Hello, Media Matters! Did you notice that the NY Times pulled the rug out from under you yesterday? I didn't think so.
Let's see, here is the Media Matters post complaining that CBS News and the LA Times are not on board with the media consensus that Bush lowered the bar when he announced that, in the Plame leak investigation, he would fire anyone who "committed a crime". The MM people then cite the NY Times in support of their view:
Responding to the July 2003 outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, the White House made an unqualified pledge to fire any administration official involved in leaking Plame's identity. But CBS News and the Los Angeles Times reported this pledge as narrower than it actually was, claiming that President Bush would fire anyone who "illegally leaked" Plame's identity...
...Bush himself narrowed his prior pledge at a July 18 press conference to cover only those administration officials "who committed a crime." The New York Times noted that Bush's new statement constituted a departure from prior White House promises to fire anyone involved in the leak:
President Bush changed his stance today on his close adviser Karl Rove, stopping well short of promising that anyone in his administration who helped to unmask a C.I.A. officer would be fired.
"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Mr. Bush said in response to a question, after declaring, "I don't know all the facts; I want to know all the facts."
For months, Mr. Bush and his spokesmen have said that anyone involved in the disclosure of the C.I.A. officer's identity would be dismissed. The president's apparent raising of the bar for dismissal today, to specific criminal conduct, comes amid mounting evidence that, at the very least, Mr. Rove provided backhanded confirmation of the C.I.A. officer's identity.
Hard luck, chaps - the Times is an uncertain ally on this. In fact, if you follow your link to the Time story currently at that address, the author is still David Stout, but the editors changed his direction a bit. Quite a bit:
WASHINGTON, July 18 - President Bush said today that he would fire anyone in his administration who has broken the law in the unmasking of a C.I.A. officer two years ago.
Asked about his close adviser Karl Rove, who is at the center of an investigation into the disclosure of the officer's identity, Mr. Bush said: "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration. I don't know all the facts; I want to know all the facts."
The remarks appeared to shift the standard for dismissal that has been expressed repeatedly over many months by Mr. Bush's spokesmen - from promises to fire anyone who played a role in the disclosure, to Mr. Bush's statement today that criminal conduct would have to be involved.
The president's comment today, however, was similar to one he made in 2003, when he said that anyone in his administration who had "violated law" would be dismissed.
Democrats pounced on the remarks as a raising of the bar for dismissal. However, Mr. Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, rejected the suggestion that Mr. Bush had added a "qualifier" to the standards for his aides' conduct.
For months, Mr. Bush's spokesmen have said that anyone involved in the disclosure of the C.I.A. officer's identity would be dismissed. Today's developments come amid mounting evidence that, at the very least, Mr. Rove provided backhanded confirmation of the C.I.A. officer's identity.
How about that? The Times front-pager by Sanger and Stevenson provides more background on the Sept 30 press avail where Bush set the standard at "violated the law". And I see from these Media Matters post that, although they are familiar with part of Bush's Sept 30 statement, they would prefer not to puzzle their readers with the "violated the law" portion of Bush's comments. Gosh - it's almost as if Media Matters doesn't want their readers to have all the facts. That does not seem to be very "reality based".
Here is the key Times excerpt - although the words may pain MM, they will surely laud the placement, which is well down in paragraph twelve:
White House statements on this issue, dating back over the two years of the Wilson case, have varied. On Sept. 30, 2003, Mr. Bush used language akin of what he said on Monday. "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," he said then. "And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."
At other moments, though, Mr. Bush's language has been less precise. In Sea Island, Ga. in June 2004, Mr. Bush was asked whether he would fire anyone who was involved in leaking Ms. Wilson's name - which might or might not violate the law, depending on the circumstances. Without hesitation, Mr. Bush said yes.
Yes, we have a view on this opposite to Media Matters. And there is good news - Roberts has been announced as the Supreme Court nominee, and nobody cares about Valerie Plame!