Be Careful What You Ask For

When you start a witch hunt or revolution, be prepared to be consumed by it.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I am not the first to say it. It is delightful to watch news reporters squirm this week as they realize they might be shipped off to the pokey.

Way back when people pretended to care about such things, someone leaked Valerie Plame’s name to Robert Novak. Other reporters also got the story. Novak ran the story that Plame worked at the CIA. Whether the leaker or Novak knew that Plame worked undercover is unknown, but everyone speculates the leak was a way to get back at former ambassador Joseph Charlatan Wilson (no that’s not what the “C” in his middle name actually stands for). The media, willing to find anything to hang around Bush’s neck, seized on the story in a way they never did with similar things Clinton had done.

The media demanded an investigation. A special prosecutor was needed, they said. Well, they got what they asked for. Then they shut up. The media refused to cooperate with the prosecutor, despite the causal event leading to the prosecution existing solely because of the media. Now the prosecutor is hauling them off to jail. Or at least he has asked a judge to order certain reporters to jail. The whole affair reeks of media arrogance. For a long time the media have been under a misguided notion that they actually were protected under the first amendment from revealing sources. While the government gives them lots of leeway, there really is no special protection for the media.

They begged to find a crime. Some will now do time. In the end, perhaps they will learn the lesson Robespierre finally learned as he rested his neck on the guillotine: when you start a witch hunt or revolution, be prepared to be consumed by it.

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts