Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Yesterday I told you how the jackals at Sinclair Broadcasting (they of last year's attempted hour-long Swift Boat informercial) have now resorted to suing Jon Lieberman, Sinclair's former DC Bureau Chief whom they fired after he accused them of pushing "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election."

The suit is a part of a year-long campaign of dingbat harassment of Lieberman by Sinclair, including attempts to deny him unemployment benefits and a failed attempt to block him from receiving a journalism award.

Yesterday's post sparked a flood of emails asking how readers can support Lieberman, whether he has a legal defense fund taking contributions and other related questions.

The simple answer is, I have no idea. I should also note that I'm not in touch with Lieberman. And I neither want to nor am I in a position to raise money on his behalf.

The last I've heard on this comes from an article in the Baltimore Sun. Reports the Sun: "The lawsuit says Leiberman, now a producer at America's Most Wanted, owes Sinclair almost $17,000 in so-called liquidated damages, equal to a percentage of his salary had he served out his contract." When they contacted Lieberman he hadn't yet been served with the suit and said he'd only heard about in news reports.

"I just want to get on with my life," Lieberman told the Sun.

Should we hear of any organized effort to assist Lieberman, we will of course pass on the information.

I never know what to make of these things. But this morning I got yet another press release from intrade, a company that runs a futures markets on hot political questions, and others, I'm sure, too ...

Miers confirmation contract drops in heavy morning trading

At approximately 8:30 EST this morning traders monitoring the Harriet Miers confirmation process becan selling aggressively contracts betting against her confirmation - probability drops from 62 to 20 in heavy trading.

"The Miers confirmation contract was trading at 92, meaning a 92% probability of confirmation last week. Early this week the contract slid to 64 then this morning with no warning droped to 20 in heavy trading", says Mike Knesevitch Communication Director at Intrade.

Here's the latest quote.

Target letters, from the NYT: "Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have been advised that they may be in serious legal jeopardy, the lawyers said, but only this week has Mr. Fitzgerald begun to narrow the possible charges. The prosecutor has said he will not make up his mind about any charges until next week, government officials say."

Murray Waas in National Journal: "New York Times reporter Judith Miller told the federal grand jury in the CIA leak case that she might have met with I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby on June 23, 2003 only after prosecutors showed her Secret Service logs that indicated she and Libby had indeed met that day in the Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, according to attorneys familiar with her testimony."

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) seems to have found a way to force a floor vote in the House of Representatives on whether or not to overturn the President Bush's Gulf Coast Wage Cut. They've got fifteen days to bring it to a vote. And if it comes to a vote, a clear majority of the House is for overturning what the president did. Rep. Miller explains more details here.

For shame.

Remember way back when (okay, only a year ago), Sinclair Broadcasting decided to run an anti-Kerry Swift Boat infomercial on its stations across the country. A popular outcry and a lot of truly spontaneous grassroots activism made them pull back, at least part of the way. But a big rock rolled into the road for them when their DC Bureau Chief, one Jonathan Lieberman took a stand, gave an interview to the Balitmore Sun, and called the effort "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election ... For me, it's not about right or left -- it's about what's right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election."

The headline of our post, a year ago almost to the day, ran "Soon to join the jobless?" I make no claim for prescience when I tell you he was immediately fired.

Sinclair has continued to harass Lieberman ever since. And now comes word the sharks at Sinclair are suing Lieberman for giving the unauthorized interview. "Sinclair," this article reports, "is also asking the court to order an accounting of the wages Leiberman earned working for another news outlet after Sinclair fired him."

Now this is a while back, a time a lot of folks would like to forget. And most everybody's moved on. But clearly Lieberman is still stuck with the consequences of doing the right thing when it counted. By the letter of the law and the contract, Sinclair may have a case. But this guy's deserves everyone's support.

So many leaks are coming fast and furious now in the Plame/Fitzgerald case that it's hard to know sometimes where they're coming from or what the leakers were trying to achieve. Perhaps the best example of this was yesterday's Daily News story by Tom DeFrank, which provided the first clear evidence that President Bush has known who the culprits were from the beginning and possibly failed to disclose that to Patrick Fitzgerald in their interview last year.

Why would White House officials sell the president out like that? The question becomes more pointed when you note that DeFrank, as we discussed yesterday, has long been close to people in the Bush world.

So what's the story?

According to knowledgeable sources, those White House officials behind that story were trying to help the president, not hurt him. The story, in their view, was about his unhappiness with what Rove had done but his loyalty to those who work for him.

Now, the first thing you have to say on this is that there are some folks in the White House who are pretty stupid. Even a cursory knowledge of where the live wires lay in this story would tell you that those bits of information would lead to someone getting a very big shock.

Ordinarily, such an elementary mistake just wouldn't happen.

This part is just inference, not reporting. But I suspect that what we're seeing here is an example of various players in the White House trying to manage damage control without central direction, perhaps without the requisite experience in some cases and even more likely without all the key facts at hand.

The limbs keep moving even after the head is severed, but not with the same coordination.

Hillary Clinton's senate opponent next year, Republican DA Jeanine Pirro, told a Chemung County Republicans on Tuesday night: "That's a difference between Democrats and Republicans _ we don't want them next door molesting children and murdering women." Now on the defensive, Pirro's campaign manageer Brian Donahue says: "This quote is out of context."