Jun 19, 2006

On Rove, Truthout, and Journalistic Ethics

(Toledo, OH) I read with interest the column by Joe Lauria in yesterday's Washington Post. He detailed how reporter Jason Leopold used his name in getting his "scoop" that Karl Rove had been indicted in connection with his role in leaking CIA officer Valerie Plame's name to the media.

Rove, as it later turned out, was not indicted, and Truthout.org looked mighty foolish in running Leopold's story.

Lauria details some of Leopold's sordid past, which makes for titillating reading, but I was more struck by a comment that was attributed to Leopold.

"A scoop is a scoop," wrote Leopold in his memoir, News Junkie. "Other journalists all whine about ethics, but that's a load of crap."

As a working journalist I have been privy to more than a few stories that have been shelved because there was no way to corroborate the information. Journalists who choose to do otherwise sink to the level of gossip columnists, or worse, paid character assassins.

I am no fan of Karl Rove, but he deserves the same treatment as any other subject of an investigative journalist. Leopold, however, is sticking by his story, despite the fact that Fitzgerald publicly denied Rove will be indicted.

He speculates that a federal case numbered "06 cr 128" or "Sealed v. Sealed," is really an indictment of Karl Rove. Of course, Leopold has not actually seen the documents in the sealed case, but assures us that the fact that teh case was filed by the same grand jury hearing the Plame case is "proof" that Rove will be indicted.

Hmmm. I have never worked for an editor who would touch such an unsubstantiated story - no documents, no sources, just intriguing coincidences. Truthout and Leopold have sunk to new lows for themselves, and continue to lose credibility by printing rumor disguised as truth.

Jason Leopold - what price for your soul?


Anonymous said...

Jason Leopold has no soul to sell.

Anonymous said...

At least Leopold didn't publish Rove's book proposal. That puts him head and shoulders above some "journalists."

historymike said...


Touché, plugged-in anonymous reader.

Kate said...

Story yesterday:



My Unwitting Role in the Rove 'Scoop'

By Joe Lauria
Sunday, June 18, 2006; B02

The May 13 story on the Web site Truthout.org was explosive: Presidential adviser Karl Rove had been indicted by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in connection with his role in leaking CIA officer Valerie Plame's name to the media, it blared. The report set off hysteria on the Internet, and the mainstream media scrambled to nail it down. Only . . . it wasn't true.

Dariush said...

That Leopold quote about journalistic ethics being a load of crap is disturbing. Aside from Truthout, he's written for numerous media outlets, web and print.

Now, as with Stephen Glass, everything he has ever had published should come under scrutiny with a microscope. Unless he actually "ponies up with names and specifics".

Howling Latina said...

I dunno know.

Personally, I always thought Leopold might have mole inside some newsroom.

TruthOut is still sticking to their story; and another blogger presented a scenario where both Rove's attorneys and Leopold got the story correct.

I find it more than a little disturbing that no proof of Fitzgerald's assurance to Luskin has been provided; and that Fitzgerald's office refuses to confirm Rove is off the hook.

I've written about Plame on and off, and for me, too many issues remain unresolved.

At the top, why won't Fitzgerald's office confirm that tbeir office does not "expected" to indict Rove?

That is certainly easy enough to do.

ToledoNative said...

Call me a tin-foil conspiracy theorist, call me an eternal optimist, call me irresponsible...(ok you get the idea!:>)

This is my theory.

Rove was to be indicted on May 13th, but in a last minute plea deal, he ratted someone out (probably Cheney) and Fitzgerald deemed it good enough for Rove to dodge the bullet.

It's a two-fer for Bush & Rove; Rove's attorney gets to say he's off the hook, Bush has his 'brain' back...and a left-wing source of news gets slimed because they jumped the gun.

Kate said...

Does anyone else think it's ironic that all this time and money is being spent to prosecute someone for releasing 'loosely' held info? In that it would appear that those in the know in the DC crowd already knew Plame's employer and role?

Or is the commonly known bit a red herring?

Hooda Thunkit said...

Sometimes, when you choose to dance on the razor's edge. . .

Anonymous said...

Hey idiot! Exactly when and where did Fitzgerald publicly deny Rove wasn't going to be indicted? NOWHERE. That comment came from Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin. Fitzgerald has yet to make an announcment or confirm the information. SO if you're going to talk ethics well then you better get your own story straight you fucking idiot and don't put quotes in other people's mouths. Don't say Fitzgerald said something when he didn't. That's not very ethical is it now?