From WaPo today...
Michael Smith, a reporter for the Sunday Times of London, has led the coverage of the DSM, starting with his report of the memo on May 1.
Check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2005/06/14/DI2005061401261.html
This is what it's like when you have reporters whose starting point is distrust of politicians. When you have reporters who feel it is their DUTY to dig, to search, and to not be afraid to confront powerful politicians. In short, reporters who report, instead of bloviate, pontificate, or position themselves for a sweet deal on cable, and dreams of a house in Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.
Kudos to WaPo for hosting this Q&A session. I wonder how it happened? Surely the WaPo editors know this makes them look like chumps in comparison.
My favorite questions and Smith's replies:
Austin, Tex.: Has there ever been a historical equivalent to the Downing Street Memo that may help put it in better context with the American public? Also, do you think that it's possible since few Americans know what 'Downing Street' is or means, the significance of the document is just not appreciated on this side of the Atlantic?
Michael Smith: I think in journalistic terms we need to go back to the Pentagon papers, in terms of a US context you have to look at the answer I gave earlier comparing that meeting to an NSC meeting. That is its significance, that is its equivalent. It is highly damning and some of the self-serving nonsense from people who should know better in some, and it is now only some, of the US media is frankly depressing...
Fairfax, Va.: Do you expect we will see more leaks which further corroborate the assertion that Bush lied to justify the neoconservatives' aggressive stance against Iraq? Also, what are your thoughts on the semantics argument of the Iraq war supporters (i.e., in the U.K., "fixed around" doesn't mean what you think it means...)?
Michael Smith: There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there. More leaks? I do hope so and the more Blair and Bush lie to try to get themselves off the hook the more likely it is that we will get more leaks.