Debra J. Saunders

 Spare me the hand-wringing about “the national security of our country,” as Sen. John F. Kerry put it. I agree that the White House is too lofty a perch for bad-mouthing a federal employee -- that’s what the Republican National Committee is for. Be it noted, however, that America is no less safe with Valerie’s name -- be it Plame or Wilson -- in the spotlight.

 Besides, surely Wilson knew he was compromising his wife’s anonymity when he wrote the piece for The New York Times.

 If there were stories that endangered the lives of Americans serving abroad, they were the stories of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, and later the overblown Quran stories that graced the Times’ and The Chronicle’s front pages in June -- stories that incited anti-American sentiment across the globe. Rove critics aren’t demanding an investigation to see who leaked those stories, although some on the right wanted an investigation to see who leaked the original (and inaccurate) Quran-flushing report to Newsweek.

 Note how, after Newsweek got the Quran-flushing at Guantanamo Bay story wrong, The New York Times followed with we-told-you-so reports that there were abuses of the Quran at Gitmo. Stop the presses: A defense contractor stepped on the Quran, for which he apologized; a guard splashed urine on a Quran -- by accident; the night shift tossed water balloons in a cellblock, Quran copies got wet. Somehow that non-story was front-page news.

 That Times editors saw the Quran story as top-of-the-page material is a sign of pure hysteria. Torture at Abu Ghraib was front-page news; a damp Quran is not.

 Here’s an example of how tone-deaf the Times has become: Its magazine wanted a photographer to depict the abuse of prisoners at Iraqi facilities and Gitmo, so the editors hired Andres Serrano, the photographer who angered America with his photograph of a crucifix in urine.

 Call the Quran and Rove stories examples of a new trend: We-told-you-so journalism. Gotcha journalism has a new name: Gotcha this time. No, gotcha this time. No, really, gotcha this time.

 If a new story reinforces an old story that the public didn’t care about before, it lands on page one.


Debra J. Saunders

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