SMOKING GUNS….Michael Tomasky makes a good point about the clamor surrounding Condi Rice and the August 6 PDB:
There’s a paradoxical logic that takes hold in situations like this by which [an accretion of details], while damning, also lead toward a desire on the part of the media to find “the smoking gun” that will seal the case definitively. In this instance, the smoking gun would probably be nothing short of a secret document that said something like, “al-Qaeda to attack skyscraper; preventive action not recommended.”
A side effect of this is that the press plays up any situation, no matter how minor, in which they do find a smoking gun, and plays down those where they don’t. So relatively trivial matters get blown out of proportion, but important ones like this, even after it becomes plain to anyone paying attention that Bush did virtually nothing to respond to the PDB, get very little.
I don’t know that there’s any answer to this, but it’s unquestionably an institutional weakness of the press.