This Rove/Plame/Wilson scandalette is following the familiar pattern of every such brouhaha we’ve had in the Bush administration from Halliburton to Abu Ghraib to Tom DeLay to Gitmo. Something comes out in the press that looks terribly damaging. The media goes into overdrive hyping the story and focusing on it monomaniacally. The lefty bloggers start drooling in glee. Democratic politicians make somber, seemingly heartsick speeches denouncing the administration in increasingly vituperative language. Then, after a day or so, the right side of the fence kicks into gear. The RNC starts issuing press releases to show how things are being taking out of proportion. Righty bloggers start looking at the actual evidence, going back through old news stories to remind people of the historical facts. Long-forgotten little reports in the media are resurrected to exonerate the Bush people. Conservatives get just as angry as those on the left. The media barely reports any of the debunking of the original story. They continue with whatever storyline they established in the first days of the kerfuffle. Fox News interviews someone like Byron York to show how misleading the original storyline was. Maybe there is a story in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Post, but barely anything in the Washington Post, New York Times, network news et al. Conservatives get angrier and more cynical about the MSM. Liberals get more gleeful, but also more frustrated. Because polls come out showing that few people care about the story that has so excited both sides. The story eventually dies down with both sides convinced that dirt was done somehow somewhere. They just don’t agree who did what that was dirty.
That sounds spot-on.
Update: Over at his MSNBC blog, Glenn Reynolds has some related thoughts in a post appropriately titled, “Empty-headed TV people“. (Wonder what the MSNBC folks think of that title?)