More on Getting Your Story Straight

I’m back from a few days out of town, and have been catching up on my reading – especially AB’s excellent commentaries on the Clarke affair and Karsten’s thoughtful post about population decline in Europe.

I will confess that I’m petty enough that I’ve been enjoying the discomfiture of the Bush administration this week over the Clarke testimony. Somewhat gratifyingly, the press seems to have finally caught on to the fact that the Bush administration’s panicky response to Clarke has been rife with self-contradictions. In today’s Washington Post, Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank enumerate some of the many inconsistencies in the flurry of statements that Bush operatives have made this week, most of which have been well-documented this week by blogs, for instance here on Angry Bear and also on Brad DeLong’s blog. My favorite part of the WaPost piece is this description of how the White House answers such charges of inconsistencies:

Asked about this apparent discrepancy [in statements regarding Clarke’s role in White House policy-making], McCormack pointed a reporter to a Clarke background briefing in 2002 in which the then-White House aide was defending the president’s efforts in fighting terrorism.

No, you’re not missing something if you think that McCormack’s answer had nothing to do with the question. Pincus and Milbank are pointing out (in a subtle way that avoids directly making the statement) that the Bush administration can’t answer questions about inconsistencies, and when confronted simply tries to change the subject instead.

The fact that this piece didn’t appear until today makes me wonder, though, if the press would have ever written such a story without the blog world doing all of the leg work for them all week long…