Wednesday, June 12, 2002

All The W Keys Fell Off By Accident. Really.

News is out this morning that the there actually is some substance to stories that, during the transition Clinton-Bush transition, outgoing Clinton administration officials vandalized offices in the White House and EEOB. Most notable were prank messages left on answering machines and the alleged theft of dozens of "W" keys from keyboards around the White House. The General Services Administration estimates $20,000 was spent for repair, replacement, and cleanup of White House offices as the Bush team was moving in.

Now would be a good time to remember the pro-Clinton backlash against the vandalism story. Columnist and popular TV pundit Mark Sheids wrote the following in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (among other papers) on June 4, 2001:

"The next time a serious press seminar is held on just why so many readers are so skeptical, so disbelieving and so hostile about who we in the press are and what we write, I have an answer: the Nationally Circulated Hoax in the mainstream press that Clinton staffers had vandalized the White House and Air Force One.

"The whole story was a fabrication and, to be blunt, a lie. It was a deception carefully cultivated by the Bush White House and then fed to friendly conservative journalists who were duped into perpetrating this fraud upon their readers and their listeners.

"Are the Bush people that arrogant not to care or that dumb not to know how embarrassing circulation of the phony story of the January pillaging of the White House by departing Democrats would prove to be for these conservative commentators?"

I had forgotten that Air Force One was part of the original story, but now it seems there is evidence of intentional damage to at least the White House. Doubtless Sheilds will scurry to issue a correction.


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