Sunday, May 22, 2005

The ordinarily sane Michael Getler almost loses his mind 

Getler must be getting a awful lot of pressure from the suits. Otherwise, he would never write junk like this:

Now along comes Newsweek magazine with what may be the biggest and most comprehensive journalistic nightmare in a long time. But people emerge from nightmares, so maybe this one will wake up editors everywhere.
(via WaPo)

Well, c'mon. Judy "Kneepads" Miller wrote stories that helped get us into Iraq and cost thousands of lives. Michael "Spikey" Isikoff, in the Monica days, helped facilitate an attempted coup by the VRWC (which, bottom line, is exactly what the whole Whitewater saga was).

But, thank God, by the end of the column he's regained his sanity:

The Newsweek blunder gave a loaded pistol to one of the most secretive administrations of recent years, one that makes frequent use of anonymous officials to brief reporters and that has serious credibility problems of its own regarding the foundations for the war in Iraq. And the White House pulled the trigger.

Yep. Of course, at this point, writing about Bush's credibility problems is almost a thumbsucker, isn't it?

For the media, the only antidotes are accuracy and attentiveness. This means editors, especially, and not just the ones at the top, must do their jobs better. Otherwise, the hemorrhaging of trust will not stop. Reporters dig and gather, but editors get paid to sort it out and preserve the trust. The worst prescription would be to rein in the reporters and pull in our horns.


However, it would be irresponsible not to speculate that Isikoff was deliberately played by the anonymous source, so as to bring about exactly the result that has so benefitted the Bush administration; Killian redux, in other words. Cui bono, after all, and what do a few Afghan rioters who aren't even Christian matter?

However, WaPo apparently has an extremely powerful Department of No! They Would Never Do That! that employs all the editors (the same editors who buried Walter Pincus's latest bombshell on—wait for it— page A26.

Why not mail Michael Getler and ask him to put the members of WaPo's Department of No! They Would Never Do That! on the masthead?

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