CNN expressed confusion this morning on when Administration officials—specifically, Secretary of the Treasury Geithner and President Obama—knew AIG would be paying out bonuses to its failed executives. Geithner says he didn’t know until Tuesday; the president, not until Thursday. CNN is suggesting, instead, the Administration did know of it long before the bonuses were formally announced. The anchors played a news clip from way back on January 28, which reported that AIG would be handing out their usual bonuses this year. CNN darkly speculated, “What did the Administration know and when did they know it?” This is a polite way of asking, is the Administration lying?

Which, for a Lutheran like me, brings up Martin Luther’s explanation of the Eighth Commandment in his Small Catechism , the ban on bearing false witness against one’s neighbor: “We should fear and love God that we . . . put the best construction on everything [our neighbor does].”

Neighbors include, surely, Giethner and Obama, right? So, my best construction: Neither the president nor the secretary of the treasury ever watches CNN, and they don’t know anyone who does. So, naturally, they never got the word from the January 28 broadcast.