Since this film has recently been released on DVD it seemed like a good time to revisit this issue from last December
I wrote about the Plame non-scandal scandal at length in The Preface (an IU student paper) and in a term paper on “attitude change propaganda”. I am gratified that the Washington Post editors did the right thing in their recent editorial, but the Washington Post was as guilty as anyone else in reporting the lies about this issue and The Post repeated them regularly.
At first, The Post (along with the rest of the elite media) would just report the usual lies; that Plame was outed by the White House, that she was undercover and that she lost her career as a secret agent as a result of her exposure. All of this and more was debunked by the official investigations.
But as it became more clear that it was Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame who were liars, the Washington Post did something very interesting which made them the focus of my paper on propaganda. On page one and two the Post would report the usual lies about this story as if they were true, and often on the very same day they would write an editorial that was buried in the paper telling the truth about the matter. This happened repeatedly. Do the editors at the Washington Post actually edit and check the accuracy of their reporters and/or the wire stores they feature prominently, or do they just write a daily column and call it an editorial?
The largest misconception is that Valerie Plame was a secret agent at or near the time the events unfolded. The truth is that Plame was outed many years before by secret documents that were leaked which rendered her a desk jockey at the CIA’s WMD Division at Langley. If anyone doubts that may I remind you that when this unfolded Plame had young twins at home, so unless the CIA is in the habit of sending pregnant moms to be with twins overseas undercover you are just going to have to accept that she was put on desk duty.
Plame was listed in Joe Wilson’s Who’s Who entry. Plame made contributions to Democrats listing a known CIA front business as her place of employment. Her neighbors knew she worked for the CIA (as one intrepid reporter went knocking on doors). She was not anything close to 007 by any objective measure.
The Washington Post continued their peculiar behavior recently as Accuracy in Media points out:
While the paper said [in its editorial] it hoped that George W. Bush’s version of events would be vindicated by historians, the Post’s “Reliable Sources” gossip column had run a big article about the public relations blitz for the movie and its various premiers in Washington, D.C. Plame “is more than happy with ‘Fair Game,’ the movie based on her memoir,” the article said. No kidding.
So the “troubling trend” was in evidence at the Post itself, albeit in a different section of the paper.
Indeed Washington Post, where was the reporters fact check in the story linked? The fact that the film was made from Plame’s memoir and that she is happy with it shows that Plame is not just a proven liar, which the evidence has demonstrated and even the Washington Post admits, but rather she is a continuous and flaming one [not the language we like to use here but unfortunately reality demands it – Editor].
Hollywood myth-making on Valerie Plame controversy
WE’RE NOT in the habit of writing movie reviews. But the recently released film “Fair Game” – which covers a poisonous Washington controversy during the war in Iraq – deserves some editorial page comment, if only because of what its promoters are saying about it. The protagonists portrayed in the movie, former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV and former spy Valerie Plame, claim that it tells the true story of their battle with the Bush administration over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Ms. Plame’s exposure as a CIA agent. “It’s accurate,” Ms. Plame told The Post. Said Mr. Wilson: “For people who have short memories or don’t read, this is the only way they will remember that period.”
We certainly hope that is not the case. In fact, “Fair Game,” based on books by Mr. Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions – not to mention outright inventions. To start with the most sensational: The movie portrays Ms. Plame as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned. This is simply false. In reality, as The Post’s Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification. [Translation – she made it up – Editor]
The movie portrays Mr. Wilson as a whistle-blower who debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger. In fact, an investigation by the Senate intelligence committee [The bi-partisan committee was unanimous in its findings – Editor] found that Mr. Wilson’s reporting did not affect the intelligence community’s view on the matter [In fact Wilson’s report to the CIA bolstered the case that Saddam was trying to obtain more uranium according to that very same Senate Intelligence Committee Report – Editor] , and an official British investigation found that President George W. Bush’s statement in a State of the Union address that Britain believed that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger was well-founded.
“Fair Game” also resells the couple’s story that Ms. Plame’s exposure was the result of a White House conspiracy. A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy – but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative. [Think about it, you lie to the newspapers while telling them that the President is a liar; and you expect that the Washington press core won’t track down the fact that it was your wife, Valerie Plame, who sent a memo to her boss recommending that Wilson be sent to Niger? The Senate Intelligence Committee investigators confirmed that as well. Our question still remains, why was Wilson not required to sign a non-disclosure contract? Could it be that the infamous Wilson letter was the goal of the entire affair? – Editor]
Hollywood has a habit of making movies about historical events without regard for the truth; “Fair Game” is just one more example. But the film’s reception illustrates a more troubling trend of political debates in Washington in which established facts are willfully ignored. Mr. Wilson claimed that he had proved that Mr. Bush deliberately twisted the truth about Iraq, and he was eagerly embraced by those who insist the former president lied the country into a war. Though it was long ago established that Mr. Wilson himself was not telling the truth – not about his mission to Niger and not about his wife – the myth endures. We’ll join the former president in hoping that future historians get it right.