Washington Post Debunks Valerie Plame Myths

Thursday, 09 Dec 2010 09:52 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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If you have not tuned in to The Washington Post’s transformation into a fair and balanced newspaper, you may be amazed to see its editorial about the recently released film “Fair Game” based on former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s book.

The editorial exposes some of the most enduring myths perpetrated by the left and the mainstream media about Plame, the Bush administration, and the Iraq war.

Saying the movie is “full of distortions — not to mention outright inventions,” the Dec. 3 editorial refutes the claim by former State Department diplomat Joe Wilson, Plame’s husband, that he “debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger.”

In fact, the editorial says, an investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that Wilson’s reporting “did not affect the intelligence community’s view on the matter, and an official British investigation found that President George W. Bush’s statement in a State of the Union address that Britain believed that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger was well-founded.”

The editorial slams the couple’s story that Plame’s exposure as a CIA operative was the result of a White House conspiracy.

“A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy — but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative,” the editorial says.
The editorial notes that the film’s reception illustrates a troubling trend in political debates in Washington, where “established facts are willfully ignored.”
Wilson’s claim that Bush “deliberately twisted the truth about Iraq” was “eagerly embraced by those who insist the former president lied the country into a war,” the editorial says. “Though it was long ago established that Mr. Wilson himself was not telling the truth — not about his mission to Niger and not about his wife — the myth endures.”

As noted in my story “Washington Post Has Become a Model for the Media,” the paper has been transformed under publisher Katharine Weymouth, granddaughter of the legendary publisher Katharine Graham. The change first became evident after she appointed Marcus Brauchli, a former Wall Street Journal editor, executive editor in July 2008.

Where previously the paper often distorted or suppressed the truth to further a liberal agenda, The Washington Post under Brauchli strives to present a fair and honest report.

With few exceptions, it does. As at most papers, the news side and the editorial side are separate and report to the publisher. Now under Fred Hiatt, the Post’s longtime editorial page editor, that change in approach is clearly evident on the editorial side as well.

In the current media environment, it takes courage to debunk liberal spin fostered by the mainstream media. I know: Having been a Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reporter myself, I have lost several so-called friends in the media because of my positions on Bush and the war on terror.

You may not see the generally liberal Pulitzer Prize board give any awards to the Washington Post for its adherence to the truth. But the public in general and conservatives in particular should applaud The Washington Post’s metamorphosis.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.




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