Media Matters (full disclosure: my employer) does a good rundown of the ever-shifting story -- heavily promoted by WorldNetDaily -- of Paul Vallely's claim that Joseph Wilson claimed that his wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA well before her outing by Bush administration officials in mid-2003. Let's summarize and expand regarding WND's treatment of the story.
-- WND won't say that Vallely's story has changed from his original claim. In its original Nov. 5 article, WND claimed Vallely said that Wilson told his wife's job "over the course of at least three, possibly five, conversations in 2002."
Vallely retracted most of that claim three days later -- though, of course, that's not how WND's Art Moore put it in a Nov. 8 article. Rather, Moore wrote that Vallely "clarified the number of occasions Wilson mentioned his wife's status ... [a]fter recalling further over the weekend his contacts with Wilson." Vallely is now claiming that Wilson mentioned his wife's occupation only once and "that it likely occurred some time in the late summer or early fall of 2002."
-- Another Nov. 8 WND article (this one unbylined) notes a claim that National Review contributor Victor Davis Hanson said that Wilson had told him of his wife's occupation in a pre-outing green-room conversation. WND added: "But contrary to a report, Hanson said Wilson did not disclose his wife's CIA employment."
Whose mystierous "report" is WND debunking? One by radio host John Batchelor -- on whose show Vallely made his original, mostly retracted claim, Media Matters notes.
-- That same article also quotes Vallely as saying that "There's no personal vendetta here" against Wilson. But WND has never reported Vallely's background. As Media Matters details, Vallely is an official at the conservative Center for Security Policy, whose current president is Washington Times columnist Frank J. Gaffney Jr. Current and former CSP advistory board members include Former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, and radio host and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, and former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas J. Feith.
There's a lot of this story WND has not told or otherwise made clear to its readers.
Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2005 12:07 AM EST