Skip to comments.Karl Rove: Abusing the First Amendment and Using Reporters
Posted on 07/05/2005 2:21:05 PM PDT by rface
A man who taught with Karl Rove, and considers him a friend, writes that in the Valerie Plame case, Rove is using journalists, and the First Amendment, "to operate without constraint, or to camouflage breaking the law." That's why neither reporters Cooper and Miller, nor their publications, should protect the behavior of Rove (or anyone else) "through an undiscerning, blanket use of the First Amendment that weaken its protections by its gross misuse."
(July 05, 2005) -- In 99.9 percent of cases I know, journalists must not break the bonds of appropriate confidentiality, to protect their ability to report, and to defend the First Amendment. Ive testified in court to that end, and would do so again.
But the Valerie Plame-CIA case that threatens jail time for reporters from Time and The New York Times this week is the exception that shatters the rule. In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the presidents chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it.
To understand why this case is exceptional, one must grasp the extent of Roves political mastery, which became clearer to me by working with him. When we taught "Politics and the Press" together at The University of Texas at Austin seven years ago, Rove showed an amazing disdain for Texas political reporters. At the same time, he actively cultivated national reporters who could help him promote a Bush presidency.
In teaching with him, I learned Rove assumes command over any political enterprise he engages. He insists on absolute discipline from staff: nothing escapes him; no one who works with him moves without his direction. In Texas, though he was called "the prime minister" to Gov. George W. Bush, it might have been "Lord," as in the divine, for when it came to politics and policy, it was Rove who gave, and Rove who took away.
Little has changed since the Bush presidency; all roads still lead to Rove.
Consequently, when former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson challenged President Bushs lie that Saddam Hussein imported yellow-cake uranium from Niger to produce nuclear weapons, retaliation by Rove was never in doubt. While it is reporters Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times who now face jail time, the retaliation came through Rove-uber-outlet Robert Novak, who blew the cover of Wilsons wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame.
The problem, as always, in dealing with Rove, is establishing a clear chain of culpability. Rove once described himself as a die-hard Nixonite; he is, like the former president, both student and master of plausible deniability. (This past weekend, in confirming that Rove was indeed a source for Matthew Cooper, Rove's lawyer said his client "never knowingly disclosed classified information.") That is precisely why prosecutor Fitzgerald in this case must document the pattern of Roves behavior, whether journalists published, or not.
For in this case, Rove, improving on Macchiavelli, has bet that reporters wont rat their relationship with the administrations most important political source. How better for him to operate without constraint, or to camouflage breaking the law, than under the cover of journalists and journalism, protected by the First Amendment?
Karl Rove is in my experience with him the brightest and most affable of companions; perhaps I have been coopted, for I genuinely treasure his friendship. But neither charm nor political power should be permitted to subvert the First Amendment, which is intended to insure that reporters and citizens burrow fully and publicly into government, not insulate its players from felony, or reality.
Reporters with a gut fear of breaching confidential sources must fight like tigers to protect them. But neither reporters Cooper nor Miller, nor their publications, nor anyone in journalism should protect the behavior of Rove (or anyone else) through an undiscerning, blanket use of the First Amendment that weakens its protections by its gross misuse. Bill Israel teaches journalism at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). He has worked for several leading newpapers.
The left's obsession with Rove is so entertaining.
HA! The same felony and reality the press inuslated Clinton from??
I thought everyone knew that.
"Consequently, when former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson challenged President Bushs lie that Saddam Hussein imported yellow-cake uranium from Niger to produce nuclear weapons, retaliation by Rove was never in doubt. While it is reporters Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times who now face jail time, the retaliation came through Rove-uber-outlet Robert Novak, who blew the cover of Wilsons wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame. "
Uh! So Wilson is beyond reproach, but Bush lied about the yellow-cake. Me thinks thou dost protest too much, Mr Israel.
Teaching journalism at UMass - Amherst, - hardly qualifies Bill Israel as an objective source.
