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On Thursday we took issue with Jay Newton-Small's Time piece about the Pelosi/CIA story, noting that the entire article ignored the facts of the story and centered instead on the theatrics; how Pelosi had fumbled her way through her press conference and that's why the story continued to live on in zombie form.
Media message received: It's her own damn fault.
Well, Thursday afternoon Newton-small wrote another piece, this one for the Time blog, and this time the writer conceded that in the wildly over-hyped Pelosi-CIA showdown, Pelosi likely had the facts on her side, in part because not a single Republican can come forward with first-hand knowledge of the CIA briefings in question and knocked down Pelosi's story that she was misled. Nobody.
Too bad Newton-Small couldn't find the space for that little nugget the first time around. But, of course, it's been strategic omissions like that have kept the story alive, so you have to wonder if, collectively, among the press corps the omissions regarding Pelosi have become intentional.
After walking through the lack of evidence, Newton-Small concludes [emphasis added]:
But all of this has been lost in the GOP sturm und drang, led, by – of all people – Pete Hoekstra and Newt Gingrich. Yes, Pelosi needs a serious lesson in public relations but it increasing looks like there's nothing wrong with her memory.
Lost by whom? By the press, naturally.
BTW, there's an insightful reader comment posted below the Time blog post that's worth examining. As part of Time's incredibly belated defense of Pelosi (i.e. Time's examination of the facts), Newton-Small notes:
Perhaps the most astonishing response has been from the CIA Director Leon Panetta, who basically said: Don't trust our records. Which begs the question: what other issues have they kept questionable records on?
Time thought it was a big deal, that in response to the CIA briefing controversy, the agency's top man raised doubts about the validity of some of the information.
Here's what "zachpruckowski" wrote, and it is 100 percent accurate:
There's an error in your article. Director Panetta has been saying from the outset that the documents are the agents' best recollections and may be inaccurate. That was in the original letter he sent to the Intelligence Committee, the one that contained the list of meetings that started this whole brouhaha. The blog post you linked to (Wash Post's Plumline blog) that reported on the letter did so two weeks ago. It's inaccurate to say that Leon Panetta "responded" to the controversy in the same document that began the controversy. That sentence was in the original letter that started this whole "Pelosi vs. the CIA" thing.
Panetta made his claim about the veracity of the CIA briefing notes weeks ago and at the outset of the GOP-driven story. But the press, in order to prop up the anti-Pelosi story politely ignored the Panetta angle.