On last night’s Hardball, David Shuster recycled another segment about pre-war intelligence in which he also recycled a lie that’s been popping up frequently on Hardball: that the indictment against Scooter Libby alleges that Libby and Dick Cheney discussed media strategy regarding Joseph Wilson’s wife on July 12, the same day Libby discussed the subject with two reporters:
SHUSTER: Of course what makes Cheney even more controversial is the Scooter Libby indictment. The Libby indictment says that Vice President Cheney told his chief of staff, Libby, on June 12, 2003, that Valerie Wilson, the wife of an administration critic, worked in a covert division of the CIA.
A month later, the indictment says that vice president Cheney gave Scooter Libby some media advice about the matter. And later that same day, Scooter Libby talked about the Wilsons to two well-known reporters.
But the indictment does not say that Libby and Cheney discussed media strategy. The indictment says:
On or about July 12, 2003, Libby flew with the Vice President and others to and from Norfolk, Virginia, on Air Force Two. On his return trip, Libby discussed with other officials aboard the plane what Libby should say in response to certain pending media inquiries…
It seems to me that the indictment is clear on this matter. Nor do I recall reading any reporting anywhere that independently alleges that Libby and Cheney discussed media strategy regarding Joe Wilson’s wife. If Hardball cares about salvaging what’s left of its reputation after the way they’ve covered the debate over pre-war intelligence, Shuster or Matthews will correct this statement on air.
Seixon.com has done some excellent critiques of both Hardball and Josh Marshall on this issue. You can also read more about this in my latest piece for National Review.