War, Lies, and E-Mail

While press presses Rove, prosecutors scoop reporters, take notes

More leaks to the "media" will occur in the days ahead. It's likely they'll come mostly from sources on the White House side trying to make their case to the public—trying to contain the political damage to the Republican Party. In the polls, the president's credibility has been dropping. Some leaks may also come from the prosecutor's side—to prepare us for a possibly inconclusive result.

But we are not going to get any useful infusion of information unless or until prosecutor Fitzgerald, who has a reputation for thoroughness, concludes his inquiry, announces the results, and explains in detail the process and path of his investigation. He is not legally required to file such a final report, but it would be shameful if he didn't. After all the surmise and speculation and conspiracy theories, the country deserves more than just an announcement about indictments—or perhaps a conclusion that there wasn't enough evidence to produce indictments.

The press, too, needs to think about how to explain its process to the public. This could begin by inserting high up in every story a fat paragraph or two listing all the things that the reporter still doesn't know and describing in detail the White House lockdown and other secrecy shrouds that have made us half blind. That might establish a bond with the reader. Candor breeds credibility.

It would also be refreshing if, in every story about the leak, there were some clear mention of the war that continues in Iraq and how it was brought into being.

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