This weekend, the Washington Post wrote an editorial defending President Bush’s smearing of Joseph Wilson. The Post editors mangled the facts and failed to note — as their political writers did — that Bush deceptively leaked intelligence information despite knowing it had been disproved months before. (Read a thorough debunking of the editorial).
One might be tempted to dismiss the effect that a mere 575-word editorial can have on the public debate. But it is already being peddled peddled by the White House to misinform the public. Here’s the product of the White House’s efforts —
Kelly O’Donnell, NBC White House correspondent, this morning on MSNBC:
To further support the White House view that the president was simply acting within his legal authority — he is able to declassify material at any time — the White House today is circulating some favorable editorials saying what the president did was perfectly fine and they also say what was disclosed was historical in nature and that it had no harmful effect on national security.
Joseph diGenova, former Reagan administration lawyer, on NPR this morning:
I think the Washington Post said it best on Sunday when it said that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.
Scott McClellan, this afternoon in the White House press briefing:
[Bush] did authorize the declassification of the National Intelligence Estimate. I think you’ve seen editorials and other comments over the weekend talking about how that was important because it was in the public interest.
And slowly but surely, with an assist from the Washington Post, the White House attempts to turn a falsehood into conventional wisdom.