Modern Humorist remains proud of our coverage of the Wen Ho Lee case. Looking back, we see important work that made fun of a major national security problem. We produced clear, precise explanations of complex science, and then added tit jokes. But we have also found some things we wish we had done differently to give Dr. Lee the full benefit of the doubt.
Our March 6 story "Evil Chinaman is Pure Evil" could have benefited from more reporting. The assertion in the article that the Chinese had made a surprising leap in the miniaturization of toy automobiles should have attributed the advancement to the Taiwanese.
We probably should have referred to him as "Dr. Lee," not "that Ho."
We should have moved more quickly to open a second line of reporting, to challenge the accusation that Dr. Lee was a Nazi during World War II. In 1943, Dr. Lee was two years old. We regret our math.
Passages of some articles also posed a problem of tone. In place of a tone of journalistic detachment from our sources, we occasionally used language that was inappropriate, such as "asswad," "rabid murderer of innocents" and "moo shu pork."
There were articles we should have assigned but did not, because we were sleepy, and a bit gassy. We never prepared a full-scale profile of Dr. Lee, because, frankly, we didnt think anyone would want to read a profile of such a loathsome criminal.
Some other stories we wish we had assigned in those early months include a closer look at Notra Trulock, the intelligence official at the Department of Energy with an obviously fake name; a detailed comparison of butter and I Cant Believe Its Not Butter; and a few more features about "Survivor."
In those instances where we fell short of our standards in our coverage of this story, the blame lies principally with Wen Ho Lee, that bastard. Our ridicule of him is not over.