"I believe President Bush is going to order airstrikes [on Iran] before he leaves office," - Norman Podhoretz, on CSPAN yesterday. NPod made an error in his Commentary article, pointed out by one of the many readers of that neoconservative journal who were taken aback by his proposal to bomb Iran:

As an example of Britain’s tepid response to Iran’s taking captive several of its sailors back in March, Norman Podhoretz quotes the public reaction of Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to a photograph of one of the prisoners with a cigarette in his mouth: “This [smoking] sends completely the wrong message to our young people.” But this little anecdote cannot be used as evidence of Western weakness in the face of Iranian aggression. The quotation was fabricated as part of an April Fools’ joke in the London Guardian.

NPod's response:

If the remark I attributed to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt was fabricated as an April Fools’ joke by the London Guardian, surely that would have been obvious to the other British papers that quoted it. Still, if Mr. Ford is right, which I doubt, I for one would welcome it as a sign that while the British may be down, they’re not so flat as all that.

It took me five minutes to find the following on Google:

On April 1 this column alleged that Patricia Hewitt had said, of a TV appearance by Leading Seaman Faye Turney, that 'it was deplorable that the woman hostage should be shown smoking. This sends completely the wrong message to our young people.'

This was quoted by other newspapers and even mentioned on Have I Got News For You. I am happy to offer Miss Hewitt my apologies for setting this fictitious hare running but suggest that she looks again at the date.

There are two options: NPod cannot use the Internet or NPod cannot concede an error. They are not mutually exclusive.

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