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rebuilding trust

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 11, 2005

The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last explains how the Rathergate investigation was a whitewash. I appreciated his comment regarding the authenticity of the notorious Killian documents:

The conclusion is summed up neatly by Les Moonves who, responding to the report allowed that "documents could not be authenticated from Xeroxed copies."

But note the language: You may not be able to authenticate a document from a Xerox copy, but surely you can discredit it. If, for instance, I handed you a Xerox copy of a note purporting to be an email from Saint Paul to Saint Peter, you could, after careful study, conclude that it was a forgery. If, that is, you were concerned with such matters.

If, that is, you were concerned with such matters.

In keeping with my New Year's resolution of nil nisi bonum, I will not mention the eerie parallels between CBS's Moonves and the Holy See's spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls in the matter of the Pope's notorious "it is as it was" quote.

I will pass over in tactful silence Peggy Noonan's WSJ article on the subject, in which she explains how she e-mailed Navarro-Valls asking for a confirmation of the quote and got a reply clearly suggesting her using it was not a problem.

Nor will I make reference to the fact that, when Passion producer Steve McEveety asked if it was OK to use the "it is as it was" quote, Navarro-Valls emailed him that he was not to worry, but should repeat those words "again and again and again."

In the same spirit of reticence, I won't drag up the embarrassing memory of how the Vatican then publicly denied the quote and that, when Rod Dreher e-mailed Navarro-Valls to ask how the denial was possible given his e-mails to Noonan and McEveety, Navarro-Valls quickly sent back the preposterous reply that the purported e-mails were not authentic, suggesting they may have been fabricated.

And because it's always better to let bygones be bygones, I see no point in directly citing the paragraph in which Noonan describes her bafflement:

The return address on Dr. Navarro-Valls's e-mail to Rod Dreher was the same as the one on his e-mails to me. We did some checking on Dr. Navarro-Valls's e-mail to me of Dec. 17. It was sent via an e-mail server in the Vatican's domain, and the IP address belongs to a Vatican computer.

No doubt, if you wished, you could find the publication in which Navarro-Valls expresses outrage at the felonious appropriation of his name and alarm at the penetration and fraudulent abuse of the Vatican's e-mail server -- the one in which he calls for a full-scale investigation of the incident and demands that the miscreants be brought to justice, for the sake of sacred trust invested in the word of the Holy See.

If, that is, you were concerned with such matters.

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