is the only chance that we have of ever having a truly fair and balanced press in this country. And this story marks the first time that I have seen even the tiniest hint of a glimpse that it could happen.

The Democrats need to get better at playing the “corporate media” card every time a Republican scandal comes to light without media coverage, and every time a Democratic “scandal” gets breathless 24-hour coverage, only to be quietly dropped when it turns out to be bogus. As long as the media is firmly in Republican hands, Democrats and democracy don’t stand a chance.

Entry Filed under: Libby/Plame,Media,Politics,Rove


  • 1. NYMary  |  July 2nd, 2005 at 4:13 pm

    The Republicans are unable to convince a majority of Americans that outing a CIA agent is treasonous, and Rove is unable to wriggle out of conviction for treason (or at least perjury).

    Don’t you meant not treasonous?

    I’m rooting for option B.

    B! B! B! B!

  • 2. Eli  |  July 2nd, 2005 at 4:14 pm

    Oopsie! Thanks.

  • 3. Jeffraham Prestonian  |  July 2nd, 2005 at 5:20 pm

    As I said at Eschaton, please convince me that armed revolt is not the answer, should these assholes get away with outing Plame.

  • 4. oldwhitelady  |  July 2nd, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    jeffraham prestonian, I don’t know… I’m getting more and more convinced the other way. You know.. pitchforks and torches.

  • 5. Eli  |  July 3rd, 2005 at 12:07 am

    If we had a truly independent media, none of this would be necessary…

    Big if, tho.

  • 6. Eric A Hopp  |  July 3rd, 2005 at 11:33 pm

    We are never going to get a truly independent media–not when NBC is owned by General Electric, ABC is owned by Disney, CBS is owned by Viacom, and Fox is owned by the Republican Party. Corporations are only interested in one thing–the bottom line profits. They are going to use the news media as a means to add to their profit margin. That’s why you see all those stories about the Michael Jackson molestation trial. It’s news by ratings.

    And as for the stories on the Downing Street Memos? Can’t have those stories published for they might make the Republican Party look bad, or get voted out of power. And if the Republicans get voted out of power, well then the corporations won’t be able to use the party and the government to give them more tax breaks and legislation which would benefit their interests–at the expense of the rest of America.

    The only true independent media in America now is the bloggers. Somehow we have got to find a way to organize into an effective force to pressure both the government and corporations to reveal the truth of these scandals and inform the American public of their transgressions. We have got to become the force necessary to check their abuses of power.

    I’m just not exactly sure how we can do this.

  • 7. Eli  |  July 3rd, 2005 at 11:42 pm

    I’m mostly in agreement with you, and I’m inclined to think that the news media, or rather their corporate masters, are *more* interested in keeping those corporate-friendly Republicans in power than they are in ratings – otherwise Gannongate would have been HUGE.

    And while blogs may indeed be the only hope for an independent media, bear in mind that the liberal blogs are balanced out by a whole bunch of right-wing blogs, so it’s probably over-optimistic to assume that the blogosphere is the solution to all our problems.

    Of course, a medium with both liberal and conservative voices is still better than one with no liberal voices at all…

  • 8. desi  |  July 4th, 2005 at 11:15 am

    Pitchforks and torches! I’ll bring the s’mores! :)

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