The Penn Stater: The Plame edition--To The Editor

January 17, 2008


My recent copy of the Penn Stater offers a good example of the partisan nature of objective, or even feel-good, journalism. It doesn't take much gloss to glamorize Valerie Plame Wilson, the bleach blond spy, but it is a stretcher to heroize and validate a CIA agent. What was done to check on her veracity? Did you believe the story that she joined the CIA when her mother clipped a want ad? Did you ask, "who recruits for the CIA at PSU?" After all, she is a trained professional liar who worked in service to an agency steeped in the support of dictators the world over, which engages in torture, was key in the suspension of habeas corpus, and is covered with the blood of honest people fighting for human rights. The CIA isn't an intelligence in service to democracy. Rather, Plame's boss was the sword and shield of tyranny. How, then, to appraise her? Then, in my favorite university magazine, I find a paean to irrationalism: students chasing ghosts. Isn't a university a place that values the struggle for the truth, stripping away nonsense? As a topper, I find a flowery obit to what you seem to think is a war hero, but to me is a foolish volunteer who doubled his own tragedy by offering to go off to fight enemies that his officers, political mis-leaders, and the CIA, initially created. The Penn Stater remains the finest of all university magazines but I hope the next issue is more, ah, fair and balanced.

Dr Rich Gibson
Emeritus Professor
San Diego State University