Right attempts to discredit soldier

Spc. Wilson: a new whipping for the rightJust over 24 hours after Donald Rumsfeld was grilled by soldiers stationed in Kuwait, news broke Thursday that a reporter coached Army Specialist Thomas Wilson before the soldier asked the famed "armor from landfills" question. Right wing shmendricks on talk radio and on the internet are already screeching, "Liberal media* plot! I knew it! Damn you, mainstream media! Damn you all to hell!"

The reporter in question is Edward Lee Pitts from the Chattanooga Times Free Press (mainstream media?) who, while not listed on the newspaper's masthead, is a military affairs reporter imbedded with the 278th Regimental Combat Team.

Sometime after the Rumsfeld event, Pitts sent an e-mail to, "...not the whole staff, just some friends," news editor Rick Moore told Reality Based Nation. In the e-mail, Pitts discussed helping Spc. Wilson with the question and described the resulting press swarm. (Moore had no further comment other than to forward any other questions to the publisher, who was unavailable.)


Like flies on shit, the legitimacy and impact of the crucial "armor from landfills" question is being diminished by the right (and, most likely, the White House and Pentagon) simply because of an industrious reporter whose "friend" leaked his private e-mail to Drudge (for some reason). Pitts has a bastard for a friend, to be sure, because now the whole right wing online world is unleashing its fury on Pitts. But the feeding frenzy on Spc. Wilson's veracity is much more serious.What does it matter if the question was given to Spc. Wilson? Of course it doesn't matter. At all. Were Bush's smarmy, ham-fisted quips in the presidential debates plucked out of thin air via his rapier-like wit? Of course not. Everything was scripted by aides and rehearsed. Speech writers and assistants have historically penned important addresses and talking points for presidents and VIPs, but it's conventional wisdom that the source of the words is irrelevant (Bush's worst moments come when he's brazen enough to believe he's able to improvise). It's all about the quality and impact of the scripted statement.Everyone who knows Spc. Wilson has repeatedly verified that he'd ask a question like that one. (Some lesser reputed pundits have had the nerve to question Wilson's honesty -- to Wilson's family members.)The right's enthusiasm for discrediting Spc. Wilson's question is shameful. Big surprise, the right doing something shameful. Their unwillingness to take the content of the question seriously is yet another example of their inability to embrace the truth.The facts have not been disproved in the slightest. Spc. Wilson's concern was legitimate, as was, based on the applause, the mutual concern of every soldier in attendance.Yet the right's predictably self-righteous audacity is now aimed squarely at a soldier who will have much more deadly ammunition pointed his way soon enough. It's so damn easy for wingnuts to sit in their bedrooms endorsing the war and beating their chests about their votes for Bush, but grand-standing seems to be the extent of their hawkishness. Here's a thought: enlist. Then, Herr Freep, while you're over there dumpster diving for supplies, scream all you want: "Damn you, liberal media!" But we all know you'll be screaming just one word: "Mommy!"*There is no liberal media.