Senators Debate Significance of Pentagon Report on Intelligence by Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung calmly notes in graf four:
An article in yesterday's Washington Post misattributed to the inspector general's report critical comments about the Pentagon operation made by committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). In a statement he released Thursday, Levin, not the inspector general, said the Pentagon effort used intelligence reporting of "dubious quality or reliability." [See correction, A2.]
You know, some article. Written by some guy named Walter Pincus, and R. Jeffrey Smith.
[See correction, A2.] doesn't quite capture the flavor of it, I don't think.
This is what drives the dwindling numbers of mainstream media consumers clear around the bend. It's not just the mistake--in this case it's not even just the embedded premise-destroying nature of the mistake. It's the absolution these outfits uniquely grant to themselves. Print a correction (if that), move on (if you catch my drift), and write a new lede that says Senate Democrats and Republicans disagreed yesterday over the meaning and importance of a Defense Department inspector general's conclusion. Don't give another thought to the indispensable role the Post played in distorting the meaning and importance of the inspector general's conclusion. And in the nature of things, it's a permanent distortion.
Similar errors by President Bush or George Allen or fill-in-the-blank become the subject of a multiweek Behind the Headlines extravaganza, wrapped in a bow for the Pulitzer committee before cascading into a Richard Morin polling feature about the collapse in public approval ratings.
Nobody said it better than Ace:
WaPo Exclusive: Pentagon Inspector General's Report States Conclusively That Bush Admin Official Cooked Pre-War Intelligence!!!
Oh, Minor Correction: It Was A Report From Anti-War Democrat Carl Levin Which "Concluded" That. Whoops, Our Bad.
Update: Comment of the week at Ace:
Can't Scooter Libby just issue a "correction" and go home?