A very long June 14 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard demands that the "drive-by media" (a term apparently coined by Rush Limbaugh) apologize to "innocent victim" Karl Rove, now that Patrick Fitzgerald has purportedly decided not to indict him.
But Sheppard ignores a few things. First, this statement comes not from Fitzgerald but, rather, from Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, who has a vested interest in making his client look good (or at least unindicted). Further, said attorney refuses to release any actual evidence to substantiate his claim.
Second, Luskin never said that Fitzgerald said Rove was "innocent." Innocence and "does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove" are not synonymous.
Third, if this scenario sounds vaguely familiar, that's because it is. Back in 2000, if you'll recall, independent counsel Robert Ray released the final report on the Whitewater case, in which he announced that the Clintons wouldn't be charged with anything related to it. Sheppard nor his superiors at the MRC weren't running around declaring the Clintons innocent and demanding that the media apologize for all that speculation about them. In fact:
-- Brent Bozell called the report "flaccid."
-- The MRC highlighted that the report concluded "not that there was no wrongdoing but that 'the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either the President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in criminal conduct.'"
-- The MRC disapprovingly cited Geraldo Rivera's demand that the New York Times apologize to the Clintons for their coverage of Whitewater, scoffing at the notion that the paper was part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy."
-- The MRC bashed ABC for noting "the taxpayer cost and human toll on Hillary of the Whitewater probe."
If Rove is "innocent," then the Clintons are too. If the Clintons were not cleared by the final Whitewater report despite no charges being filed, then Rove is similarly not cleared. We won't hold our breath waiting for Sheppard to concede this logical point.