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Word of the Day: “Misrecollected”


Christy and I are both going over the new Libby filing, and it’s really quite interesting.  

The most popular word in the filing is "misrecollected."  (From p. 3, "whether it is Mr. Libby or the reporters who have misstated or misrecollected the facts."  From p. 26, "it is Mr. Russert who has misrecollected or misstated the facts.")   It’s being employed here for the purpose of avoiding an explicit discussion of what they’re really talking about, commingling under its broad tent  two distinct activities:   the act of remembering an event but failing to recall certain details, which would also be known as "forgetting," and the act of remembering things that never actually happened, which would be in effect "fabricating."  They seem to be describing the latter while hoping for the more innocent overtones of the former.

Noted Judith Miller scholar Emptywheel has a fine discussion of the Miller section, which pretty much reads like a tale of rabid rats starting to eat each other for breakfast (oh how far we have traveled from buttering each other’s toast at the St. Regis, eh Scooter?)   We devoted many a post here as to how Scooter was trying to telegraph Miller’s testimony to her in the days leading up to her appearance before the grand jury, and how Judy quite likely did her best to comply with those requests.  Now Scooter is using the faulty memory she leaned on in order to shield him to destroy her credibility and impugn her abilities as a reporter.  How do you like them aspens now, Judy?

The other interesting bit has to do with the Andrea Mitchell section.  Her statements have been grossly inconsistent on this topic for a long time, and Tom Maguire has a good discussion of the implications of the new filing.  It appears that Mitchell talked to Libby during the time period "relevant to the indictment" and she has notes from the conversation, but Mitchell is maintaining that they "contain[] no information of any kind relating either to Ms. Wilson or to her employment."  I’m with Maguire in that I’d love to see Mitchell get dragged into this and explain all the inconsistencies in her statements regarding the case (for a good rundown see David Fiderer’s Huffington Post piece of 11/5/2005) before she’s allowed to show her face on television again and report on anything, but I’m not sure that what they’re asking for has anything to do with what Libby is charged with.

More interesting is the fact that they are trying to assert that Mitchell might have told Tim Russert about Wilson’s wife prior to his conversation with Libby.  It sounds like they are fishing here, but I think it’s high time these questions are put to her both by her network and the journalistic community at large.  Since she claims she has never been questioned in the matter, she can’t claim (as others have) that Fitzgerald has asked her not to discuss it.  She’s not some royalty who is beyond accountability, and if the answers she has come up with to date are any indication of her standards, she isn’t qualified to be doing the job of a serious news reporter. 

More later.  Once again, thanks to Tom Maguire for hosting the documents. 

Update:  Crooks & Liars has relevant Mitchell videos here and here.

Update II:  For the record — I don’t think Mitchell knows shit, I think she was probably just talking big in a way that made herself seem important.  But NBC’s total failure to addresss the situation, and her continued stumblings when she’s been asked about it, are going to make her one hell of a scape goat.  She looks like an idiot, she’s obviously been extremely inconsistent in all her conflicting statements, and Team Libby will no doubt use that to imply she isn’t telling the truth about things which serve their purposes.

Nicely handled, NBC.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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