Perino wins what?

Undeniably sexy White House spokesperson Dana Perino won an odd little battle with the New York Times over a sub-heading to a story about the decision to destroy the CIA torture tapes. She got the paper to retract the claim that the “White House Role Was Wider Than It Said.” The body of the piece remains in tact, and it outlines the involvement of four lawyers at a high level, not just one (sad, sweet Harriet Miers), as was previously leaked.

The retraction relies on a narrow (I would say contorted) definition of “White House,” making Perino the only legitimate mouthpiece. It denies the obvious fact that the leaker who was selling the original story that only Miers was involved was also in the White House. The New York Times knows who the leaker was. They were leaked to. They could easily out the source, who clearly lied to them and has lost the right to confidentiality. But they chose to change the sub-heading rather than out a lying source. You’d think they would have learned their lesson from Scooter Libby.

And think about what the retraction makes clear. The Times was wrong to say the White House minimized its role in the scandal. The White House never claimed its involvement in the destruction of the torture tapes wasn’t wide.

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