Swirling a little more inside the pit

This Plame, CIA leak, treason, cluster f**k, whatever you want to call it seems to suck everyone near it inside its vortex like a hopped-up storm sewer. Bob Woodward, of the Washington Post-Woodstein-Watergate fame, is the latest.

I don’t know what to think about his revelations that he apparently heard about Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent before everyone else. Or the fact that he failed to inform his superiors at the paper. Having been a newspaper reporter I can definitely think of reasons not to tell the editors something right away. The reason? They wanted it yesterday and your info may be waaaaaaaaaaay premature and you might slither over the ends of the earths from now until retirement and still not find any proof of the BIG STORY. Thus, the editors will not smile upon you.

But it’s a bit curious that Woodward waited so long to tell and his books about the Bush presidency have been as if Bob had planted a hidden camera in one of GW’s eyebrows. He gotta lotta access is what I’m saying.

I’m still willing to give Woodward the benefit of the doubt. I probably do that more with reporters than I should but I was one, still am occasionally, and I see that they get piled on more due to expediency and spin rather than cold, hard facts. It seems the blogosphere’s big game is to pile on reporters. Some of this piling on comes from people who only regurgitate what has been regurgitated quite a few times removed that day.

I still think it is rather humorous how journalists are second-guessed at every turn by those who would be offended and even outraged if someone questioned the motives or methods of their occupation.

“That plumber should have used at least a 3/4-inch stilson wrench on that fixture!”
“The yard man just used a broom to sweep away the leaves on one section of the sidewalk instead of the leaf blower. How dare he!”
“My psychiatrist should have asked me about my mother!”
“My bartender only gave me a shot of tequila instead of a shot and a half!”

Well, I guess everybody has something to bitch about with people in every profession. The point is that journalists deal with a commodity much different and vastly more subjective than using the right wrench or a leaf blower. That would be information.

Journalists aren’t paid well as a rule. They are second-guessed at every turn by the public and brow-beaten by editors who think their title imparts a knowledge that is as imaginary as your little invisible childhood friend Benny (or my case an invisible apostle Peter). But so many expect perfection from those journalists and it is a standard never to be attained. Is something just a little wrong with this picture?

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