updated 7/12/2005 10:43:15 AM ET 2005-07-12T14:43:15

12 p.m.

A good journalist should be an equal opportunity offender.  Whether the administration is Democratic or Republican, the fourth estate of American society serves as the truth squad at its finest, a propaganda machine at its worst.

A journalist should be able to expose sex scandals in the Clinton White House, and then years later put Karl Rove on the defense in the Valerie Plame story.  Of course I'm referring to Michael Isikoff.

We can debate for hours, and we have, whether there is too much left-leaning bias in mainstream media.  Maybe there is.  The point of the story is that without brave investigative journalism we would never have learned about Watergate, Monicagate, or the tobacco industry cover-up.

It seems Isikoff, and his peers at other publications, are fast on the heels of Karl Rove, the administration's Teflon Svengali.  On the blogs, Rove's clever political maneuverings have spawned the term "Rovian," which can either be high praise or a condemnation, like "Machiavellian."  This guy's punditry prowess has mythical proportions.  Some conspiracy theorists have gone so far as to believe that even the administration's mistakes are orchestrated by Rove for political gain.  That seems a bit much, but there is no doubt he's good at what he does.  I'd want him around, too.

Still, as Mary Magdalene says in "Jesus Christ Superstar," he's just a man.  We all make mistakes, and it is entirely possible that Rove casually mentioned to Matt Cooper that "Joe Wilson's wife" works for "the Agency," not knowing she was undercover or that it wasn't widely known.

At issue really is what the administration knew about Rove's involvement, and whether Scott McClellan has been in CYA mode for two years on this story.  If you happened to catch yesterday's White House press briefing, NBC's David Gregory really got hot under the collar about the sudden reticence on this issue.  McClellan all along has been saying that the White House "does not condone" this kind of behavior and that he knows Rove, and Rove would not participate in this.

I'm only scratching the surface here.  There so much to discuss, and we will try our best to flush out what we know and what it all means, if anything.  Leon Panetta and Pat Buchanan join us today.

Later in the hour, some conservative radio talk show hosts have gone to Iraq on a Truth Tour, to bring back good news about our troops.  We'll chat with Buzz Patterson today and let him share his findings.

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