National Review was in a much better position to judge the culpability of their good friend, Scooter Libby, than a mere jury of his peers:
The perjury charge was based on discrepancies between Libby's grand jury testimony and that of a few journalists who contradicted him. Libby argued that the discrepancies could be explained by differences in memory. Although the jury disagreed, a reasonable person listening to the faulty memories of the witnesses who testified could have concluded that Libby simply had things mixed up.
The Wall Street Journal editors also know better than the jury:
Mr. Libby got caught in a perjury net that we continue to believe trapped an innocent man who lost track of what he said, when he said it, and to whom.
If it's a choice between the rule of law and one of their best buddies actually going to jail, you know they're going to throw the rule of law out of the window. Remember that these are the same people who wanted to remove Clinton from office because of perjury in a civil suit. But Clinton wasn't one of them, was he? The corruption of the political class is one lesson of this case. The total corruption of much of the "conservative" journalistic class is another.