Carol Platt Liebau: Too Much Time on My Hands?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Too Much Time on My Hands?

Not really -- I have a lot of stuff to do.

But I ran across one of the most ignorant columns that I think I've ever seen in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It's titled "Wilson Vindicated But Badly Bruised," and it's written by a person named Joel Connelly.

Here's the text of the letter that I sent to Connelly, cc'ing a couple of editors (Ken Bunting, Seattle P-I Executive Editor and Mark Trahant, Editorial Page Editor), as well. To make it easy for them, I even along the links.

Dear Mr. Connelly:

Your assertions (in your column), claiming vindication for Joe Wilson and a "hatchet job" by the White House are factually incorrect and fundamentally uninformed.

Please familiarize yourself with the facts:

(1)Washington Post, 7/10/04 -- quote:

"Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address."

(2) Practically everyone in the media -- even The New York Times -- has regretfully concluded that, chances are, Rove committed no crime. ("The law requires that the official knowingly identify an officer serving in a covert position. The person who has been briefed on the matter said Mr. Rove neither knew Ms. Wilson's name nor that she was a covert officer.")

Yet you start your column with the whole "frog-marching" fantasy (juxtaposing it with Wilson's "vindication"), which -- taken together -- is deeply misleading and, frankly, at odds with reality.

(3) You write about the "locker-room quality of efforts to discredit Wilson" and go on to charge that

"Rove mentioned Plame's CIA affiliation to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper in an interview done on "double super-secret background." (The wording evokes a famous phrase -- "double super-secret probation" -- from the movie "Animal House.")"

In fact, as Matt Cooper told Howard Kurtz, HE is the one who invoked the "Animal House" language -- not Rove. (Drudge Report for transcript). But the context certainly suggests that the phrase was from The White House, not the press.

With respect, this is shoddy opinion journalism -- facts that don't conform to our preconceived political biases cannot simply be ignored. I believe the Seattle Post-Intelligencer can (and should) do better.

Carol Platt Liebau - San Marino, CA >

Think I'll get a response? Don't hold your breath -- you might turn blue and die. But sometimes, someone is SO outrageous that you just have to have your say.


Blogger poiball said...

The Seattle P-I seems to post a lot of this kind of incorrect info. Looking at will usually get you the worst ones highlighted.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

Congratulations for taking the time and effort to let the columnist know you know he is full of it. I'm always torn between wanting to do what you did, which lets the author know you know he IS full of it, but, also, lets him know you read the tripe, and, on the other hand, just ignoring it all, which might cause his column to be pulled for lack of readers. A tough call...

6:18 PM  
Blogger James B. said...

I made a similar Fisking of this idiotic article and e-mailed it to him. Somehow I doubt he will issue a correction.

7:15 PM  
Blogger James B. said...

Hey, I got a response.

Standard issue right-wing blather from the sort of people who enjoy
smearing the reputation of someone who really did stand up to Saddam.

Not exactly enlightening, but better than nothing.

2:02 PM  

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