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Monday, January 02, 2006

Hypocrisy at the NY Times

Andrew Cochran at The Counterterrorism Blog quotes NYT's Brian Calume:

NY Times's Ombudsman: Explanation of decision to report NSA program was "woefully inadequate"
January 01, 2006
Protection of sources is the most plausible reason I've been able to identify for The Times's woeful explanation in the article and for the silence of Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller. I base this on Mr. Keller's response to me: "There is really no way to have a full discussion of the back story without talking about when and how we knew what we knew, and we can't do that."

The impact of a new book about intelligence by Mr. Risen on the timing of the article is difficult to gauge. The book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," was not mentioned in the Dec. 16 article. Mr. Keller asserted in the shorter of his two statements that the article wasn't timed to the forthcoming book, and that "its origins and publication are completely independent of Jim's book."

The publication of Mr. Risen's book, with its discussion of the eavesdropping operation, was scheduled for mid-January - but has now been moved up to Tuesday. Despite Mr. Keller's distancing of The Times from "State of War," Mr. Risen's publisher told me on Dec. 21 that the paper's Washington bureau chief had talked to her twice in the previous 30 days about the book.

So it seems to me the paper was quite aware that it faced the possibility of being scooped by its own reporter's book in about four weeks. But the key question remains: To what extent did the book cause top editors to shrug off the concerns that had kept them from publishing the eavesdropping article for months?
Newsmen demand transparency from everyone but themselves. They pretend to be above it all, to not take sides. They must protect their Holy Sources.

Bullshit. They do take sides. They choose what to publish and when. They out some people and hide others. Like everyone else they have a worldview and it affects their decisions. Look at Deep Throat. They protected that Holy Source for 30+ years. When his identity was revealed the fanfair was just a wee soured by the realization that, for those honest enough to admit it, the liberal icon might have had an axe to grind. He had a grudge against Nixon. Wouldn't it have been nice to know this back when he was revealing secrets?

And so it is likely to be in this case. Whether the NYT publishes secrets to avoid scoops, to hurt a president they oppose, or to make money - does it matter? Is there some nobler reason I'm missing? Maybe "the people have a right to know"? Oh really? Then maybe the people have a right to know more. Like who is undermining our government and why.


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