Site Meter

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

1000 horsepower pony power

Confirming the editors fears of a pony glut making ponies to cheap to meter
and making him (the editors like to play with grammer) fear a plague of ponies,
The Washington Post had to decide today which huge new revelation about the Bush scandal (sorry administration) to give greater play.

The one about how "the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips" lied to the senate last week (not that anyone minds given the great jobs they have been doing lateley supplying gasoline at reasonable not to say ridiculously cheap prices).

The "decision by Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) not to swear in the executives." Doesn't mean they are out of trouble, because "a person can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years for making "any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation" to Congress." The decision does, of course mean that Torture Ted who should be strung up from the bridge to nowhere is an unindictable co conspirator.

I suppose the Post is glad they had that one to bump down the embarrassing revelation that their once hero investigative reporter has been stone-walling Fitzgerald. The new news that the Post won't explain clearly, is that Woodward was told by an official whose name he revealed to the grand jury but won't reveal to the public that "Wilson's wife" worked for the CIA a month before Novak publicly blew her cover.

This new twist doesn't undermine the indictment of Libby, but does guarantee that the investigation will have to continue for months as Fitzgerald tries to decide if Woodward is credible and if the official knew he was blowing a covert agents cover etc etc etc. Given how close Woodward got to the Bush administration by writing "Bush at War" I can see no way to guess who this official might be.

Woodwards credibility is markedly undermined by the fact that, like Judith Miller, he seems only willing to testify about what his notes might mean and claims not to remember what he said and heard. Also "the only Post reporter whom Woodward said he remembers telling in the summer of 2003 does not recall the conversation taking place."

Now I personally think that Woodward has done an excellent job recently, the puffery in "Bush at War" being necessary to get the goods on Bush as published in "Plan of Attack." It is his fault neither that tone counts for more than facts in the national debate, nor that people haven't read "Plan of Attack" so the fact that the path to war was blazed with lies remains news.

However, it is impossible not to note the similarities of Woodward and Miller at the moment.

update: Atrios (of course) has the goods on Woodward on Video on Larry King live on 10/27.

ISIKOFF: [snip]

I talked to a source at the White House late this afternoon who told me that Bob is going to have a bombshell in tomorrow's paper identifying the Mr. X source who is behind the whole thing. So, I don't know, maybe this is Bob's opportunity.

KING: Come clean.

WOODWARD: I wish I did have a bombshell. I don't even have a firecracker. [snip]

Now it is known that Woodward did have a bombshell but was unwilling to drop it. Thus Woodward lied to the public. This is clearly absolutely unacceptable. He could have just said that he wasn't reporting anything in the 10/28 Post then refused to answer when pressed.

Final days ? I doubt it, but it seems to me that if the Post were a serious newspaper they would also have reported today that Woodward was fired yesterday. I'm still grateful for what I leard from "Plan of Attack" but someone who lies to the public is not a journalist.

Later update: I feel like a fool for even considering the possibility that the Washington Post might be a serious newspaper. Josh Marshall quotes from an early edition of the article

from the Post article ...
Woodward's statement said he testified: "I told Walter Pincus, a reporter at The Post, without naming my source, that I understood Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst."

Pincus said he does not recall Woodward telling him that. In an interview, Pincus said he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation around the same time he was writing about Wilson.

"Are you kidding?" Pincus said. "I certainly would have remembered that."

I just searched the current Post article. The word "Pincus" doesn't appear. Two Washington Post journalists have conflicting recollections and the Post revealed then supressed the name of one of them. Now it is theoretically possible that Marshall made a mistake and the Post is not hiding relevant facts from its readers. I realise that I find this possibility completely implausible and I trust Josh Marshall incomparably more that I trust the Washington Post.

Sounds like time for a conference on blogger ethics.

No comments: