Why Am I Not Surprised?

Friday May 14, 2004

Accuracy has not proved to be the Bush administration’s strong point, as journalists ought to have discovered long before they did. Take the simple matter of Condoleezza Rice’s curriculum vitae. After she was named as National Security Adviser, I decided to read some of her work, to see how her mind worked. For a list of her publications, I called her office in the White House, and was told they didn’t have her CV on file. I then called Stanford University’s Political Science Department, which kindly faxed it to me.  

Her CV in hand, I set off to the library, where I discovered an uncomfortable number of errors in the CV of the woman charged with the nation’s security. 

For instance, Rice cites a chapter she contributed to The Reagan Legacy, edited by Larry Berman and published by the University of California Press in 1989. I can find no record elsewhere of any such book, although there is a book edited by Larry Berman called Looking Back on the Reagan Presidency, and it contains a chapter by Rice. This book was published, not by the University of California Press but by the Johns Hopkins University Press, and it appeared in 1990 rather than 1989. 

In another entry, Rice identifies the editors of The Makers of Modern Strategy, a book to which she contributed a chapter, as Gordon Craig and Peter Paret. The Library of Congress Catalogue lists the editors as “Peter Paret with the collaboration of Gordon A. Craig and Felix Gilbert.”  

In yet another entry, Rice notes that she contributed a chapter to Crisis Stability, edited by Kurt Gottfried and Bruce G. Blair. The book’s title is actually Crisis Stability and Nuclear War. 

Rice also gives the wrong date (Sept. 3, 1991) for an article Time magazine actually published Sept. 16, 1991.  

However insignificant these errors might seem, they don’t say much for Rice’s precision and respect for fact. No wonder her office didn’t keep her resume on file—but journalists could have gotten it, just as I did, and just as they could have nailed down the lies and obfuscations of the Bush administration at a much earlier date.  


Carol Polsgrove, a former East Bay resident, teaches journalism Indiana University and is the author of Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement.