Wack that mole

Wack that mole
: As I turned off my laptop last night to go to bed, I heard Howard Kurtz on CNN saying that it would have be seen whether the “deception was warranted” regarding the President’s trip to Iraq — bringing the predictions of the Ranting Profs in the post below to life.

Let’s wack this mole — let’s maul this meme — right now.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the White House keeping this trip secret for security reasons. There’s especially nothing wrong because reporters went and told us all about it.

But Kurtz and company are trying to start up a collective kvetch that will only make journalists look bad to a public this is wiser.

Here he is in the Washington Post today:

Although the White House lied to much of the press to conceal President Bush’s Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad, many journalists and analysts yesterday were willing to give the administration a pass.

Well, “lied” is a strong word. You can tell it grates Kurtz that he couldn’t find every journalist agreeing with his proposition. But he found some:

But Philip Taubman, Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, said that “in this day and age, there should have been a way to take more reporters. People are perfectly capable of maintaining a confidence for security reasons. It’s a bad precedent.” Once White House officials “decided to do a stealth trip, they bought into a whole series of things that are questionable.”

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, criticized the White House correspondents who made the trip without spilling the secret. “That’s just not kosher,” he said. “Reporters are in the business of telling the truth. They can’t decide it’s okay to lie sometimes because it serves a larger truth or good cause.”

What a naive crock.

Reporters are forever being told things that are off the record. They can’t tell the full truth. They made a secret deal not to tell the full truth. They do it to get larger stories. That’s 101.

And in a time of war, details of missions and whereabouts are routinely kept secret. Ask Geraldo Rivera. When he didn’t follow that rule, he got booted from Iraq. That’s the 102-level course in war reporting.

And that’s pure common sense.

This is a nonstory, guys, and you should know that better than anyone. Mole, get the hell back in that hole.

: And on the political side, most of the Democratic candidates tried to snark about Iraq still. Only Clark’s side had the sensible response:

Matt Bennett, the communications director for Gen. Wesley K. Clark, said: “We’re not going to throw stones at the guy for trying to do a nice thing for the troops. When the president goes and spends time with the troops, that’s a good thing.”