Saturday, November 22, 2008

If You're Going To Tell A Story, Tell The Whole Story

George Lardner, Jr. had an op-ed on the Marc Rich pardon in Saturday's New York Times. Jonathan Adler apparently thought it was awesome.

The obvious reason for the op-ed is that Eric Holder, Barack Obama's possible nominee for attorney general, had a role in the pardon.

This blog has no truck with Marc Rich, but the op-ed is woefully incomplete. In February 2001, Bill Clinton felt the heat on the Rich pardon enough to write an op-ed (or, more likely, have an op-ed written) in the Times explaining the eight separate reasons that he granted the pardon.

Mr. Lardner assesses one or two of the former president's justifications at least a little bit, but he doesn't look at the one reason that President Clinton identifies as being important:
[M]any present and former high-ranking Israeli officials of both major political parties and leaders of Jewish communities in America and Europe urged the pardon of Mr. Rich because of his contributions and services to Israeli charitable causes, to the Mossad's efforts to rescue and evacuate Jews from hostile countries, and to the peace process through sponsorship of education and health programs in Gaza and the West Bank.
There's a passing reference to Ehud Barak toward the end of Mr. Lardner's piece. But that's all. If you're going to say someone "brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted", assessing major counterarguments should be on your agenda, too.

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