The news and the editorial pages of the Washington Post stagger around, hitting each other over the head with inflated pigs' bladders. As Joe Wilson says, "it might be helpful to the Post's readers if the editorial board would at least read the news before offering its judgments."
A while ago one Post staffer asked me why I did not presume that the Post's writers were "trying, hard, to do their jobs and, perhaps on deadline, [falling] short of the ideal..." Today appears to provide a good reason.
SusanG has the story:
Daily Kos: SusanG Sun Apr 09, 2006 at 08:48:28 AM PDT:
The world awakened this morning to a puzzle of ridiculousness: a Washington Post op/ed that can only be described as a hit piece on Joseph Wilson's "absurdly over-examined visit" (the editorial's words, certainly not mine) to Niger, in which the editorial staff claims there was no effort at the White House to discredit Mr. Wilson.... while its news pages headlined an investigative piece on the front page entitled "A `Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic."
The ironic juxtaposition of the two articles was not lost on Mr. Wilson, who in a private communication to me this morning (sorry, no link) made the following statement:
Sunday's Washington Post lead editorial once again misrepresents the facts as the paper's own reporting in the Barton/Linzer article in the same edition makes clear. While I respect the separation of news and editorial function it might be helpful to the Post's readers if the editorial board would at least read the news before offering its judgments. One of the reasons my trip to Niger has been overanalyzed, as the Post editorial says, is because people like those who wrote the editorial continue to misconstrue the facts and the conclusions."
Indeed. Let's follow the absurdity, shall we...? The editorial states:
Mr. Wilson subsequently claimed that the White House set out to punish him for his supposed whistle-blowing by deliberately blowing the cover of his wife, Valerie Plame, who he said was an undercover CIA operative. This prompted the investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson's charge....
The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.
Then on Page 1, we find the news report:
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic: Prosecutor Describes Cheney, Libby as Key Voices Pitching Iraq-Niger Story
By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 9, 2006; A01
As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" -- using classified information -- to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.
Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year -- in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there -- as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.
Here we have a two-fer in terms of self-debunking: (1) There was indeed total validation of Mr. Wilson's charges of persecution, despite what the editorial says; and (2) The news story confirms that there was "no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there" - in direct contradiction to the editorial's claim that Wilson's report supported the purchase effort.