New York, July 18: How do we suss out truth from the coverage of the Karl Rove leakgate scandal in a time of deliberate obfuscation and hair-splitting , with endless ways on all sides to avoid and obscure reality?
He preached on the importance of finding the truth, saying: "I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again!" (A line now used by the band House Of Pain as the title of an album.)
His optimism was unbowed when he spoke of "the arch of the moral universe." He said, "it is long, but it bends toward justice. How long? Not long! For mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord. He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on!"
That line from the Battle Hymn of the Republican must be invoked again because truth itself is what is contested in our political and media debates which has turned into a battleground where few on one side of our new civil war can hear or will hear what the other is saying.
The other night, an old friend refused to come to see my film WMD because he and his wife are uncomfortable with arguments they have decided in advance are left-wing.
The great Karl Rove debate is the latest case in point. From the left, the issue of the president advisor's guilt in leaking the name of a CIA operative as a form of political payback is a given.
All that remains is his resignation leading to the President's impeachment. This protest against using the media for purposes of political retribution has led to using the media for another form of political retribution. The Houston Chronicle calls it "Rove Rage." Many progressives are convinced that the man who likes to brand others traitors is the real traitor."
Writes Frank Rich in the NY Times: "Well, of course, Karl Rove did it. He may not have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, with its high threshold of criminality for outing a covert agent, but there's no doubt he trashed the agent, Valerie Plame, and her husband, Joseph Wilson.
On the right, this is all pictured as a tempest in a teapot with Ann Coulter denouncing, who else, but Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame: "By foisting their fantasies of themselves on the country," she spews." these two have instigated a massive criminal investigation, the result of which is: The only person who has demonstrably lied and possibly broken the law is Joseph Wilson.
"So the obvious solution is to fire Karl Rove."
But both of these advocates do make insightful secondary points worth considering.
Coulter for example blames a tendency by some Democrats of trying to out bush Bush by posturing as more patriotic and concerned with national security than their adversaries. This was the strategy of the hawks in the DLC and Kerry campaign--and it failed.