No Heroes in L'Affaire Plame

Rove? Miller? Liberals? A pox on all their houses


Joseph Wilson IV. Though certainly a legitimately aggrieved party (along, of course, with his wife), Wilson's pompous-ass style can be grating even to those who sympathize with him. Recalling his tearful "If I could give you back your anonymity . . . " pronouncement to his wife, more than a few CIA veterans furious about Plame's outing thought this a bit much, as Plame's undercover status at the time of her outing was both flimsy and dubious. "In principle, what was done to her was shitty, and someone should pay, but the way he always goes on about how it's the end of the world for her and national security while saying she's a real-life Jennifer Garner Alias character is just too damn much," says one. Similarly, prominent liberals have choked on Wilson's self-indulgence: At the Nation Institute's annual fundraising dinner last year, some found any inspirational qualities Wilson had to offer swamped by the tsunami-like wave of his continuous ego trip. "It wasn't just that he was sheets to the wind when he gave his speech, it was the sheer self-righteousness of it—it was like listening to a preppy version of Fidel Castro," recalls a noted liberal activist who was in the audience that night. "His speech was something like 'The Top 10 Reasons to Get Rid of Bush,' and after 45 minutes that included lowest-common-denominator stuff like 'kids going to school hungry'—hello, Joe Wilson's now got the weight of Head Start on his shoulders?—he was only up to number five. I mean, look, I sympathize, but it was like he was looking for a cross."


Norman Pearlstine.While editors do shitty things to reporters all the time, forking over to the feds the files of a journalist willing to go to jail not only strikes many journalists as a betrayal, but as an action that will have more of a chilling effect than the Fitzgerald probe itself. Especially at Time's Washington bureau but also at other publications last week, reporters were getting calls or e-mails from sources expressing concern about past and future arrangements; if a promise of confidentiality can be compromised by the actions of an editor far removed from a beat, why should anyone drop reporters a dime?

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