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July 21, 2004

The "Suspicious Timing" of the Leak

Someone else noted the transparency of Josh Marshall's "what I object to is the timing of this leak" defense. I'd like to give credit, but I forget where I saw it.

At any rate, Serial Spinner Josh Marshall is rather blase about the crime committed here; he's only concerned about Sandy Berger's lousy politics (i.e., why didn't he tell Kerry or absent himself from his campaign) and the "timing" of the leak.

He's pretty darn sure it's all Republican dirty-trickery. After all, the 9-11 report and the Democratic convention are coming up. This leak is obviously timed to "distract" us from the real news.

Questions for Mr. Marshall:

1. Please offer us all a date between now and November 2 when such a leak would not have "distracted" us from other news/other events which you would deem much more important.

If it's the timing you object to, please offer a date upon which the news could have been released that would not have caused you to complain. If there is no such date, then it is clearly not the "timing" you object to at all. If that is the case, then you object not to the "timing" of this leak, but to the fact that the public has been informed about this matter at all.

2. If you think the information should have never been released -- or at least not before the elections -- please explain your reasons for believing that the general right of the public to receive information is suddenly outweighed by the partisan needs of the Democratic Party.

We've had leaks regarding the Plame investigation. I don't seem to recall your being upset by those leaks; nor did you argue such leaks "distracted" us from other news.

Is it simply the case that leaks that hurt Democrats are "bad" while those that hurt the Republicans are "good"? What accounts for this curious politically-sensitive judgment regarding the value of leaks?

3. The upcoming 9-11 report has already been much-reported on, thanks to numerous leaks before its official publication. Were all of those leaks "distractions" from other news as well?

4. Everything that hurts Democrats is claimed, by you, to be a "distraction" from what the public should be focusing on. But every news is a "distraction" from other news, in the sense that all news competes with all other news for attention.

Please explain your belief that this news is of such a low order of importance that it it "distracts" from all other news and thus is insignificant compared to all other news. Is this news, for example, of less significance than Britney's latest wedding? Is there no less-important news that the Berger scandal can and should crowd out in the public's attention?

5. Political conventions are notoriously news-free events. They've become mere pageants, as some call them. Please explain why we should say the Berger scandal "distracts" us from the news-free Democratic pageant, rather than the news-free Democratic pageant distracting us from the Berger scandal.

Can you offer actual argument for your implicit belief that a former National Security Advisor stealing codeword-classified documents is less important that the upcoming political pageant?

6. Is the Plame non-scandal similarly a "distraction" from the real news? If that news is so important as to not be a "distraction," but indeed news worth examining, please explain your reasons for believing so.

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posted by Ace at 02:42 AM

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