You may think that we at InkWell have been too hard on Mary Mapes, the CBS News producer who cleared the Microsoft Selectric documents for Dan Rather to wave around as evidence that George W. Bush did something or other wrong when he served in the Texas Air National Guard some 32 years ago. (See The Other Charlotte’s Mary Mapes–Producer With a Past, today below.)

So I’m going to make it up to Mary with this link to this Old Faithful-level gusher of a profile of Mary by the Washington Post’s Jennifer Frey today. You will fall back in love with Mary. She’s so nice and liberal and hard-working–and, according to Frey, she knows where to find the best Mexican eats in her home city, Dallas:

“For veteran [CBS News] correspondent Vicki Mabrey, Mapes is the producer she desperately wanted to work with as a young reporter in Dallas, not to mention the expert on where to get the best tortilla soup — or anything else, for that matter — in town.”

Mary is, of course, up to her neck in tortilla soup these days, as many at CBS and elsewhere expect her head to roll, not only for using retired Texas Air National Guard officer and chronic Bush-basher/blowhard Bill Burkett as her source for the forged docs but for putting Burkett in touch with Joe Lockhart, chief strategist for Dem candidate John. F. Kerry, a journalistic no-no of the highest order. But–hey!–her friends at the network still like her! Writes:

“Mary Mapes received a care package from two of her best girlfriends the other day. What to send the woman in the eye of th’ CBS News firestorm? Wine, of course. And chocolates. A romance novel, amusingly titled ‘Texas Glory.’ Some Band-Aids to soothe life’s little boo-boos. Tums.

“Also tucked inside was some under-eye concealer, to hide those awful dark circles that come with nights of sleep lost to worry. Oh, and a do-rag, the better to go incognito on runs to the grocery store.”

Wasn’t that sweet? There’s more:

“‘Mary has not been portrayed as a human being,’ says Jim Murphy, executive producer of ‘CBS Evening News With Dan Rather.’

Actually Mary strikes me as having been all too human a being, a charter member of the species Homo sapiens liberalis, perfectly willing to believe that a hunting-and-pecking Air National Guard colonel could have turned out perfectly proportionally spaced letters on his typewriter, as long as the memos might bring down the Great Satan Bush. But I’ll let Murphy have the last word nonetheless:

“‘The bottom line is, a lot of us really like Mary and want to help her get through this,’ Murphy says. ‘If Mary did something wrong, she’s going to pay for that, and she knows she’s going to pay for that. But if she got caught in a crazy rush of a story and if a mistake was somehow made — and I don’t know if one was — I hope people can understand that.'”

I can’t resist pointing out that Mary claims to have spent five full years researching Rathergate, which doesn’t strike me as a “crazy rush of a story.” But, Inky readers, don’t pay any attention to me. Clap if you believe that Mary Mapes should keep her job.