The Scooter Paradigm

by digby

We've already talked about these latest revelations about McCain and the Keating Five, but I want to look at it from a slightly different angle.

Yes, yes, McCain is a lying piece of work who has spent his career basically acting the character of the heroic Top Gun maverick who flew a little bit too close to the sun, got burned and then spent the rest of his career pretending to seek redemption by becoming a reformer of the system that almost destroyed him. It's crap. He's corrupt, always has been.

But this latest doesn't just indict McCain. It indicts the press corps too:

[T]he Ethics Committee's was not the only investigation into the scandal. There were two other probes at the time that got barely any public attention--both of which largely focused on McCain himself. These were probes into illicit leaks about the proceedings of the Ethics Committee--leaks that repeatedly benefited McCain and hurt his Keating Five colleagues. One of those senators described the leaks at the time as a "violation of ethical behavior at least as serious as anything of which we senators have been accused."

The leaks, if they were coming from a senator, were also illegal. All five senators--including McCain--had testified under oath and under the U.S. penal code that the leaks did not come from their camps. The leaks were also prohibited by rules of the Senate Ethics Committee; according to the rules of the Senate, anyone caught leaking such information could face expulsion from the body. These, then, were not the usual Washington disclosures: Discovered, they could have stopped the career of any Washington politician in his tracks.

Golly, if only we'd known.

I'm going to call this The Scooter Paradigm, wherein the press reports stories that feature the press (sometimes even themselves personally) as if they are reporting on tribal chieftains in Afghanistan. In other words, as if they are reporting on something foreign and unknowable. The fact is that there are some people who know the truth about this from the beginning and they're called "reporters." They knew then and they know now that they were being leaked to by a lying creep who was trying to cover his ass. And, in their minds, that's exactly the same as protecting the identity of some low level whistleblower at the SEC who discovers that powerful people are committing crimes. Nobody said a word.

I will never understand why reporters think it's so important that they protect people who lie to them and use them for nefarious political reasons. They sit idly by while a man like McCain creates a completely phony persona, wines and dines them and treats them to his "unvarnished" off-the-record musings all the while at least some of them (and their editors) know that he is completely full of shit.

He's run for president twice now. And it took until four days before the election for this story of McCain's perfidious treatment of his fellow senators and cover-up of his crimes to surface? A story about leaks to the press? Can we all see the problem here?