Saturday, April 15, 2006

Howell and Hiatt Don't Get It

The lead editorial and a front-page story last Sunday on the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby leak case left many Post readers confused. ...

The Post editorially has supported the war, and the purpose of the editorial -- headlined "A Good Leak" -- was to support that leak as necessary to show that the president had reason to believe that Iraq was seeking uranium. The editorial said Bush "clumsily" handled the leak, leading to Democrats' "hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy." (Don't expect newspapers to editorialize against leaks.)

The passage in the Post editorial that sent war critics round the bend was this one: " . . . Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium." ... ...

- Deborah Howell
It's not the Post readers who are confused. It's Deborah Howell who doesn't have her story straight. Obviously, she needs some help. No doubt it's tough still propping up the Post's pro-preemption line.

The New York Times also weighs in. It's not good, Deb.

... ...Since Mr. Bush regularly denounces leakers, the White House has made much of the notion that he did not leak classified information, he declassified it. This explanation strains credulity. Even a president cannot wave a wand and announce that an intelligence report is declassified.

To declassify an intelligence document, officials have to decide whether disclosing the information would jeopardize the sources that provided it or the methods used to gather it. To answer that question, they closely study the origins of the intelligence to be disclosed. Had Mr. Bush done that, he should have seen that the most credible information made it clear that the Niger story was wrong. (In any case, Iraq's supposed attempt to buy uranium from Niger happened four years before the invasion, and failed. The idea that this amounted to a current, aggressive and continuing campaign to build nuclear weapons in 2002 — as Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney called it — is laughable.) ... ...
A Bad Leak
We all know it takes time to read the paper, but I'd suggest to Ms. Howell and Mr. Hiatt they take the time. This all could have been avoided if they cared about the facts of this issue more than propping up their opinion page, which has lost credibility with each passing day. But to talk about what President Bush did as "a good leak" not only defies the facts, it unmasks the true motives of the Post's main editorial, which gets the facts their own reporters are offering wrong in order to prop up the Post's pro-preemption position. Or are they trying to help the president? Nah.

Most of the people reading the Post are not confused. The same cannot be said for their management.

- Taylor Marsh

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Post Editorial Gets it Wrong

UPDATE: Does Fred Hiatt Even Read the Washington Post?
UPDATE II: Josh Marshall weighs in on Post editorial

PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do. But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling. ... - A Good Leak
A good leak?

Perhaps The Washington Post should read their own reporting.

But since they won't, we'll give them some help.
Joe Wilson Responds to Washington Post Editorial
Washington Post Praises Bush Leak, Mangles Facts
What's Your Definition of Leak
Selective Leaks
Scooter Libber: Cheney Intentionally Peddles Lies
Leaker in Chief Gets Some Help from the Post
Feel free to add your favorite rebuttal. I'm sure there are more.

- Taylor Marsh

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Deborah Howell Punts

... ... Jim Brady, executive editor of, has said without equivocation that hiring Domenech was a mistake. I'm not going to pile on. Anyone out there who's ever hired or fired has chosen at least a few clunkers. Brady wants to enlarge the reach of the Web site's opinion section with a conservative blogger; there's nothing wrong with that. He said he will pick someone with more of a journalism background next time. The Post covered the controversy as a news story. If Post radio had been up, the story probably would have been on the air. ...

(snip) ... Though the media and the management may be different, and though the Web site and radio may operate at a faster pace and a more informal tone than the newspaper, the Post brand is important and needs to be protected by all who work for it. - Deborah Howell
It seems remarkable to me that in today's column Deborah Howell has chosen to punt. She doesn't weigh in on the hiring of Ben Domenech. Someone who, on the day of Coretta Scott King's funeral, hurled the charge of "communist," behind a pseudonym no less, at the "first lady of civil rights." An apology followed the smear, but what kind of judgment does it reveal? Why would the Post hire someone with such poor taste, not to mention sense of timing? Couldn't Jim Brady do his homework and find out what the biggest progressive blogs across the web uncovered in less than a day?

Ms. Howell concludes with saying that "the Post brand is important and needs to be protected by all who work for it." She might have started by weighing in on the Domenech scandal instead of punting her duties. Speaking out for the readers who were insulted, instead of acting like nothing happened at all.

- Taylor Marsh