My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


A Remarkable Story

I cannot believe the Denver Post ran with this story:

Anger and sadness settled Saturday on those who remembered [Lewis "Scooter" Libby] for his lifelong service to the community and blamed his [demise] on excessive publicity surrounding the scandal that toppled his career.

Harvard-educated [Libby], 50, who had been [well-liked in the Washington political scene], resigned from his nearly [6-year-old] post as Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff in relation to the investigation surrounding the Valerie Plame leak investigation. While no charges were ever filed specifically related to the alleged leak of Plame's name and CIA status, charges of perjury and obstruction of justice were filed, and Libby was convicted earlier this year]

The former [Chief of Staff] was dealing with a collapsing career, prison time and media scrutiny of his personal life.

"I think the media and the special prosecutor focused on facts that were not germane to [the investigation]" said Rosemary Rodriguez, U.S. Election Assistance commissioner and former Denver city councilwoman. "I hope my friend Larry is at peace, because he couldn't find it here. He's led a life of service ... and it's really sad that we couldn't give him any kind of benefit of the doubt when he needed it."

[Libby was sentenced to 30 months prison time and a substantial fine. He has] a wife and two adult children.

"I think it's such a tragic incident []" said Paul Sandoval, former state senator and a friend of Libby's for more than 20 years.
"He is an outstanding man, a great lawyer, a great [servant]. He had everything there. He must have been under a great deal of [stress] and probably [just got tripped up]'.

"Beloved and loyal"
[Libby's] attorney released a statement on behalf of the family calling him a "beloved husband, father, son, brother, son-in-law and loyal friend."

"The [Libby] family extends its gratitude to the multitude of people who supported Lewis despite unfair and one-sided attempts to publicly try him in the press by attacking his character," the statement said.

The [special prosecutor's] office filed felony charges alleging [Libby lied to and withheld information from the grand jury in relation to conversations he had regarding the CIA leak case.

Information recentlly released by Robert Novak indicates Richard Armitage, a former high-ranking State Department official, was the original source of the leak. No charges were ever filed directly relating to the leak of Valerie Plame's name.

Many friends and city officials declined to talk about the [sentence] and expressed anger at the[prosecutor] and the media for how the case played out publicly.

They were concerned that his case got too much attention in the media and that prosecutors were overly zealous.
Prosecutors declined to address that criticism Saturday.

Friends and colleagues described [Libby] as talented, hardworking and community-minded. Many say he must have felt his life was over, but it wasn't, said Polly Baca, executive director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA).

"I have no idea about any of those charges. All I know is that he was a good human being and a good person who spent a lot of time helping others," Baca said through tears. "He did so many good things. We all make mistakes. Not a single one of us is perfect."
Manzanares, a former LARASA board member, was the reason Baca now heads the organization. He asked her to consider the post years ago.

"He made a big difference in my life and the lives of so many others in a positive way," she said. "I'm just devastated; it is just such a loss."

His penalty is hard to take, said Estevan Flores, executive director of the Latino/a Research Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Denver and a longtime friend []

"Here's someone who has such a stellar record. You look at his contributions and his résumé and the role model that he was and you have this one mistake," he said.

"There are so many people in our community who have made similar contributions, and if you looked at each of us, we probably have something in our closet we don't want people to know. The witch hunt that happened is unacceptable."

"He was a good man. A family man," Brown said. "He did a lot for the community that people don't even know about."

Dan Recht, a veteran Denver lawyer who practiced [with Libby], said he couldn't stop thinking about [Libby].

"Over the course of his entire adult life, [Libby] developed a reputation for doing the right thing and doing it with dedication, humility and the respect of peers," Recht said.
"Losing that well-deserved reputation and respect was obviously more than he could bear."

Amazing, huh?

Of course, the Post ran no such story. The story they ran was about Judge Larry Manzanares, , who committed suicide on Saturday after being indicted for buying a stolen laptop computer in the parking lot of the City and County Building and then using it to download pornography, and whose name fits very neatly into most of the bracketed spaces above.

Let me be clear: his suicide is a horrible thing, and I feel terrible for his wife and two grown children. But this is not about Manzanares--

this is about the news and the media.

Are the circumstances of Manzanares' and Libby's crimes really all that different? Not particularly. Neither had a great deal to do with their jobs, neither were directly related to misdeeds committed about the job, both played out more in the press than in a courtroom, and both show evidence of horrible judgment by men whose careers had, up to that point, been exemplary.

But can you IN A MILLION YEARS imagine the press writing an ode to Scooter Libby of the sort that they are writing now for Larry Manzanares? IN A MILLION YEARS!! Not a chance. As of today, I STILL have not seen a single story about how the prison sentence is going to effect Libby's YOUNG children.

Sure, suicide is a little different than prison time. But other than that, is there any reason for the Denver media to laud Manzanares this way and villify Libby that way? I submit there are two possibilities: one is that Manzanares is Hispanic; the other is that Libby is a Friend of Bush. I believe it is more of the latter than the former--in the press, being an FOB is a crime in and of itself, not to mention the compounding crimes actually committed.

Just another in a long list of examples of the media driving stories through HOW it covers them. Frankly it's sickening--I wish I could say it was surprising.

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