Man Without Qualities

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Echo Chamber?

One of Al Gore's more disassociated moments surely came when he postulated this bizarre analysis:

"Something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk-show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play this game, The Washington Times and the others. And then they’ll create a little echo chamber, and pretty soon they’ll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story they’ve pushed into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these R.N.C. talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist."

Of course there are examples of "echo chamber" effects on both sides of the political aisle. What was bizarre about Mr. Gore's comment was its suggestion of systematization and pervasiveness of the rightish version.

But where, exactly, did the assertion that Valerie Plame is a "covert agent," the exposure of whose identity is a federal felony, come from? ("This is not only a possible breach of national security; it is a potential violation of law. Under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, it is a crime for anyone who has access to classified information to disclose intentionally information identifying a covert agent.") The whole story isn't in, yet. But isn't this part of the Plame story taking on a good deal of the look of a liberal/Democratic echo chamber effect?

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