Bloggers are pondering Richard Armitage's role in the Plame debacle and wondering whether or not to be offended by Conan O'Brien's poorly timed plane-crash skit at the Emmys.
Plame Over? In this week's Newsweek, Michael Isikoff drops the bombshell that former Colin Powell deputy Richard Armitage. a notorious trafficker in Washington gossip, served as Bob Novak's original leak of information regarding Valerie Plame. Armitage learned of Wilson's identity from a classified State Department memo, one that did not mention Plame's maiden name or that she was a covert operative. This information comes a week in advance of the publication of the book Isikoff co-authored with David Corn, Hubris.
Liberals are still suspicious, and some doubt Armitage was the only leaker. Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly's Political Animal writes: "Whether his gossiping was innocent or not — about which I remain agnostic — the fact remains that several other people were also aggressively talking to multiple reporters about Plame's role at the same time. If Armitage really didn't have any malicious intent, it's a helluva coincidence that he happened to be gossiping about the exact same thing as a bunch of other people who did have malicious intent," he writes. Drum goes on to berate Isikoff and Corn for holding this information until the release of their book. "Being magazine reporters and all, shouldn't they have written about this at the time instead of saving it up to help promote their book? Just asking."
"[T]his story is a lot more interesting for the fact that it says Armitage didn't leak Plame's covert status, than it is for anything it says about Armitage," opines Emptywheel, a contributor to the liberal group blog The Next Hurrah. Former attorney Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake agrees, emphasizing that other leakers must exist as Armitage did not know Plame was a covert operative, something she calls "an essential piece of the charging puzzle for Patrick Fitzgerald's prosecution."
The Heretik, liberal fire-breather Joe Ivory Mattingly, churns out a neat image of Plame and Armitage before quipping about the latter that "[b]ig mouths who don't think through the implications of what they do? Seems there are a lot of those around in Washington."
Many on the right believe that Armitage was Novak's original source. "We certainly believe Armitgae was Novak's primary source for the Plame leak; the rest of his story we are taking with multiple grains of salt," writes conservative Tom Maguire, a dogged follower of the Plame investigation, of Just One Minute. Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters faults the investigation for not zeroing in on Armitage from the beginning, dubbing special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald a "dangerous Cotton Mather with a briefcase. What else should we think of a prosecutor who hauls people into court and jails them for contempt when his culprit confessed at the very beginning?" He's also a little unhappy with Armitage, who "did nothing while the nation spent years and millions of dollars chasing a series of red herrings, never speaking out to remove the mystery and end the witch hunt."
Beltway-based conservative Greg Tinti at The Political Pit Bull is pleased that this should finally put to rest the liberal assumption that someone in the White House spitefully leaked Plame's identity: "That Armitage was Novak's source was assumed by many and this seems to finally confirm that. It also should put to rest the irresponsible conjecture that there was a concerted effort within the administration to intentionally 'out' Valerie Plame," celebrates Tinti.
In light of the revelation, Wisconsin law professor and pre-eminent moderate blogger Ann Althouse chides liberals for continuing to harp on about White House leak: "Can you never back off and say that your side overdid it? It would improve your credibility you know," she scolds.
Read more about Armitage's involvement in the Plame scandal.
Too soon?: An early-morning plane crash in Kentucky on Sunday morning killed 49 of 50 abroad. Later in the evening, Conan O'Brien opened the Emmys with a skit about a plane crash. Though the skit was pegged to popular TV show Lost and did not show the plane actually crashing, critics complained that the skit was tasteless.
Celebrity-gossip blogger Molly Good offers her smart analysis of the intro: "As Carol Burnett once said, 'Comedy is tragedy plus time.' Unfortunately for the producers of the Emmy Awards last night, there wasn't so much 'time' between news of the plane crash in Kentucky and the opening sketch of the awards," she writes.
Libertarian David Weigel at Reason's Hit and Run wasn't offended. "Forgive me, but I just can't muster up the mandatory outrage over NBC running its filmed intro for the Emmys," he writes. "I completely understand how Kentucky viewers were shocked by this, as the Emmys began right after a local update on the crash. But hectoring NBC for insufficient pandering to tragedy seems a mighty lame tribute to 49 people."
What else happened besides the skit? L.A. gossip blog Defamer offered a long review of the Emmys (which it dubs "Hollywood Biggest Night For Those Who Have Yet To Take Their Careers To The Next Level"), complete with screenshots and requisite snark.
VH1 blog Best Week Ever rounds up its favorite moments from the ceremony, with categories ranging from "Closest Resemblance to Gay Frodo" to "Most Obviously Short Changed." Popsugar has a rich offering of Emmy after-party pictures.
Read more about the controversial skit.