Mona Charen

The American press also behaved poorly. Many Washington reporters demanded to know why the arrests had come so soon after Obama and Dmitry Medvedev shared a burger -- recapitulating the State Department narrative that it was somehow ungracious of us to arrest their spies. And those were the serious members of the press! Most were not serious, and amused themselves posting sexy photos of Anna Chapman. She "could have warmed up any Cold War night," leered the Washington Post.

But leave it to NPR to supply the most, ahem, party-line reaction. Reporting on June 29, Dina Temple-Raston introduced her story this way: "Anyone who picked up a copy of El Diario La Prensa, New York's largest Spanish-language daily, would have heard of Vicky Pelaez. She'd been a reporter and columnist at the paper for 20 years. So imagine the reaction of her colleagues when they found out that she and her husband were arrested this week as Russian agents." Pelaez's boss, Gerson Borrero, was "shocked, surprised, incredulous ... I thought it was a joke ... She's just like any other journalist. She happens to be writing in Spanish but nothing out of the norm, nothing that would indicate to me that she was a part of this." Temple-Raston then quoted a Barnard professor who assured listeners that these spies were "holdovers from a bygone era" who had not harmed U.S. interests at all.

Very soothing. But National Review's Jay Nordlinger reports that on her desk, Pelaez kept photos not just of Che Guevara but of Abimael Guzman (founder of Peru's crazed Shining Path, a Maoist terror group). She routinely praised Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and other leftists. Fidel Castro, she wrote, "is already immortal," and he quoted her with gratitude as well.

What's wrong with us? The editor of La Prensa is shocked that such a woman was in the pay of Moscow? NPR finds it equally mystifying? And no one, from the White House to the tabloids, is worried about whether hanging a "kick me again" sign on our backs is a good idea?

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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