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WHAT ISIKOFF SHOULD DO

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 17, 2005 11:19 AM

Drudge has the siren spinning over Newsweek’s refusal to accept reporter Michael Isikoff’s resignation. The magazine is making all macho-like in standing up to supposed White House bullying:

“Mike was told he would not be sacrificed, we are standing behind him 100%,” a top magazine source told the DRUDGE REPORT. “We do not, I repeat, do not let this White House, any White House, make our staff decisions for us.”

Is the huffing and puffing really necessary? The magazine still doesn’t seem to understand that such self-aggrandizing hype is simply more fuel on the Islamists’ fire.

The New York Times has a piece rallying for Isikoff here.

What should Isikoff do? I don’t think he should resign. I think he and his editors should just bite the bullet, tell us who the faulty source is, and give a more forthcoming explanation as to how this debacle came about.

Austin Bay puts it well:

I am personally sympathetic with Isikoff et al, but they’re going to have to show me the same grit I see in the service when a mistake gets made. Look at the depth and breadth of the “Sgrena Incident” Route Irish shooting investigation. Okay, disagree with the conclusion, but the investigation lays out details and questions judgments. Will Newsweek produce the equivalent? I believe the magazine need to do just that. Dan Rather has yet to find “Lucy Ramirez.” Eason Jordan’s tape has yet to be released. Newsweek could avoid the Rather-Jordan quagmire with an investigation as thorough as the “Sgrena Incident” investigation conducted by the US and Italian militaries. Some people will never believe them. But if a New York Army National Guard sergeant has the guts to tell investigators what he saw and how he felt standing at a check point on Route Irish, the suits and ties at Newsweek can submit to the same tough routine of sworn questioning.

Let’s find out who the anonymous source was. I see some commenters are already spinning a conspiracy theory that this whole incident is a Bush administration “distraction” (ie, some kind of calculated Rovian press manipulation). With 15 to 17 dead, that source needs to come forward on his own; if the source doesn’t, Newsweek needs to tell us who he is.

I suspect we’ll find the source is a bureaucrat or political appointee who leaked to the press on the expectation of “future considerations,” and this “flushing” tidbit sounded just like the kind of “hot tip” the Vietnam/Watergate template press would love to have. Let’s get the principal players out in the open, the reporters and editors who were at the “press checkpoint.”

Hugh Hewitt weighs in:

First, Newsweek should reveal this “source.” I say this realizing that it could be a senior Administration official whom I generally have respected or admired. The public has a right to know what happened. This is a huge failure of policy and people, and it will be dogging our troops and our war effort for years to come. We need the answers.

If Newsweek declines, then Congress ought to subpoena some Washington Post executives. When I suggested the same device during Rathergate, promises were made but the hearings never came. As a result we got a whitewash from Dick Thornburg and we still don’t know how deep the credulity or perfidy runs at CBS. If the leaker turns out to be, say, a careerist at State or the CIA who has been grinding an anti-Bush ax for years, the public will get a glimpse of how the MSM teams with the embedded left to cripple their perceived political opponents, even when the issue is being used to score points is the conduct of the war.

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