Friday, November 04, 2005

Pen Pals

The Palo Alto Daily News, like many papers on this day, chose to run a story about emails sent by former FEMA director Michael Brown. According to reports some of these emails, when seen next to the devastation of hurricane Katrina, seem silly. I'd imagine anyone can be made to look foolish by a selective review of such communications. Another level of silliness comes from those whose reporting was miles from reality. Stories that kept rescuers at bay while authorities had to contend with phantom reports of roaming gangs of rapists or reports of 10,000 dead residents.

Sometimes you don't even need to resort to selectivity. Take for instance this exchange of email between the Palo Alto Daily News publisher Dave Price and Burning Squirrel in response to my post titled Local News, Stuck on Stupid .

Dave Price: "I think our readers would benefit from your commentary on this subject. Would you mind writing an oped about Wilson's speech that we might publish. Be as hard on us as you'd like. Give the readers some background on this complicated case. 750 words."

Burning Squirrel: "Isn't this why you employ reporters? Seems to me the facts are easily gotten. My opinion has nothing to do with it. As I've pointed out, Jean Whitney has already written commentary into her story. Your obligation is to correct it."

Dave Price: "What facts are "easily gotten" in this case? A grand jury has been working on it for two years and didn't accomplish much except accusing a witness of lying. From what I can tell, the story was a report on what Wilson said at Stanford. The purpose of the story wasn't to analyze his speech, comparing it to other statements made in Washington, or anything like that. It was a report about what was said at a local event. Period. BTW, I agree with you that Wilson has been dishonest in many instances And while the MSM reported that once, it seems to have ignored in later reports. So help me out. What should we correct? How would you write the correction?"

Burning Squirrel: "Dave, I think you're confused. As much as you'd like to believe that, Patrick Fitzgerald wasn't given the job to determine the veracity of Joe Wilson's account. His only job was to determine whether a crime was committed in revealing the identity of Wilson's wife and who should bear responsibility--that's all. You're referring to the job that was completed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the 9/11 Commision. For someone in your line of work not to know that is astonishing."


Blogger Walter E. Wallis said...

Fitz is scared Fitzless that someone will ask him whether he questioned Wilson and applied the same veracity test to him.

As for the Brown e-mail release, I would like to parse a 10 day sellection of the congressman's e-mail for "interesting" comments.

Brown obeyed the law.

9:45 AM  

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