Today's Blogs

Outer Outed

Bloggers sort through conflicting accounts of the Novak-Armitage kerfuffle. They also question the objectivity of Saddam’s judge and vent over the outing of YouTube’s Lonelygirl15.

Outer Outed: A week after former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admitted to outing Valerie Plame to conservative columnist Robert Novak in 2003, Novak disputed his source’s characterization of the leak as “inadvertent.” According to Novak, Armitage was more specific about Plame’s CIA ties than he admits. Bloggers wonder who to believe.

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters calls Armitage’s leak to Novak “very deliberate indeed. He knew exactly what he did – and that means he could have resolved the entire scandal at any time between July and October, before the investigation got under way. More than ever, Armitage has been revealed as a manipulator and a fundamentally dishonest person. That’s not a crime, but it makes the entire Plame scandal a farce.” David Corn, who co-authored the new book that reveals Armitage as Novak’s original source, writes on the Huffington Post that Novak’s recent column doesn’t mesh with his earlier, more casual characterization of the leak: “Novak’s current account may well be an accurate recollection. There’s no reason to take Armitage’s quasi-face-saving version at face-value. But perhaps Novak can explain in yet one more column why he first called the leak an ‘offhand revelation’?”

Bulldog at DailyKos figures Novak is just deflecting blame from Karl Rove, who has repeatedly testified before a grand jury over the leak: “My take on the column is that Rove is out to get Armitage and is using Novak to start the Rove rehabilitation effort.  However, it could be that Nova[k] is just pissed that he Armitage wasn’t man enough to come clean.”

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute, a dogged follower of and leading blogger on the Plame scandal, thinks there may be more to the story: “[H]ow did Novak know … that Ms. Plame was a WMD specialist who sent her hubby to Niger?  *IF* Armitage really only mentioned that ‘she worked out at the agency’, Novak would have to be psychic (in which case his vast powers have been underutilized over the many years) or he would have to have another mystery source.”

Meanwhile, Plame has added Armitage to her civil suit against Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, and Rove. Blogger/history teacher Betsy at Betsy’s Page argues that the “bogus” suit is already doomed: “If that case ever goes forward, they’re going to have a problem given that Armitage’s story contradicts their whole storyline of a partisan attack. And, Libby’s and Rove’s lawyers are going to have fun deposing Joe Wilson.”

Read more about the Armitage leak.

Poor judgment: A former Baath-party judge presiding over Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial said Thursday that the defendant was “not a dictator. People around you made you (look like) a dictator.” The chief prosecutor had earlier accused the Judge Abdullah al-Amiri of harboring pro-Saddam bias. Bloggers suspect meddling.

“I guarantee that either this guy has been bought off or his family has been threatened with death if Saddam is found guilty,” writes conservative TOMO at The Tomo Report. “What a sad joke. Now I almost wish this trial was taking place in the Hague.” An editor at the right-leaning group blog Webloggin suspects Saddam loyalists, some of whom have murdered members of the prosecution, may have swayed the judge: “Better to coax him to your side than flat out murder him. Thankfully Saddam Hussein is being judged by a panel of judges and not just his old buddies that served under him for a good part of their career.”

Julian Brooks at Mother JonesMoJo Blog sees his hopes for a just trial dashed: “There was I, waxing sentimental about Saddam’s trial and the sight of a Kurd taunting the big guy, and now…from the sublime to the ridiculous.” Mohamad at The Thinking Lebanese thinks that the “macabre comedy” has achieved a “level of unintended self-mockery that astounds and confounds but above all saddens while being morbidly entertaining.Is this Monty Python or the trial of a dictator?”

Read more about Saddam’s judge.

LonelyGirl15 exposed: A popular YouTube series about a homeschooled teenager posting her thoughts was exposed as an elaborate hoax, produced by aspiring filmmakers with an actress from New Zealand. The videos had attracted a following both devoted and divided over their authenticity. Bloggers speculate what this means for the narrative form.

Edward McElvain at marketing blog SharpeTangent compares the videos to the Blair Witch Project: “[W]hereas Blair Witch used authentic media in an inauthentic setting, Lonelygirl15 used authentic media in an authentic setting. The great advantage of telling a story through a video blog is that the audience is asked to take a much smaller leap of faith because there is an expectation of reality from this medium.”

Marketing exec Tom Hayes at TomBomb finds a moral in Lonelygirl’s demise: “Trust is the new coin of the realm.  You can’t fool your people (customers) and expect to win.  You can’t conceal your foolery anymore, because customers are (eventually) all-knowing.  And, you can’t hope your customers will forgive you, they won’t.”

Read more about Lonelygirl15. Watch the Lonelygirl videos here.