Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bush to Times: Drop head.

Posted By on 12.19.07 at 05:01 PM

I hadn't realized anyone there was capable of such nuanced thought. Editor & Publisher reports that the White House is protesting a front-page story in Wednesday's New York Times -- well, not the story, exactly, and not the main headline to the story, but the subhead, which in the view of the White House makes an "inference" that is "pernicious and troubling."

The Times story reports that at least four White House lawyers were involved in talks with the CIA over what to do with those videotapes of interrogations of two Al Qaeda members, the tapes the CIA eventually destroyed. The Times says that its sources "indicate that the involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged."

The headline: "Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A. Tapes." The pernicious subhead: "White House Role Was Wider Than It Said." In a statement, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says the subhead's inaccurate, not because the White House role wasn't wide, but because the White House never claimed it was narrower. Says Perino, "We have not publicly commented on facts relating to this issue, except to note President Bush's immediate reaction upon being briefed on the matter. Furthermore, we have not described -- neither to highlight, nor to minimize -- the role or deliberations of White House officials in this matter. The New York Times' inference that there is an effort to mislead in this matter is pernicious and troubling, and we are formally requesting that NYT correct the sub-headline of this story."

The White House wants its props for clamming up and saying nothing at all.

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