What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 2, 2012

Ruth Ann Dailey On "Facts" and Facts

In today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, columnist Ruth Ann Dailey writes:
The Obama administration and its media partisans now navigating the "Fast and Furious" drama and looking ahead to the far more scandalous matter of classified intelligence leaks should remember this name: Valerie Plame.
And then a few paragraphs later:
The truth is in the details, but in political theater the truth rarely matters.
Which is followed by some examples, including this one:
It didn't matter that her husband Joe Wilson's investigation and subsequent New York Times editorial had actually bolstered the claim of British and Italian intelligence that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium in Niger.
Which is why, of course, that Joe Wilson wrote in the New York Times:
In late February 2002, I arrived in Niger's capital, Niamey, where I had been a diplomat in the mid-70's and visited as a National Security Council official in the late 90's. The city was much as I remembered it. Seasonal winds had clogged the air with dust and sand. Through the haze, I could see camel caravans crossing the Niger River (over the John F. Kennedy bridge), the setting sun behind them. Most people had wrapped scarves around their faces to protect against the grit, leaving only their eyes visible.

The next morning, I met with Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick at the embassy. For reasons that are understandable, the embassy staff has always kept a close eye on Niger's uranium business. I was not surprised, then, when the ambassador told me that she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq -- and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington. Nevertheless, she and I agreed that my time would be best spent interviewing people who had been in government when the deal supposedly took place, which was before her arrival.

I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place. [emphasis added.]
So how does that bolster the (incorrect, as it turns out) claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger?  Dailey never explains, she just assumes that you, her loyal reading public, will assume that her incorrect claim is actually correct and, y'know, factual.

Then there's this:
It didn't matter that the source for Robert Novak's column identifying Ms. Plame as a CIA employee was the State Department's Richard Armitage, not vice presidential aide Scooter Libby.
You'd think that Libby was charged with leaking Ms Plame's identity and that the conveniently avoided "facts" showed otherwise.  That's certainly what Dailey is implying.

Except Libby wasn't charged with leaking Plame's identity.  He was charged with Obstruction of Justice, Perjury and Making False Statements.

For Ruth Ann Dailey to get some easily researched facts wrong in a column about how facts are ignored by the partisan media is both sadly humorous and completely unforgivable.

Perhaps Jack Kelly's fact checker is doing double duty as Ruth Ann Dailey's fact checker.

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