We're (Kinda) Sorry

We figured somewhere, somehow, some wiseacre would try to sneak it past a sleepy editor, what with the latest Bush twins brouhaha. We just never thought it would be the Houston Chronicle.

But there it was, in a photo caption June 4 describing yet another White House T-ball game: "President Busch," we were informed, was shown giving a souvenir to a player.

We assume Ari Fleischer is mounting an investigation to find out who the perpetrator was.

The Chronicle editorial page, by the way, finally got around to apologizing for being so utterly wrong about the supposed Clinton-staffer vandalism scandal. Well, they apologized as only the Chronicle could when it comes to perhaps facing the remote possibility that maybe, just maybe, Bill Clinton is not the fetid spawn of Beelzebub. Which is to say, they did it very, very reluctantly.

The entire editorial, headlined "Bum Rap: Allegations of White House Vandalism Proved False," consisted of just about 300 words. Fully half of them -- and the top half, no less -- were devoted, incredibly enough, to debunking the thought that President Bush the Elder had somehow been baffled by a supermarket scanner ten years ago.

What did that possibly have to do with the White House vandalism rumors? If you don't know, you'll never work for the Chron's editorial page.

At any rate, the Chron said the trashing stories were "equally false…and since the Chronicle was among the chorus of critics who called for an accounting of the facts when the stories first broke, we are compelled to set the record straight."

"Compelled" to do so more than two full weeks after the facts came out; we guess it takes a while to compel the Chron's opinion-makers. We also like the phrasing claiming that the paper had merely "called for an accounting of the facts," not mentioning that the original editorial had reported as true all sorts of allegations.

The "apology" editorial's thrilling conclusion: "It's hardly shocking that political stories sometimes can cloud the truth. It's always interesting, though, how the twists assume lives of their own."

Yeah, we wonder how that happens.

Drop Everything!

We know that travel budgets are being slashed at the Chronicle, and it can get kind of hard to fill up a travel section when you're not allowed to, ummm, travel much.

But either the paper is really desperate, or else it vastly overestimates the impulsiveness of its readers, if the June 3 Sunday section is any evidence.

Sticking close to home, staff writer Syd Kearney wrote that New Orleans is a really terrific place to visit in the summer, which certainly seems to be thinking outside the box. To prove it, she listed "five red-hot events" happening this summer.

"For those who can travel in a hurry," she then wrote, "the Great French Market Tomato Festival takes place today in Dutch Alley."

We hope the paper warned Southwest Airlines to expect a huge crush at the ticket lines that Sunday morning.

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