When the Washington Post isn’t letting ideology trump news judgment by beating the drums for the left-wing domestic agenda of the Democratic Party, it can sometimes get a story straight. Such was the case with its editorial, “Hollywood myth-making on Valerie Plame controversy.” In an editorial, the paper tore the new movie, “Fair Game,” starring left-wing movie actor and friend of Hugo Chavez Sean Penn, to pieces.
The film, now in theaters, takes the line that the Bush Administration went after a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, because her husband, Joe Wilson, exposed lies about the Iraq War. We at AIM spent a lot of time and effort debunking this version of events as it was unfolding. It’s good to see the Post getting it right.
“Fair Game” is “full of distortions—not to mention outright inventions,” the editorial said, such as depicting Plame “as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned.” The paper explains, “This is simply false. In reality, as The Post’s Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification.”
The Post added, “The movie portrays Mr. Wilson as a whistle-blower who debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger. In fact, an investigation by the Senate intelligence committee found that Mr. Wilson’s reporting did not affect the intelligence community’s view on the matter, and an official British investigation found that President George W. Bush’s statement in a State of the Union address that Britain believed that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger was well-founded.”
It went on, “‘Fair Game’ also resells the couple’s story that Ms. Plame’s exposure was the result of a White House conspiracy. A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy—but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative.”
The Post said the film’s reception—by those on the left who normally look to the Post for guidance on most issues—“illustrates a more troubling trend of political debates in Washington in which established facts are willfully ignored.”
While the paper said it hoped that George W. Bush’s version of events would be vindicated by historians, the Post’s “Reliable Sources” gossip column had run a big article about the public relations blitz for the movie and its various premiers in Washington, D.C. Plame “is more than happy with ‘Fair Game,’ the movie based on her memoir,” the article said. No kidding.
So the “troubling trend” was in evidence at the Post itself, albeit in a different section of the paper.