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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, July 23, 2003



Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV

Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, our man in Niger and star of "The Valerie Plame Wilson Affair", demonstrates that the "C." does not stand for "Credibility". Seamole points us to the July 21 Newsday article:

Wilson, while refusing to confirm his wife's employment, said the release to the press of her relationship to him and even her maiden name was an attempt to intimidate others like him from talking about Bush administration intelligence failures.

"It's a shot across the bow to these people, that if you talk we'll take your family and drag them through the mud as well," he said in an interview.


Seamole then finds another shot across the bow, evidently meant to intimidate adjunct scholars at the Middle East Institute. From Ambassador Wilson's on-line bio:

He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has two sons and two daughters.

Bullies. And get a screen shot.

Seamole has more.

UPDATE 1: With help from Barry, whose kung fu dwarfs mine on this sort of thing, I learn that Ambassador Wilson made the "maiden name claim" on Katie Couric's Today Show. I don't know where he got the transcript, but you can find it here. So, did the Ambassador lie on national television? Well, he was pretty misleading, since he does cast it as "hypothetically", but he must know (assuming he is aware of his own bio) that his hypothetical does not hold up.

Since Newsday dropped the "hypothetically" qualifier, either he "lied" to them, or they engaged in sloppy reporting. In his defense, on the Today Show he corrected Andrea Mitchell's report, which dropped the "hypothetically", so I can believe he used the qualifier with Newsday, if they are reporting a separate interview. But what pattern is emerging? The Ambassador is presenting a "hypothetical" that he ought to know is false, and reporters are dropping the qualifier. That is a lie, or pretty close. I'll tell you what I think - this Ambassador is spinning it mighty fine, here.

UPDATE: Hey, Justin Katz has a fine blog, and a fine eye for this detail.

OK, wild theory as to why there is so little media attention - probably the press can't find sources, but maybe they smell a rat. And anyway, television loves him. The earnest whistleblower, the honest little guy battling big bureaucracy, David v. Goliath - what's not to like?

The alternative script - partisan attack dog who is making it up as he goes along - is still in development. But, Bold Prediction - if the media runs out of news on this, they may decide to re-focus on the leading man.

MORE: I posted this once, but it is well worth repeating - from the Novak column:

That's where Joe Wilson came in. His first public notice had come in 1991 after 15 years as a Foreign Service officer when, as U.S. charge in Baghdad, he risked his life to shelter in the embassy some 800 Americans from Saddam Hussein's wrath. My partner Rowland Evans reported from the Iraqi capital in our column that Wilson showed "the stuff of heroism."

Worth remembering. 800 people, plus family and friends, could make a heck of a Chrismas card list.


MORE: This fellow picks through an address Ambassador Wilson gave on June 14. Let's call him "undecided". Does this speak to the Ambassador's motivation? And, careful readers note that Ambassador Wilson "auto-outed" his wife there, as well.


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