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Last week’s Hot Type column, especially as regards its metajournalistic role, went at best halfway [October 10]. You pointed out the hypocrisy of right-wing shill R. Novak (aka “the prince of darkness,” if memory serves me) and hinted at the despicable natures of much of the Bush administration. But you neglected to point out that after the mainstream press pointed out how Valerie Plame had been betrayed by the very government she was serving, the conscienceless flacks in the press mounted a full-throttle campaign of smear and character assassination against her husband. Realizing that it would be unchivalrous and dirty in the public’s mind to attack the woman herself, the administration’s minions and its flunkies in the right-wing media (Weekly Standard, WSJ editorial page, etc) changed the subject. It wasn’t about committing a despicable act of agent exposure–a federal felony–for political gain; it was about Joseph Wilson’s personality and voting record. Somehow the allegations against Wilson (basically that he doesn’t toe the administration’s extreme-right line or its hoopla of propaganda justifying the Iraq war and has a somewhat flamboyant personality) justify what was done to Valerie Plame. But then this is characteristic of the Bush mafia–think of the attacks on John McCain in the S.C. primary in 2000 and against triple-amputee Vietnam war veteran Max Cleland in the Georgia U.S. Senate race in 2002–hell, think of Willie Horton ads in 1988! The Bushes and their evil henchmen (and Rove makes Lee Atwater look like a choirboy by comparison) will stop at nothing to advance their political and personal careers and agendas. Joseph Wilson could be the biggest sumbitch since Stalin and Hitler rolled together in a Whole Foods sandwich wrap–it wouldn’t make a bit of difference: Bush administration officials illegally and with full premeditated malice blew the cover of an intelligence agent, end of story. And of course tough guy AG Ashcroft is going to let them off after the pretense of an investigation.

The mainstream press continues to try to remain evenhanded about this (very much so in Jonathan Alter’s risible column in the 10/13/03 Newsweek–he compares the Nation to the WSJ editorial page as if they were equals. The last I checked, the Nation, a weekly that publishes about 45-47 times a year, numbers its subscriber base in the tens of thousands, while the WSJ, publishing daily Monday-Friday, has a daily circulation of between 1.5 and 2 million.). You can’t be evenhanded about outright evil.

I am a political moderate whom the Bushies would call a leftist because they’ve managed to push the terms of the debate so far to the right. And I’m fed up with the imbalance and the deceit and the lies. They make Nixon/Watergate look like a tea party.

Mac Brachman