Thursday, May 15, 2003

The Ethics of Susan Schmidt

Years later, in 2000, in an online Washington Post chat room, a reader asked the newspaper's chief Whitewater reporter, Susan Schmidt, why the paper had never published the results of the RTC-Pillsbury Report. She replied, "The Pillsbury Report was incomplete. Information that had surfaced after its release - notably Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm billing records - rendered it irrelevant." Unfortunately, this was not factually true. The billing records had no relevance to any legal issue addressed by the Pillsbury report, and the RTC had issued its February 25 report subsequent to the discovery of them, making that very point and vindicating Mrs. Clinton. In any case, this incorrect ex post facto defense cannot explain the newspaper's decision not to publish the contents of the original report in the first place. Though the Post has published lengthy internal reviews of its errors in the past, Schmidt's was the only explanation ever offered by anyone there involves in its Whitewater coverage.

The Clinton Wars, p. 179.
I suppose that's the kind of affirmative action one gets when one is desperately trying to help Len Downie get his Watergate.