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In an op-ed column that appears in today’s Washington Post, the “dean of the Washington press corps,” David Broder, struggles with the trial and sentencing of Scooter Libby. It raises the question: does David Broder belong to the reality-based community?
Depends. On whether you read the central or concluding paragraphs, that is. For it turns out that David Broder is quite decisively of two altogether irreconcilable minds on the subject. On one hand, this whole trial is a farce and Scooter Libby never should have been tried. But on the other, it was completely reasonable for Judge Reggie Walton to have sentenced him just as he did.
Some may call Broder’s a liberal spirit. Others will opt for a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia. As for me, its plainly senile dementia. But then I don’t have a license. So perhaps we should call in Dr. Frist for a videocamera diagnosis.
One thing I do know, however: Broder said that journalists – he cited Sidney Blumenthal, Newsweek and Joe Conason – had done wrong by saying that Karl Rove was at the heart of the Valerie Plame scandal. Broder wrote:
These and other publications owe Karl Rove an apology. And all of journalism needs to relearn the lesson: Can the conspiracy theories and stick to the facts.
Of course, the prosecution proved that Broder was wrong, and that Blumenthal, Newsweek, and Conason were right on the money. So, it’s true that an apology is owing. From David Broder, a embarrassing example of an opinion journalist, to the serious journalists he maligned.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”