Saturday, December 8, 2007

Solace in small things -- from latkes to torture

Who would expect that a simple correction and apology could give comfort? From the Detroit Free Press:
The recipe for red-skin latkes with mushrooms (Dec. 2-8) should have said to mix the sautéed mushroom/onion mixture with the shredded potatoes."

Of course you blend the mushroom/onion mixture with the shredded potatoes. (Either that, or you set it aside as a topping.) You can read that and breathe deeply. All is right again with the latkes.

Setting the record straight, even the smallest of inconsequential details, affirms media credibility and our faith in the system. Our media care enough to correct the latke recipe in time to save our culinary reputation at the holidays.

Now, how about some large consequential details:

Did the CIA really destroy videos of brutal interrogations against the advice of the White House, Congress and the Justice Department? (source)

From today's NYT coverage, the lede:

"WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 — White House and Justice Department officials, along with senior members of Congress, advised the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 against a plan to destroy hundreds of hours of videotapes showing the interrogations of two operatives of Al Qaeda, government officials said Friday."

Hundreds of hours of tapes showing the interrogations of two operatives?
"The chief of the agency’s clandestine service nevertheless ordered their destruction in November 2005, taking the step without notifying even the C.I.A.’s own top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, who was angry at the decision, the officials said."

Advice came in 2003, but the destruction was ordered in 2005?

Expect this story to linger and fester for months. It already has, like a tupperware container of leftovers, forgotten at the back of the fridge. It stinks and dazzles all at once with colors you never imagined. While you're reeling from the confusion of characters and subplot, don't forget to read the rest of the paper. Your latkes depend on it.