Cheney on the stand, or when a "Washington lawyer" is something more

Who is this Ted Olson fellow, anyway?

Published February 12, 2007 1:35PM (EST)

If you were writing a newspaper story about the prospect that Dick Cheney might testify in the Scooter Libby trial, and if you were quoting Ted Olson rather extensively on the relatively unprecedented nature of having a vice president testify -- "One of the considerations is, you can't start dragging the vice president or president away from their jobs" -- wouldn't you think it would be relevant to mention that Olson represented the Bush-Cheney campaign in the 2000 election dispute, or that Olson served as the solicitor general during Bush's first term in office, or that during his tenure as solicitor general, Olson represented Cheney in Supreme Court litigation over his energy task force?

Yeah, we would, too. But the New York Times apparently doesn't. In today's curtain raiser on the Libby defense case, the Times' David Johnston lets Olson opine on the questions a court ought to ask before forcing a high government official to testfy but identifies Olson in the process only as "a lawyer in Washington who represented [Ronald] Reagan when he was asked to testify in [John] Poindexter's trial."

Which is accurate, of course, or at least just as accurate as it would have been for Judy Miller to have described Libby as a "former Hill staffer."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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