The Media Research Center noted at the time that the Cisneros indictment generated 18 seconds on ABC's "World News Tonight," while the CBS "Evening News" didn't get around to it until the following day, then allocated just nine seconds to the story, choosing to focus, instead, on a two-minute report about how El Nino was impacting butterflies. Only NBC bothered with a full report the day of the indictment. The following morning, "Today" gave it a few seconds, but neither ABC's "Good Morning America," nor CBS' "This Morning" mentioned Cisneros the day after the indictment.
By contrast, the Libby indictment story was treated as "Breaking News" and a "News Alert," the same designations given to terrorist threats.
After his acquittal, Mike Espy said the four years and $17 million spent by the government on his case (plus his own legal fees) was a waste and that the Independent Counsel Law should be reformed. I agree with this Democrat.
Since the Independent Counsel Law was birthed in 1978 in response to the Watergate scandal, there have been scores of investigations, but few convictions of those indicted. It has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Most of those indicted were either acquitted, won appeals judgments, plea-bargained to lesser charges, or were pardoned by the presidents they served. Those put through the legal wringer spent millions of dollars on lawyers and were placed under enormous professional and personal stress.
Enough Democrats and Republicans have been forced to run this gauntlet that perhaps a truly bipartisan solution can be found to end it. That Libby's indictments are not about policy, but about who remembers what and when, ought to be the final straw in this ridiculous process.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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