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Jason Leopold and Karl Rove

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Jason Leopold should be used to it. He’s been the target of media assaults for years now, really ever since he began breaking stories about Enron’s fiascos and the California energy crisis as a writer for Dow Jones Newswire. If you don’t know who I am talking about, well then you’ve probably been hiding under a rock these past few days.

Leopold wrote a story last weekend for, which stated that Karl Rove was served an indictment on Friday, May 12. And since his uncorroborated revelation (which he says was backed by five inside sources, and now more) he’s taken a fair share of beatings in the press.

Jason, who I consider a friend, has had a self-confessed “checkered” past -- one his enemies and skeptics aren’t afraid to drag through the mud to discredit his reports. He hasn’t only had tough bouts with his journalism career, but with his life in general. In fact, he recently wrote a fantastic memoir about it called News Junkie, which goes into brutal detail about his intoxicated past and the harrowing defeats that followed. He lied his way into a job with the LA Times, and ripped off a major New York record company tens of thousands of dollars to support a coke habit, and was caught (but never did time, even though the Washington Post wrote as much). His critics call him a fake, and his readers say he’s the real deal. Ultimately, time will tell who is right and who is wrong.

Had Jason broke his latest story for the Wall Street Journal or New York Times, it’s unlikely he’d be subject to the same ridicule. But when an indy writer gets a major scoop before anybody in the mainstream major media does, animosity is sure to follow. And that’s why the outcome of this saga will either legitimize independent media or devastate it.

As of this writing, no media outlet has publicly corroborated what Jason says went down late last Friday. As he wrote on Saturday, May 13, “Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove … served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case…”

Both Rove’s spokesperson and his lawyer deny that any such meeting took place. Fitzgerald won’t comment.

Most who have already passed judgment on Jason’s lonely story think he’s a) lying, b) gullible, or c) absolutely correct. Truthout, for their part, is standing behind his story, saying they’ve even been “contacted by at least three reporters from mainstream media - network level organizations - who shared with us off-the-record confirmation and moral support.”

Willy-nilly publications would most likely have yanked the story by now, but William Rivers Pitt and the rest of the Truthout gang, to their credit, believe in their boy. They are willing to take the heat if it ends up being false. But, you don’t publish something you aren’t willing to get behind, especially if it’s as weighty as what Jason wrote about Rove going down. And Jason, like Truthout, isn’t backing down.

“I am amazed that the blogosphere would lend credence to the statements of people who have consistently lied about Rove’s role in this case. This is a White House that denied Rove’s involvement in the leak. This is a White House that has lied and lied and lied,” Leopold says.

“And yet the first question that people ask is ‘why would Rove’s spokesman lie?’ Because they can, because they do, and because they have. This is an administration that has attacked and discredited their detractors. I am amazed that not a single reporter would actually do any real investigative work and get to the bottom of this story. Surely, there must be another intrepid reporter out there that has sources beyond a spokesman.”
Jason is right, Rove’s spokesperson Mark Corallo has indeed lied before.

“There has been no talk of resignation. The Republican Conference is solidly behind the Louisiana Republican (Bob Livingston)." That’s Mark Corallo on December 17, 1998.

Two days later on December 19, 1998...

Bob Livingston bows out of the speakership making an announcement on House floor. Corallo knew well in advance.

When push comes to shove, it is Jason’s and Truthout’s word against the lying sacks of sh*t hiding out on Pennsylvania Ave. We’ll find out soon enough if Truthout will have to change its name and Leopold his career. In the meantime, let’s hope Karl Rove is the one that will have to go looking for a new job.
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Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State (more...)
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