Conservative defenders of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have settled on their No. 1 talking point: the grand jury investigation into the CIA leak scandal represents the “criminalization of politics.”
In other words, they say, the outing of a covert CIA agent in a time of war to punish a whistleblower is just everyday “politics” — nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing criminal. In fact, according to conservatives (as articulated by the National Review), the “criminalizing of politics” is actually “the most dangerous fire of this ordeal.”
To spread this talking point across the nation, the right has received a major assist from Fox News. According to a database search, every single television reference to the CIA leak scandal as the “criminalization of politics” in the last 30 days has been on Fox. Even more stunning: on every occassion, the phrase was introduced into the segment by a Fox News anchor or correspondent, never by a guest.
Below, a compilation of clips featuring Fox anchors Chris Wallace, Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney, Bill O’Reilly, and correspondent William Kristol: