By Editor-in-chief
updated 1/31/2007 11:06:20 AM ET 2007-01-31T16:06:20

The perjury trial of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is stirring  debate about the complicated relationships between government officials and the journalists who are suppose to be holding them accountable.

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“They are all in bed together,” online writer “Kabookey” said in a discussion about the Libby case.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is on trial for perjury stemming from his role in leaking to reporters the identity of a CIA official, Valerie Wilson Plame. Prosecutors are calling White House officials and reporters to the stand in an effort to prove that Libby lied to the FBI and grand jurors.

The testimony has given the public a rare glimpse at the motives and modes of operation that fuel alliances between reporters and their sources. For some Americans, the bedfellows are more than just strange.

“It's about selling papers, keeping your access, gaining access, and getting exclusives,” wrote “TheGringo” about the motives of journalists. “The media is just as much to blame.”

A HOTSOUP community member named Vincent said reporters are rewarded for getting stories first, and “being correct is not important any longer.” He continued: “My major problem with the press and media in general was during the run up to the war, did anyone check the facts? Did anyone question the administration? Now we have this mess with Libby…”

“Libby just proves that the media is just a puppet, and the administration pulls the strings,” Vincent wrote.

Perhaps journalists will be more discriminating, a writer named “crazyhorse” surmised. “I think it will have an impact on this regime’s ability to use the press to disseminate their leaks and ‘stories,’” he wrote.

Some in the HOTSOUP community noted that the Internet gives citizens the power to investigate and question their leaders – even when the mainstream media does not.

“I have been reading the factual reporting on the Libby trial,” wrote “ak1544.”  “I find it very interesting - a window into a secretive administration (and) how they reacted to criticism.  Testimony under oath by people at high levels in the administration is being presented to the public in this trial.  We all should be interested in the facts; democracy and transparency in government only survives when the citizens demand it.’

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