First, President Bush did not claim Hussein had imported yellow-cake uranium (or any kind of uranium) from Niger (or any other specific country in Africa).
Second, Bush's statement (how could anybody forget those "16 words") was that we had learned from British intelligence that Hussein had recently attempted to import uranium from Africa; the British intelligence community continues to stand by that report.
Third, Rove didn't need to retaliate as the new media were able to find plenty of Wilson's own statements to discredit his opportunistic cheap shots at the President.
We must not forget the fact that these are the people who will take the word of a murdering terrorist for the very gospel.
Consequently, when former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson challenged President Bushs lie that Saddam Hussein imported yellow-cake uranium from Niger to produce nuclear weapons, retaliation by Rove was never in doubt.
This is a lie within a lie. Bush didn't accuse Iraq of importing yellow-cake, he accused them of aspiring to import it, which was demonstrably true based on information available publicly.
Wilson himself is a liar. His statements are riddled with inaccuracies, which any newsman should have been able to pick apart given the interest and will to do so.
Iraq's trade mission to Niger was public knowledge (why Bush credited British intelligence with it is beyond me, since it wasn't secret). What we have learned since is that Niger secretly smuggled yellow-cake to Libya (Wilson's "proof" that Niger would never engage in illegal sales was that, well, they were illegal).
Well, he does look like Rush Limbaugh.
That's not journalism he's teaching...
I never heard of Editor and Publisher until they started running anti-Bush stories this past year. They seem to be somewhere to the left of Mao TseTung and somewhat stupider than al gore.
Does he seriously believe that the New York Times would risk jail to protect the White House?
As flawed as they are, the NYT is more than likely interested in protecting the use of anonymous sources in general, not the WH in particular.
"But how would you grade this clever fiction?"
If he's doing it to pander to lefties handing out speaking engagement honorariums, A+.
I'm surprised that the source was deemed acceptable; many aren't.
Fortunately, Mr Israel has a paper trail that indicates that his alleged familiarity with Mr Rove is somewhat over-stated. His politics are exactly what you would expect from a journalism professor at UMass.
Prof Israel maintained that 9/11 was Bush's fault for neglecting the Palestinians!!
He was a graduate student when he supposedly taught with Mr Rove! Seems to me that he suffers from similar delusions to Ward Churchill.
Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighters
I love the way this Israel guy begins by stating he is friends with Rove and then proceeds to stab Rove in the back with unsubstantiated claims. It's like Durbin (or other libs) saying they support the troops and then in the same breath compare our soldiers to Nazi's. Do they believe everyone is that stupid?
"The left wingnuts are so deceitful, they would have you believe that an American Hero Karl Rove controls the media."
Not that I don't respect Rove as political strategist, but since when have we started elevating a pollster and direct marketer to the status of "American hero"? Shouldn't we reserve that for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dwight Eisenhower, etc?
Supposing the reporter says, "Karl, if the CIA agent is Valerie Plame, and you can't tell me that, but if you say 'red' when I show you a blue card, I will know what you are really saying." The reporter holds up a blue card, Karl says "Red". Does that make Karl a criminal?
Point, set, match.
The best part of your link to the article by Israel are the comments people posted at the end. I only read the first five, but they are very entertaining. Here are a few select clips:
" The author of this article is an idiot and should resign from journalism."
"You sir, are a complete and utter moron. Did you receive you degree in Journalism from a cracker-jacks box? You and all your leftist b*tt-buddies make me sick. How many recounts were there in Florida? How many did Gore win? You are STILL talking about how W 'stole' the election. Even that paper that I wouldn't use in the cat-box, The New York Times, admitted that W won fair and square. Get over it. Better yet move to France, you will be much happier there. I feel sorry for your students. You must be brainwashing them with your leftist propaganda bovine scatology."
"Bill Clinton worked for eight years to resolve the conflict in the middle east? What a joke! I must have blinked and missed his eight years of work. All I saw was a month of forced feeding at the end of his term. Mr. Isreal is a typical arrogant, liberal journalist who is so full of his own misguided self-rightousness that he is completely out of touch with reality."
