THE BLOG
04/06/2006 12:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Scooter Libby Pits George W. Bush Against Natalee Holloway

Thursday's explosive story about Bush's role in the Plame leak sets a perfect marker for those of us who argue that media coverage of the Bush years has been less than stellar (to be polite).

Here's the story: "Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to disclose the contents of a highly classified intelligence assessment to the media to defend the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, according to papers filed in federal court on Wednesday by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby testified to a federal grand jury that he had received "approval from the President through the Vice President" to divulge portions of a National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to the court papers. Libby was said to have testified that such presidential authorization to disclose classified information was "unique in his recollection," the court papers further said."

Now let's see whether cable news nets give this more attention than the disappearance of a young woman in Aruba. And let's see whether the major print outlets give it the prominence it deserves. And let's see if the Russerts of this world hammer administration officials about it with the fierceness they reserve for Democrats. And let's see if The Note finds some way to mitigate it and play defense for Bush (a rhetorical question, of course).

I've written about scandal fatigue and about the trajectory of these kinds of Bush fiascos. The media's role in the process is undeniable. So here we are yet again. Let's watch what happens...

UPDATE: Not unexpectedly, there's massive blog coverage of this scandal. The question over the next several days is whether or not we'll get a functioning triangle on the left, a coming together of the netroots, the Democratic establishment and the press to bring this story to a head. If so, Bush and his administration will sustain major political damage; if not, this will follow a long string of similar outrages into the memory hole. My head tells me that the elements are in place for the former, my gut tells me that despite an initial flurry, we're headed for the latter. Time will tell.