The New York Sun reports today that Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. has rebuked star reporter and Fiasco author Thomas E. Ricks for suggesting on CNN's "Reliable Sources" that Israel was intentionally leaving Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon "because as long as they're being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations." Ricks attributed the theory to "some U.S. military analysts."
The comment prompted swift action from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, led by former New York City mayor Ed Koch, who pressed the Post on the issue. Downie replied to Koch, writing: "I have made clear to Tom Ricks that he should not have made those statements."
Ricks, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter, told the Sun, "The comments were accurate: that I said I had been told this by people. I wish I hadn't said them, and I intend from now on to keep my mouth shut about it."
A note on moral equivalency, since it was raised: It's a point that came up this past weekend in the context of doctored and staged photos coming out of Lebanon in relation to the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon conflict. The LA Times's Tim Rutten said this:
It's worth noting in this context that there is no similar flow of propagandistic images coming from the Israeli side of the border. That's because one side -- the democratically elected government of Israel -- views death as a tragedy and the other -- the Iranian financed terrorist organization Hezbollah -- sees it as an opportunity. In this case, turning their own dead children into material creates an opportunity to cloud the fact that every Lebanese casualty, tragic as he or she is, was killed or injured as an unavoidable consequence of Israel's pursuit of terrorists who use their own people as human shields. Every Israeli civilian killed or injured was the victim of a terrorist attack intended to harm civilians. That alone ought to wash away any blood-stained suggestion of moral equivalency.