Rove is a political strategist. If he uses anyone, whose fault is that?
It's not the leaker that is using or abusing the first amendment right of freedom of the press, it's the person who prints or broadcasts the information.
Leftists are always quick to shout "Freedom of the Press" when the subject is protecting criminal or terrorist sources. But let the source be suspected to be someone close to President Bush, well that's a horse of different color. (Or in this case a horse's ass of a different color).
If this guy is a friend of Karl Rove---Karl Rove doesnt need any enemies.
That was making fun of the Left's hyperbolic fear of Rove, not celebrating it.
Like a student who never read the book, but only watched the movie: C-
If he was connected to the journalism dept. at UT, then he is very familiar with Robert Jensen. I'm sure you've seen his lunatic rantings on the talk shows.
how in the world does he know Rove leaked the name?
I'm sorry..I find it hard to believe that these two rat reporters(given the chance) would not *out* Rove if he was the leaker....someone convince me if I'm wrong
For some reason Colin Powell is in the back of my mind as the leaker. I don't know why, I'm probably dead wrong, but for some reason it's the gut feeling I have.
If these Israel and Jensen are typical of Professors of Journalism, the MSM is clearly drinking from a poisoned chalice.
Thought you two might be interested.....tell me why two rat reporters are willing to go to jail for Rove..
"For some reason Colin Powell is in the back of my mind as the leaker. I don't know why, I'm probably dead wrong, but for some reason it's the gut feeling I have."
My (current) top guess is one of Powell's aides. Powell's office seemed to leak a lot through Novak.
Well, the problems with this fellow's working theory are numerous, (of course he's clearly blinded by hate hence the intellectual dishonesty), but let's start with the fact that Rove has signed a waiver releasing reporters from any confidentiality agreements meaning he has set them free to reveal what he told them.
And of course, he did not reveal Plame's role in sending her husband to Niger. He did indeed discuss it after he learned about it.
Except when they're Bob Novak's anonymous sources. Then they demand Novak spill the beans and identify the dastardly source.
You're not wrong. Even if they truly were standing on principle that they would never reveal a source whoever it may be, Rove has signed a waiver releasing reporters from any confidentiality agreement.
Besides, Rove had no way of knowing about Plame's role or even Wilson going to Niger until he saw Wilson's op-ed, so it doesn't appear possible he was in possession of the information even had he wanted to "leak it".
Also, it hasn't even been established Plame was covert at the time or for many years, so whoever disclosed her role likely did not break any laws.
I missed this. Is there a source?
Bill Israel is so delusional that this article is actually funny. Rove must get a real kick out of reading this stuff.
Absolutely NOTHING is actually TAUGHT at U Mass - Amherst (or any other campus) - remember this is the STATE University system that went ballistic over the attempt to impose a requirement that students maintain a C average to remain in good academic standing at the schools. On at least one campus, located in a large city in the eastern part of the state, the faculty publicly stated they would lose well over 50% of their students. Of course, this was before the really dramatic efforts at grade inflation of the late 90's.
I wouldn't hire any graduate of U Mass w/o really carefully examining their abilty to rationally reason.
He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him.
Jonah Goldberg of NRO seems to be in the know about who the real leaker is.
July2: PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Rove didn't do it. But, as Glenn Reynolds notes, the possibility will cause many liberals to have a second case of whiplash (the first being their sudden disapproval of the investigation they essentially started when it became clear that the Times and Newsweek would get ensnared). Now that it seems possible Rove did it, many will suddenly re-fall in love with Patrick Fitzgerald. And if the person I *think* did it, did in fact do it, we will see even more plastic-collared liberals in the weeks to come.
Posted at 08:29 AM
July 5: ROVE ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten a lot of email from over the weekend asking me who I think the Plame leaker was if I think it wasn't Rove. I'm sorry to say I can't say until I get a green light to say. But I'm working on it. And, it's not a just wild guess. I could be wrong but my confidence is high.
He's just guessing even if he does say it's not just a wild guess.