Fred Hiatt is at it again. In an editorial today he wrote a line that underscores how he runs the Editorial pages of the Washington Post. It really should serves as his motto, as the yardstick by which he does his work:
“established facts are willfully ignored”
The paper would do its readers a service if they printed this at the top of the page as long as Hiatt is the editor.
Today he returns to one of his favorite hobby horses: defending lies that launched the war in Iraq and attacking anybody who might say otherwise.
Fred gets to do this on the Editorial pages of the WP despite the reality that his take on the Iraq War is usually at odds with the reporting in the paper. (The same could be said of Fred’s take on many other issues as well).
Today, Fred took after the recent movie, Fair Game. It was a film about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame in retaliation for her husband’s criticism of one of the lies selling the war and how events impacted the couple’s relationship. Fred sticks to all the talking points of that Bush speechwriter he hired–you know the guy who had a hand in putting the words “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” into Bush’s State of the Union speech.
Fred goes on to claim the the narrative of the film is false by twisting the reporting of two WP reporters to present conclusions of fact that are not supported by that reporting. Hiding behind reporters and spinning their work way out of context is one of Hiatt’s signature techniques. And in today’s editorial that technique is front and center. At best, the 6-13-2003 story Hiatt cites left the facts murky and by relying only on Bush Administration officials and some unnamed officials as sources the reporting can not be pointed to as being the final version of the truth. Perhaps Gerson was one of those sources. And regardless, the reporting did little change the major underlying fact that the war was based on lies and that the outing of Plame was just part of the massive effort to cover-up those lies. Good reporters like Pincus and bad ones like Judith Miller were both used to help push that cover-up. Hiatt wasn’t used as he was and is a willing participant. And he is still working 24/7 to sell the war and cover-up the truth.
Hiatt is an Iraq War dead-ender. He will say anything and twist any evidence to defend the lies he supported that led to the worst policy disaster in American history. From his perch as the Editorial Page Editor at a major American newspaper, Hiatt puts his thumb on reporters to get the outcome he wants and if their reporting doesn’t make Fred’s case he just does what he did in this morning’s editorial–he sets up strawmen to knock down and twist the reporting of others to make his case.
Today he goes after a movie because the film shines a light on the big lie Fred defends. And so Hiatt comes out with guns a blazing. He has two big points of contention, one is that the film shows Joe Wilson as a whistle blower who helped reveal WMD lies behind the push for war. Fred sets up a strawman argument that Wilson alone did not prove the yellow cake lie as some kind of proof that lying about WMD doesn’t matter and/or that the movie can’t be trusted because Fred thinks it tries to make Wilson into some kind of a hero.
Worst is Fred’s complaint that the film ‘invents’ Plame working uncover with a group of Iraqi scientist who were hung out to dry once her cover was blown. It is a well established fact that Plame was working on issues of nuclear proliferation and that when her cover was blown her contacts were in jeopardy. It is also true that Plame, the CIA and the filmmakers are not at liberty to say who these people were and what Countries were involved. The story line about Plame’s work taking place in Iraq gets to that truth even as it compresses facts and events to fit the narrative limitations of a movie and CIA restrictions about what can and cannot be said about her career as a spy.
It was a movie–you know, fiction that tries to get to larger truths about life. But because one of the truths that it tried to explore was the waste of the Iraq war, Fred had to go on the attack.
In his editorial, Fred demands more of Hollywood than a well made film. He demands that filmmakers adherer to provable facts as they craft their fictionalized narratives based on real events. In this way, Hiatt holds Hollywood to a much higher standaard than he holds himself and his collection of propagandists (George Will, Marc Thiessen, Michael Gerson, etc.) whom he lets play fast and loose with facts, history and truth as they craft their essays based on absolute bullshit.
Perhaps the fact that a Hollywood movie is more honest about the War (and life) than Hiatt’s Editorial page is what really sets the rat bastard off. The film exposes the insanity of the Iraq War on so many level and I guess that is why Fred felt compelled to go on the attack–an attack which twists the reporting of the WP to defend Fred’s lies and his efforts to keep the selling of the Iraq War as an active project of the WP Editorial Page.
If one wants to understand why Journalism is failing America one needs to look no further than Fred Hiatt. Any organization concerned with journalistic integrity would fire his lying ass. That he continues at the WP is an insult to the many decent reporters who work there and good reporters everywhere. Katharine Graham must be spinning in her grave.