This is quite big, because up until this point we've only had insinuations of the Bushies doing this. An intelligence official coming out and saying point-blank that he was pressured by the administration to do this is exactly what the Bush administration doesn't want - tangible evidence of the administration "spinning" evidence at least, proof of the president lying at worst. And frankly, given how Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice have been slagging the intelligence agencies at every turn and blaming them for bad information, I wouldn't be surprised if this is only the first of many.
To be honest, there is really NOTHING in that story (plus it is from the NY Times, so we have to wait until the validity has been checked ;)). One guy felt "pressure" to exaggerate his reports. So what? He did NOT exaggerate his reports. And he was not forced to. So some small-time schmuck thought he could make a name for himself by forcing his people to come up with something more than was there, and he failed.
Yeah, it is interesting, but not nearly enough to stand up and say "SEE!!! Bush is a liar! The war was wrong!!!!!"
(plus it is from the NY Times, so we have to wait until the validity has been checked ;))
I know righties love to harp on this (because god knows the left does it often enough to Rush and Ann Coulter and O'Reilly and every other idiot rightie talking head out there), but I'm friends with a couple of professional journalists, and their take on the whole Jayson Blair/Rick Bragg/Howell Raines thing is thus:
1.) This sort of thing happens at every newspaper. Every editor has their favorites and is inclined to give them leeway, and said favorites occasionally abuse the privilege.
2.) The reason this got inflated into such a huge story is ninety percent jealousy towards the Times, because, like it or not, the Times is the ultimate paper of record in this country and one of two (the Washington Post is the other) that can seriously influence the national media's inclination to report on a story. (Or, as one of them put it: "If you think that any single one of the pundits, reporters, or cartoonists who are taking the piss out of the Times right now wouldn't quit their jobs and move to New York in a second if offered a job there, you're on crack.")
3.) Jayson Blair didn't actually report on anything important. Mountain, molehill, etc.
4.) The Times chose to deal with the scandal in a straightforward and honest fashion, and there's no shame in that - and these sorts of scandals can usually reinvigorate a paper's commitment to fact-checking. When the Washington Post had one of its Pulitzer-Prizewinners proven to be a fraud, they overhauled the paper (much as the Times board is doing right now, having fired Raines and seeking a new E-I-C).
godking: 3.) Jayson Blair didn't actually report on anything important. Mountain, molehill, etc.
Yeah, no one cares about stories like a sniper randomly blowing people's heads off. But it's nice how other *journalists* are falling in line to excuse Blair's behavior. The media isn't quite as bad as the lawyers, but damned if they ain't trying...
Demonstrations are a drag. Besides, we're much too high...
The difference between Blair and Limbaugh and O'Reilly is that one is a journalist, the others are talk show hosts.
One presents news (well, is supposed to), and one presents opinion and analysis. The difference is pretty clear cut. I don't listen to Rush to get hard facts, and I don't read the "news" for fiction or editorials (unless I am in that section of the paper, of course).
I don't harp on that because I am a conservative, I harp on that because the state of our "news" industry today is decrepid. When I can turn on the local news and a Playboy Mansion party is the lead story, then there is something wrong. Blair is only the symptom of a larger problem.
There is nothing at all wrong with talk show hosts like Rush. They are entertainment. News is not supposed to be.
I might not be getting all of the facts here - but how is this any different than any other paid government spokesman? No matter who is in power where, there is always some government paid hack out there supporting one agenda or another...