WASHINGTON: Citing his role as a likely prosecution witness in a criminal trial involving former vice-presidential chief of staff Lewis Libby, Accuracy in Media said today that Tim Russert of NBC News should voluntarily remove himself from any network coverage of the CIA leak case. “The basic standards of fair and objective journalism require that Russert withdraw from the coverage,” declared AIM editor Cliff Kincaid. “He is a widely respected journalist but he is just too deeply involved in this case to continue to report or comment on it.”
“Russert was part of the investigation and now may be part of the prosecution,” added Kincaid. “How, therefore, can he present himself on the air as a neutral, objective and disinterested party?”
The New York Times notes that Russert, who is cited in the Libby indictment, may be appearing as a prosecution witness in the case. The Times also reports that Russert addressed his role on the air, saying, “Clearly the special counsel has made a judgment, that when taking the comments and statements of Matt Cooper and Judy Miller and myself as opposed to Scooter Libby, he has decided that Mr. Libby was not telling the truth.”
“In effect,” said Kincaid. “Russert has labeled Lewis Libby a liar, in advance of an impartial jury judging the facts of the case.”
An NBC promo for Sunday’s Meet the Press says that Russert will host a show that will examine the Libby indictment: “Trouble in the White House: Where does the Bush administration go from here?” His CNBC show will also deal with the indictment and investigation.
According to NBC, Russert’s duties include serving as moderator, Meet the Press; Anchor, MSNBC; Anchor, CNBC’s Tim Russert show; and Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, NBC News.
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.