This past Saturday morning, the hundreds of reporters subscribed to the White House press release service received something they should have already read: a full text copy of the NYT article about the Supreme Court’s decision to “hear claims of Guantanamo detainees that they have a right to challenge their detentions in American federal courts.”
The White House regularly sends out rebuttals to controversial — and damaging — reports; such pseudo-oppo is usually given the Paul Harvey designation, “The Rest of the Story,” but this email was just, well, the story.
About thirty minutes later, those on the list received this email:
From: White House Press Releases [mailto:Press.Releases@WhiteHouse.Gov]
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2007 10:08 AM Eastern Standard Time
Subject: *Please disregard the previous release – it was sent in error. We apologize for the inconvenience*
*Please disregard the previous release – it was sent in error. We apologize for the inconvenience*
So: a peek inside the White House press office subconscious? Are they worried? Are they preparing a PR counter-offense? Are they just not sure everyone in the office reads the New York Times? Do they realize they’ve committed a grave offense against human rights and are desperately trying to discover how to correct it?
While discussing, you might listen to this episode of PRI’s This American Life, which is a funny, sweet, wry take on the truly tragic and appalling situation that we’ve created in Guantanamo. Favorite moment: The nineteen-year-old detainee’s deployment of irony in self-defense.
ABDULLAH: Sometimes, to get us, to put the stress on us, they come and ask me, like, “Do you want to go home?” They don’t want to take me home, they’re just asking to make you like, angry, and nervous that you’ll never go home, and they keep telling you this thing. But, in response, I tell them the same thing: “No, thanks, I don’t want to go home. I’m okay here. I like you so much, I don’t want to leave you.”
Democracy, Whiskey, Simpsons.