The AP Misses the Boat
9:11 AM, Mar 6, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
The only person Hess gets on the record is Blair, through his spokesman Wendy Morigi. Hess's characterization of conservative criticism is so off base that it's hard to imagine she even bothered to read it. Freeman's views on the Iraq war and the Bush administration's approach to fighting terrorism are, in the context of this administration, utterly conventional and wholly unremarkable. They are not views shared by conservatives, but neither are they the kind of views that would endanger his appointment. It's his views on China and Saudi Arabia, and his financial ties to those two countries, that have stirred such controversy -- in addition to his views on Israel. It's the appearance of multiple conflicts of interest, his apparentl inability to distinguish between right and wrong, and his clear indifference to the distinction between democratic and authoritarian regimes that has driven conservative criticism of Freeman (Rich Lowry captures all this quite well in his column today).
And of course, not all Freeman's critics are conservatives.
Update: How sloppy was the Hess story? The AP just issued a clarification:
Well, that's not quite right either. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) also signed a letter requesting an investigation into Freeman's financial ties to the Saudis. We await the AP's second clarification.