Weigel

Opening Act: Flower Pot

Pfc. Bradley E. Manning is escorted from a hearing, on January 8, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Bradley Manning’s statement in court is worth reading and sharing, if only for the criticism of embedded journalism. Manning talks about David Finkel’s reporting on the incident later revealed by a “collateral murder” video.

It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his [tenure] as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger.

Alex Seitz-Wald expands the reach of Woodwardgate, asking what we should believe about the author-reporter’s other dramatic scoops.

Former Post reporter Michael Dobbs, who said he admires and trusts Woodward, wrote last year of the flower pot, “I believe Woodward used a literary sleight of hand in order to disguise the identity of his source.” “It may have been technically true that Woodward moved a flower pot around on his balcony in November 1973, and traveled to an underground garage, but he misled readers into thinking this had something to do with a meeting with Deep Throat,” he continued. Still, he said the controversy is much ado about nothing, because “the essential points of Woodward’s (and Carl Bernstein’s) Watergate reporting are not in dispute.”

John Cook takes another approach, and just goes brutal on the guy. And reminds us of the time Joan Didion ethered him.

Lyle Denniston explains the administration’s Prop 8 brief: If accepted, eight more states would offer legal gay marriage.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling might bolt the GOP and run as an independent. It’s funny: Pundits kept predicting that the Tea Party would threaten the GOP, as a third force, spoiling elections. And yet it’s the moderates—Crist, Murkowski, Bolling—who, when forced out of the party, split the vote with their own campaigns.