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Meanwhile, as Bush changed his answers to the cocaine question, the New York Post gradually gave in to a sensational story that was top news almost everywhere else. On Thursday, they buried it on page 22, only to move it up to six and back to 10, before putting Andrea Peyser's homespun spin on page two on Sunday. The Post's editorialists avoided the subject like the plague, while other conservatives split on the correct strategy for Bush to adopt. On Friday, the Journal's Peggy Noonan said he should stonewall, while Paul Gigot confronted the awful truth: "Mr. Bush is now going to be hurt no matter what he does." That day, W. went back to stonewalling and repeating the drug war mantra, "Drugs will destroy you."

By the weekend, as a liberal chorus urged Bush to come clean, a new talking point had emerged: if he has used drugs, Bush is a hypocrite— that is, former drug users should not adopt a policy of incarcerating first-time drug offenders, as Bush has in Texas. The hypocrisy theme, first introduced by John Stacks in Time, got heavy play through the weekend. On Sunday, The New York Times and Meet the Press introduced the most radical spin yet, which came from Republican governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico. Johnson is a confessed former drug user who thinks it's time to decriminalize drug possession. By Monday, Jesse Jackson had turned up on Today with an enlightened discussion on drug policy— the only good thing that can possibly come of this "scandal."


Last week's Press Clips item on Feed failed to note that Press Clips wrote one piece for Feed. Meanwhile, after the item on the Times's coverage of the Cox report appeared, one source reported that the following occurred: A Times editor asked Jeff Gerth, who covered the Cox report for the Times, to write a point-by-point rebuttal of the New York Review of Books's critique of the Times, for internal review. A spokesman for the Times's Washington bureau declined to comment.

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