updated 11/18/2005 10:39:57 AM ET 2005-11-18T15:39:57

Bob Woodward learned about Valerie Plame from a senior administration official nearly a month before her identity was revealed.  He sat on the information, and did not even tell his editors at The Washington Post.

To complicate matters, he was out swinging against Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald over the summer in radio and television interviews, even on MSNBC's "Hardball."  He called Fitzgerald a "junkyard prosecutor" and thought the investigation into the CIA leak would turn up nothing.

There are a few major themes developing on the blogs.

First, this has an obvious impact on Woodward's own credibility.  Hat tip to TPM Cafe where I read an excerpt of an article that Joan Didion wrote about Woodward's work.  In 1996, Didion wrote of the "disinclination of Mr. Woodward to exert cognitive energy on what he is told."  In short, she thinks he's a kiss-ass, a water boy for these sources whom he trusts with blind faith and who trust him entirely.

But she says it prettier than I did.

As Raw Story points out, Woodward was working on the book "Plan of Attack" at the time.  He got unprecedented access to top administration officials, including the President.  Some bloggers are speculating that he sat on the information and bought the administration's line on Fitzgerald to keep the contacts he needed to finish the book.

Another major theme, how will this impact Scooter Libby?  His defense attorneys see this as major boon for their case, as Libby was not, according to this new testimony, the first to reveal Valerie Plame's identity to reporters.

Blogs for Bush is saying today that after two years of this costly investigation, Fitzgerald still has nothing.

In the blue corner, Jeralyn Merritt at Talk Left says this is all just a smoke screen being thrown up by the Libby legal team.  The charges have little to do with Woodward's testimony.

Of course, there is also the matter of the impact this has on MSM.  Just think about.  Since the start of the Bush administration, we have seen Dan Rather and CBS, Judy Miller and "The New York Times," and now Bob Woodward and "The Washington Post" endure some stinging blows.  The credibility of all mainstream media hangs in the balance.  And that might all be part of the plan.  Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I have been reading Craig Crawford's book "Attack the Messenger" lately, and let me tell you--making the reporter the story is a great strategy for sweeping the real story under the rug.

Still, two of America's top newspapers are taking falls over this story.  Back in October, journalism professor Jay Rosen wrote this:

"Just one man's opinion, but now is a good time to say it: The New York Times is not any longer--in my mind--the greatest newspaper in the land. Nor is it the base line for the public narrative that it once was. Some time in the last year or so I moved the Washington Post into that position..."

And now what?

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