My Word for July 8, 2001

Congressman Gary Condit's lawyer says the media has it wrong. This comes as every single paper on the planet has a source in the D.C. police department saying Condit told the cops he and Chandra were lovers.

Not so, says Condit's lawyer.

So who do you believe? Every paper and broadcast reporter on the story, or Condit's lawyer?

Trust me on this one. The media has it right.

If you look at this D.C. political-legal kabuki, it appears Condit's lawyer worked out a deal with D.C. cops that goes like this: my client comes in and tells all, you can leak it if you want, but when you appear before the cameras, you have avoid at all cost confirming the story, which will give me, Condit's lawyer, the leeway to try to embarrass the media and get the spotlight off my client.

Former U.S. attorney Joe Digenova is right. Condit is in all likelihood an honest-to-God suspect. He ought to be a suspect, because he lied about his relationship with a person who may be a murder victim.

Everybody who watches Colombo knows that guy is a suspect. All reporters know the guy is a suspect. The cops know it. But it's the lawyer's job to insist the sky is green, not blue.

Should the media be doing more to find Chandra? Sure, but what? Print up her picture on milk cartons?

The fact is … the media's unrelenting attention to Condit is what made him finally admit the truth. There is not a chance he would have admitted it if the cops were willing to let this case pass away quietly like a thousand other anonymous missing person cases.

This morning, the eminent political columnist David Broder was cluck-clucking about how embarrassed he is for the media on this story. He thinks it's beneath official newspaper interest.

David is upset people aren't interested in his incisive analysis of whatever-the-hell bill is on the president's desk, and he thinks he's too good to get in the gutter of a dirty story about sex and maybe murder.

Broder and his ilk were cluck-clucking about all the attention on the O.J. trial too.

That's how you can tell the story is really big. The guys who won't cover it start complaining loudly.

No predictions ...except this story is getting bigger, not smaller.

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