Times Hacks Bob Novak Facts - August 8, 2003

Times Watch for August 8, 2003

Times Hacks Bob Novak Facts Fridays story by Douglas Jehl, Iraq Arms Critics Reacts to Report on Wife, is a sympathetic account of the trials of Joseph Wilson, the instigator of the Bush-uranium-Niger controversy. Jehl describes Wilson as a retired ambassador who was a secret envoy of the Bush administration to Africa and who publicly voiced doubts about a reported Iraqi weapons program who says he has become a target of a campaign to discourage others like him from going public. Wilson went public with his allegations against Bush last month in a New York Times column. Jehl writes: Days after the column, another chapter opened. Mr. Wilson's wife was identified by name as a covert C.I.A. operative in a column by the conservative columnist Robert Novak, a disclosure that Mr. Novak has attributed to senior administration officials. Officials are barred by law from disclosing the identities of Americans who work undercover for the C.I.A. That provision is intended to protect the security of operatives whose lives might be jeopardized if their identities are known.

Jehl apparently didnt actually read the Novak column in question, because Novak didnt reveal Wilsons wife as a covert CIA operative (although Jehl apparently just did). From Novaks July 14 column: Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me his wife suggested sending Wilson to Niger to investigate the Italian report. Nothing about covert there.

In the same column, Novak also revealed Wilsons hostility toward Bush: In the Washington Post on July 6, he talked about the Bush team 'misrepresenting the facts,' asking: 'What else are they lying about?

For the rest of Jehls interview with Wilson, click here:

George W. Bush | CIA | Gaffes | Iraq War | Douglas Jehl | Niger | Valerie Plame | Uranium | Joseph Wilson

I Am Bush, Destroyer of Worlds

Stuck in permanent smarm mode, columnist Paul Krugman writes in Fridays Salt of the Earth: Since we're stuck in Iraq indefinitely, we may as well try to learn something. But I suspect that our current leaders won't be receptive to the most important lesson of the land where cities and writing were invented: that manmade environmental damage can destroy a civilization. When archaeologists excavated the cities of ancient Mesopotamia, they were amazed not just by what they found but by where they found it: in the middle of an unpopulated desert.Leonard Woolley asked: Why, if Ur was an empire's capital, if Sumer was once a vast granary, has the population dwindled to nothing, the very soil lost its virtue?

The answer? Mans ruination of the environment, a crime Krugman lays at the feet of President Bush and the Republicans: And on other environmental issues-above all, global warming-America's ruling party is pursuing a strategy of denial and deception. His article concludes: So here's the question: will we avoid the fate of past civilizations that destroyed their environments, and hence themselves? And the answer is: not if Mr. Bush can help it.

The funny thing is that Bush, when hes not out destroying civilization, is making Krugmans beloved Mesopotamia more environmentally friendly. That well-known environmentalist Saddam Hussein destroyed Iraq's southern marshes, which a State Department report calls one of the finest and most extensive natural wetlands ecosystems in Europe and western Asia.According to two separate studies by the United Nations Environmental Program and the AMAR Charitable Foundation, between 84% and 90% of the marshes have been destroyed. The report also notes Hussein has set fire to Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil fields and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf. Thanks to Bush (and no thanks to Krugman), hes no longer polluting Iraqs air or water-or killing its people, for that matter.

For the rest of Paul Krugmans column, click here:

George W. Bush | Environment | Global Warming | Saddam Hussein | Iraq War | Paul Krugman

Gerald Who?

Condoleezza Rice spoke to the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Dallas, and Jacques Steinberg delivered a straightforward account of the speech Friday. Whats interesting is that Steinberg, a Times media reporter who authored the papers front-page story on Howell Raines resignation, covered Rices 10 a.m. convention talk but makes no mention of the afternoons main speaker: Gerald Boyd, the former Times managing editor who resigned June 5 along with executive editor Howell Raines. (Predictably, the Times rival Washington Post finds the story simply fascinating.)

Since the Times didnt carry Boyds comments (which show Boyd still thinks race was involved), Times Watch will: "I would be lying if I didn't say that I can't help wonder why after all these years of struggling to establish our work and credibility in the newsroom-to be seen as top-notch journalists-as soon as controversy arises, an African-American reporter and an African-American senior editor are automatically viewed as suspect.

Hmm, maybe because Blair was making up stories under your newsroom management? Just throwing that out there.

For the rest of Steinbergs story on Rice (but not Boyd), click here:

Jayson Blair | Gerald Boyd | National Association of Black Journalists | Condoleezza Rice | Jacques Steinberg

Schwarzenegger, The Villain

Fridays piece on the California recall election by Charlie LeDuff, Actor Calls for Overhaul Of State Economic Engine, throws out helpful hints on defeating Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, the biggest name in the race to replace California Gov. Gray Davis. (An aside to Times copy editors: We realize Schwarzenegger is a tough word for a headline, but isnt actor just a bit dismissive for a candidate with a real shot at winning the election?)

LeDuff helpfully brings up Democratic talking points: Not only will his inexperience be an issue, but unflattering accusations are sure to surface, like the tabloid accounts of groping and boorish behavior on movie sets that surfaced when Mr. Schwarzenegger considered a run for governor two years ago. He said after his television announcement last night that he was expecting as much. The Times has certainly changed its tune on scandal-mongering since Bill Clinton was in office. For the rest of Charlie LeDuffs story on Schwarzenegger, click here: California | Gray Davis | Charlie LeDuff | Headlines | Recall | Scandals | Arnold Schwarzenegger