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Friday, August 21, 2009

Karl Rove Launches a Slimy Spin Campaign

Karl Rove never has been one to let the law stand in the way of his political ambitions. Now we discover that Rove won't let the facts stand in the way of his political spin.

The Wall Street Journal and The Birmingham News on Thursday both ran op-ed pieces that essentially said Rove had proven himself clean in the U.S. attorney firings and the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

The WSJ piece was written by Rove, and The Birmingham News piece might as well have been. It raises pretty much the same points, and repeats the same lies, as the Rove-written piece.

Is it coincidence that two of the most right-wing editorial pages in the country ran pro-Rove op-ed pieces on the same day? I doubt it. It appears to be part of an orchestrated spin campaign--one that clearly is detached from reality.

Rove's WSJ piece borders on the delusional. Rove says his Congressional testimony showed he had little to do with the U.S. attorney firings; in fact, it showed he was right in the middle of them. Rove says he willingly gave sworn testimony; in fact, he had to be forced into giving testimony that was not under oath and was not in public; Rove says Alabama attorney and Siegelman-case whistleblower Jill Simpson did not testify before the House Judiciary Committee; in fact, she did just that in fall 2007.

Does anyone edit the slop that goes on the WSJ's editorial page?

David Fiderer provides an excellent summation of Rove's scribblings at Huffington Post:

Karl Rove can't help himself. The more he talks the more he suggests that he's guilty as sin. His throw-crap-against-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks piece in The Wall Street Journal constitutes his latest non-denial about corrupt dealings with the Justice Department.

Fiderer then expertly exposes Rove's lies in the WSJ piece:

Rove's lies could not be more blatant. Simpson gave sworn testimony for the House Judiciary Committee, with questioning by Democratic staffers, on September 14, 2007. Gov. Siegelman was never called to testify by any agency or committee. Rove never testified for a Justice Department review of the Siegelman case. In fact, there's no indication that the Justice Department has considered the prima facie evidence of lying, concealment of evidence and witness intimidation by federal prosecutors.

Larisa Alexandrovna reports at Raw Story that Rove's piece indicates he might have improperly received inside information from the Department of Justice:

Rove’s remarkable admission that he “understand[s] that Mr. Siegelman and Ms. Simpson refused to cooperate with the Justice Department’s review of his claim of political persecution, while I willingly gave sworn testimony,” opens both Rove himself and and the OPR to questions of serious impropriety.

Pricilla Duncan, Simpson’s former attorney, said during a Thursday morning phone interview that she was concerned and wanted to know “how Rove could possibly know who the [Department of Justice] was interviewing and which witnesses were cooperating or not?”

U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says the Rove op-ed raises serious questions about the ethics of The Wall Street Journal:

When Rupert Murdoch acquired the Journal, substantial concerns were raised about the number of media properties he owned and the right wing bias of his news ventures. Many questioned whether the Wall Street Journal would become just another New York Post or, worse, Fox News.

While the Journal’s editorial page had been conservative for some time, the news division had been largely balanced and thorough. (Indeed, the reporter’s online piece is balanced and thorough.) Many wondered whether Murdoch would put his right wing slant on the news pages as well.

The Journal’s handling of this chapter of the USA scandal seems to bring that question to a head—is it a sign that the editorial staff of the Journal’s news division—or at least its editing—has taken on Murdoch’s right-wing bias?

As for The Birmingham News, there never has been much doubt about its status as a right-wing mouthpiece. And that is only confirmed with its most recent editorial about Rove and the Siegelman prosecution.

The paper states, in essence, that Rove raised his right hand and testified under oath, so Siegelman should do the same thing. Never mind that Rove did not testify under oath, and Siegelman never has been called by Congress to testify at all. Just consider the News' statement that Siegelman should testify about something . . . anything:

We're not talking about requiring him to testify about the criminal charges against him; that would be unconstitutional, and wrong. We're talking about him giving sworn testimony about the political conspiracy he alleges is behind his conviction.
How nonsensical is this? Siegelman alleges that he was the VICTIM of a political conspiracy. The whole point of a conspiracy is to keep the victim in the dark about what is happening. So what is Siegelman supposed to know and say about actions that were hidden from him?

Thursday's writings reveal Rove and his Birmingham compatriots to be borderline unbalanced. Is this how people express themselves when they are feeling significant heat?

If so, perhaps these op-ed pieces are a good sign.

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