Tuesday, August 29, 2006

JonBenet Plame

Yesterday was a day when some really obvious things were finally said. We learned that the pathetic John Mark Carr had nothing to do with the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, except in his own fevered imaginings. We also learned that the primary leaker in the Valerie Plame case was not Karl Rove or some other White House political operative, but rather Richard Armitage, a career/careerist State Department official who was Colin Powell's chief deputy. So what do we make of this?

I think that one obvious conclusion is that the news media, despite all the natural disasters and inhumanity that could be story focuses, has entirely too little to do. The amount of effort that has been expended on telling the JonBenet Ramsey story has been nothing short of astounding. JonBenet Ramsey died at the same age my daughter is now - 6. She barely had begun her life, but the life she led was filled with artifice, pageantry and meaningless ritual. She'd been dolled up and turned into a very prepubescent sex object. It was a horrible thing that she was murdered, but the fascination about her, 10 years on, is bizarre.

Meanwhile, the Plame case turns out to have been about nothing. Nothing at all. There was no White House conspiracy. There was no shadowy cabal trying to bring Joe Wilson or Valerie Plame down. As it turns out, she likely wasn't even a covert agent any more. But she was useful as a truncheon with which to beat the Bush administration. And meanwhile, Scooter Libbey can go join former Reagan official Ray Donovan in the line where people go when they try to get their reputation back.

I'd like it if the news media would think a little bit about what's gone on here, about the resources they've wasted covering these non-stories, and consider what could have happened if they'd devoted some of those resources to telling other stories. But that won't happen. And I guess I'd rather set up a shoot in Boulder, CO than Darfur, too. But the rest of us owe it to ourselves to think a little bit about it, too. Maybe, just maybe, we should demand more from our self-appointed watchdogs? I'm just sayin....

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