December 21, 2002

Department of Errors the media feed us

On the first column of page 28 of the December 16, 2002 issue of Newsweek magazine, an article about Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser to the unelected person occupying the Presidency contains the following sentence: "Rice joked that the magazine was trying to turn her into Madame de S�vign�, a 17th century courtier and mistress of Louis XIV." (Sic) Have Ms. Rice and/or Newsweek discovered new historical data? Does anyone know of any sources claiming a liaison between Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de S�vign� and grand-daughter of St. Chantal, and the Sun King??

The article goes on to point obvious differences between Madame de S�vign� and Ms. Rice, so one fails to see the basis for the comparison, even as a "joke".

Were Ms. Rice and/or Newsweek thinking about Madame de la Valli�re, Madame de Maintenon, Madame de Montespan or some other "17th century courtier" who was a "mistress of Louis XIV"? The comparison does not hold any better with those other ladies.

Is there any implication on the part of Ms. Rice and/or Newsweek of a liaison between Ms. Rice and the unelected person acting as Head of State? And if that is so, where are the reporters who pounced on President Clinton for less?

I am puzzled. But a question that worries me even more is: which of the other pieces of information contained in that article � or for that matter in the whole magazine � is(are) equally grossly inaccurate?

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