Jacob Weisberg, editor of the liberal, Washington Post-owned online magazine Slate, has asserted the credibility of a printed rumor that President Bush likes the idea of lethal retaliation against reporters opposed to the U.S.'s Iraq policy.Weisberg wrote (emphasis added):
According to a recent report in the British press, Bush last year proposed bombing Al Jazeera's headquarters to Tony Blair. This may or may not have been a joke, but given our military's record of accidental assaults on journalists in Iraq, it's not impossible to imagine that the president thinks smart-bombing would be a good way to respond to hostile coverage. At home, it's more a matter of freezing out and anathematizing organs, such as the New York Times, that are deemed unfriendly, while promulgating his own, dubious version of reality.
Weisberg wasn't the first to declare in Slate that he found the rumor plausible. Leftist writer Christopher Hitchens, a frequent contributor to the magazine and generally a supporter of U.S. efforts in Iraq, referred in a piece posted last Monday to
a credible report about a threat, from President George W. Bush, to bomb the Qatari headquarters of Al Jazeera. The British government, from whose inner circle the relevant memo has been leaked, might have taken credit—in that Tony Blair appears to have dissuaded Bush from this course of criminal insanity....