America’s fifth most influential liberal journalist Fred Hiatt doesn’t have enough to do these days having delegated most of his editorial responsibilities to sensible classical liberals like Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson, Marc Thiessen, Jennifer Rubin, Robert Kagan, Robert Samuelson, Kathleen Parker, and George Will. So today he thought he would try his hand at movie reviewing but, alas, he hasn’t grasped the differences between “drama” and “documentary.”
As Dennis puts it:
Hiatt is an Iraq War dead-ender. He will say anything and twist any evidence to defend the lies he supported that led to the worst policy disaster in American history. From his perch as the Editorial Page Editor at a major American newspaper, Hiatt puts his thumb on reporters to get the outcome he wants and if their reporting doesn’t make Fred’s case he just does what he did in this morning’s editorial—he sets up strawmen to knock down and twist the reporting of others to make his case.
Today he goes after a movie because the film shines a light on the big lie Fred defends. And so Hiatt comes out with guns a blazing. He has two big points of contention, one is that the film shows Joe Wilson as a whistle blower who helped reveal WMD lies behind the push for war. Fred sets up a strawman argument that Wilson alone did not prove the yellow cake lie as some kind of proof that lying about WMD doesn’t matter and/or that the movie can’t be trusted because Fred thinks it tries to make Wilson into some kind of a hero.
Worst is Fred’s complaint that the film ‘invents’ Plame working uncover with a group of Iraqi scientist who were hung out to dry once her cover was blown. It is a well established fact that Plame was working on issues of nuclear proliferation and that when her cover was blown her contacts were in jeopardy. It is also true that Plame, the CIA and the filmmakers are not at liberty to say who these people were and what Countries were involved. The story line about Plame’s work taking place in Iraq gets to that truth even as it compresses facts and events to fit the narrative limitations of a movie and CIA restrictions about what can and cannot be said about her career as a spy.
It was a movie—you know, fiction that tries to get to larger truths about life. But because one of the truths that it tried to explore was the waste of the Iraq war, Fred had to go on the attack.
A somewhat shorter version of this can be found in a Matt Taibbi comment in our recent book salon:
Fred Hiatt was the Moscow bureau chief when I was there in the nineties. He would have made an excellent Soviet reporter, let me put it that way.
A boy’s got to have a dream, you know…