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ComPost Saved By Froomkin — Again


If history is to judge the Washington Post by anything other than the irrational ditherings of Charles Krauthammer and his uncomfortable obsession with his prehistoric blow jobs, it will be saved by the presence of Dan Froomkin and his continued willingness to buck Donald Graham's party line with his excellent reporting.  Witness the neat dismantling of Elizabeth Loftus' "Poor Scooter" Wall Street Journal piece on the Libby trial:

Elizabeth Loftus and Richard L. Steinberg write in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (subscription required) that "absence of expert-witness testimony may have contributed to an unjust verdict."

Loftus . . . Loftus . . . Sound familiar? Oh yes, she was the victim of what The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig called a Ginsu-like legal performance by Fitzgerald in a pretrial hearing last October.

"Fitzgerald's target in the witness box was Elizabeth F. Loftus, a professor of criminology and psychology at the University of California at Irvine. For more than an hour of the pretrial hearing, Loftus calmly explained to Judge Reggie B. Walton her three decades of expertise in human memory and witness testimony. Loftus asserted that, after copious scientific research, she has found that many potential jurors do not understand the limits of memory and that Libby should be allowed to call an expert to make that clear to them.

"But when Fitzgerald got his chance to cross-examine Loftus about her findings, he had her stuttering to explain her own writings and backpedaling from her earlier assertions. Citing several of her publications, footnotes and the work of her peers, Fitzgerald got Loftus to acknowledge that the methodology she had used at times in her long academic career was not that scientific, that her conclusions about memory were conflicting, and that she had exaggerated a figure and a statement from her survey of D.C. jurors that favored the defense. . . .

"There were several moments when Loftus was completely caught off guard by Fitzgerald, creating some very awkward silences in the courtroom.

"One of those moments came when Loftus insisted that she had never met Fitzgerald. He then reminded her that he had cross-examined her before, when she was an expert defense witness and he was a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in New York."

Barbara Comstock probably didn't have to break a sweat to get the wingnutterati singing in harmony about what a victim poor lil' torture lovin', warmongering, spy-outing Scooter is, but the Washington ComPost ought to be ashamed of that kind of servile obeisance to power.  If it wasn't for Froomkin and a few others since the Libby verdict came down, they might as well change their name to PRAVDA and just be done with it.

(graphic by alysheba) 

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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