The Corner

Apology to Byron

To be clear, because I don’t think I was and thus I understand that he took it that way, I am not accusing Byron of changing his position based on whose ox was being gored.

I do not mean this as the usual weasel of “I was misinterpreted.” I expressed myself poorly, and that is obviously my fault.

I am in no position to render an opinion about whether Byron’s reporting on Libby/Fitzgerald is suggestive of sympathies, if any, different from his coverage of Clinton/Starr. I’m certain I read whatever Byron wrote back during Lewinsky because he is a stellar reporter and if he wrote something I’d have thought it worth reading. But I don’t recall what, if any, sympathies were suggestive from his reporting and I haven’t gone back to check.

My remark about whose ox is being gored is a general observation about commentary on the Libby case from the Right. In my view, there was a decided emphasis on Clinton’s lies in the Lewinsky days, a revulsion at the obfuscatory tactics of Clinton’s lawyers, and an energetic effort to dispel claims from the Carvilles of the world that Starr was an overzealous prosecutor.

Now, from the same quarters, there is a penchant to be dismissive of the alleged dishonesty of Libby (wasn’t he’s busy? how could he remember every conversation with reporters? maybe his recollection failed, etc.); a very respectful reception of motions by Libby’s lawyers (which are patently aimed — as they should be — to derail the case before it can ever be publicly aired); and a very exacting assessment of Fitzgerald’s every move (did he overstate things at the press conference? why won’t he tell us about Plame’s status? is he withholding discovery? why did he indict for obstruction if there was no underlying crime?).

Maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe everyone called both cases dispassionately right down the middle, and I am just hyper-sensitive because Fitzgerald is a friend of mine. But I don’t think so. To be clear, that is not a comment about Byron. I mean it generally.

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