I don't often have occasion to utter these words, but kudos to Bill Press. Appearing in the revolving token liberal's seat on this past weekend's edition of the McLaughlin Group, Press went to bat for a pair of journalistic institutions that the rest of the free world were ready to throw under a suicide bomb-laden bus -- Newsweek, and its senior investigative reporter (amazingly, such creatures do actually still exist) Michael Isikoff.
Just as he had in a May 20 column, Press pointed out the peculiar irony to hear Scott McClellan, of all people, taking Isikoff and the magazine to task for "irresponsibly" relying on only one source (who would later recant his story) when reporting that a forthcoming report on prisoner abuse would include an allegation that guards in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. As Press put it in his column:
In the end, the whole Newsweek flap is a lesson in personal responsibility. Newsweek relied on questionable intelligence to write a magazine article. George W. Bush relied on faulty intelligence to start a war that cost $200 billion so far and has taken the lives of over 1,600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.
Here's the difference: Newsweek didn't know its intelligence was faulty. Newsweek accepted responsibility. And Newsweek apologized. We're still waiting on President Bush to do the same.
In the weekly "predictions" segment that closes out every show, Press prognosticated that, within six months, an official government report would show the magazine was right all along, and wrong to retract the story.
Well, it looks like exoneration may come sooner than even Press had predicted.