The circumstances of the Libby trial were convoluted, to say the least. This is how each network tried to cut through the inside-the-Beltway minutiae, public relations spin, damage control, controled leaks and cover-up. "The heart of this case involves a political dispute," CBS' Gloria Borger asserted, describing the feud between Cheney and former diplomat turned Iraq War critic Joseph Wilson. "Cheney wanted Wilson discredited…and he asked Libby to do it." ABC's Pierre Thomas (subscription required) said the case "at its heart" was about a fixated Vice President "obsessed with pushing back against critics" who "micromanaged the media response." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell focused on Libby himself, "the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Ronald Reagan era and the Iran-contra scandal" who may have been the "fall guy" for political operative Karl Rove.
Next each network had the anchor of its Sunday morning interview program offer political analysis. Tim Russert (at the tail of the O'Donnell videostream) of NBC's Meet the Press had pride of place since he had been a key witness for the prosecution: "I take no joy in this…but when you are asked to testify under oath, you tell the truth." Bob Schieffer of CBS' Face the Nation saw adverse implications for Cheney. Why would Libby lie? Schieffer wondered. "Clearly because he did not want what was going on in the Vice President's office to come out." For ABC, George Stephanopoulos (no link) of This Week told substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas that "the White House is going to try to hold the line on not commenting about this." Will George Bush pardon Libby? "They are not going to rule it out." Will Rove be fired? "No. It ain't gonna happen." Will Cheney resign? "No plans. No plans at all."
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