This may go down as Black Tuesday for members of the White House wing of the MSM. They awakened this morning to learn that Karl Rove will not be indicted in the Valerie Plame kerfuffle, and then discovered that Rove's boss, President Bush, had secretly flown to Baghdad, with only a small media pool in tow. Bush's trip was kept extremely close-hold for security reasons; according to some accounts, only six presidential aides knew about the trip in advance.
In Baghdad, Mr. Bush looked courageous and confident, standing next to Iraq's new Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. With the new Iraqi cabinet finally formed--and terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi at room temperature--Mr. Bush had plenty of reasons to go to Iraq, and put a positive face on his policies. For a MSM that revels in painting Iraq as a quagimre and Mr. Bush's Vietnam, the unmistakable images of progress must have been hard to report. It was equally difficult for them to note Mr. Bush's courage in going to Iraq. During his brief helicopter flight from the airport to the Green Zone, the president essentially gave the terrorists a shot at him, although the threat from shoulder-fired SAMs and RPGs has actually decreased in recent months.
More galling (from the media perspective) was the news about Karl Rove. Borrowing a phrase from A.J. Strata, special prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald apparently decided to quit while he was behind, and decided aginst indicting Rove on charges relating to the Plame case. Readers will note that the AP dutifully recites most of the canards about the scandal, including Rove's alleged role in "outing" CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame, husband of Bush Administration critic (and former Ambassador) Joe Wilson.
Never mind that Ms. Plame was not an undercover operative at the time her identity became known, nor the fact that her CIA affiliation was the agency's worst-kept secret since it operated Air America in Southeast Asia. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald was unable to indict anyone on the original accusation, because (duh) activities in the Plame affair did not meet the clear legal requirements for illegally outing undercover intelligence operatives. Fitzgerald managed to indict former Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby on charges of lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice in the Plame matter, but that case is anything but a slam-dunk. In fact, with Fitzgerald passing on a Rove indictment, Mr. Libby and his lawyers must be increasingly confident about their chances of winning an acquittal, when that case goes to trial. With the Rove inquiry now over, Libby's legal team will gain access to additional information developed by Fitzgerald's investigators, potentially bolstering the defense's case.
It's all a bit too much for the lefties to bear. Mark Coffey at Decision '08 has compiled their Top 10 Reactions to the End of Fitzmas. Read and enjoy.