One of the great documents of our time was released yesterday. It’s by the editor of the Truthout website, and it purports to explain how and why Truthout’s Jason Leopold came to report that Karl Rove had been indicted on May 12, 2006 — in light of the fact that Rove’s lawyer announced last week the White House official would not be indicted for his role in the Plamegate scandal. Truthout’s answer is that Rove has too been indicted, and that he has cut some kind of deal with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that allowed him to say he had been cleared.
I don’t know when I’ve read anything quite this crazy — at least not for a decade or more, when far-Right versions of the far-Left Truthout maniacs were alleging that Bill Clinton had been a secret CIA agent during his time as governor of Arkansas profiting from small planes flying drugs in and out of Central America and ordering the murder of two teenage boys who saw too much at the Mena airstrip.
To be honest, I don’t think Marc Ash, the editor of Truthout, actually believes what he wrote. I think he’s got a marketing crisis on his hands. Truthout’s website puts it this way: “The growth and success of TO can be linked directly to the support our readers have shown for the project. As many of you may know, TO is 100% reader supported. We have no corporate sponsors, no advertising, and no pop-ups. This news source depends upon its readers for its survival. Sure that can be annoying, and at times intrusive, but it’s better, because we answer to you.” I suspect that Truthout’s aggressive “reporting” on Plamegate was a major moneymaker for Ash’s operation, and Ash knows full well that a retraction of it would place the future of his website in jeopardy.
Fitzgerald won’t be closing up shop for at least a year, and Ash can keep hope alive on a daily basis — and keep the money flowing from the sorts of people who will swallow almost any kind of flim flam as long as it reinforces their ideological hatreds. A lot of people on the Right made money off the Mena stuff (and other anti-Clinton stuff) in the ’90s from angry nuts with checkbooks, and it’s easier today with a credit card and a website like Truthout.