Saturday, July 01, 2006

When Do We Publish a Secret?

NYT wrote Since Sept. 11, 2001, newspaper editors have faced excruciating choices in covering the government's efforts to protect the country from terrorist agents. Each of us has, on a number of occasions, withheld information because we were convinced that publishing it could put lives at risk. On other occasions, each of us has decided to publish classified information over strong objections from our government.

We do it whenever we think it will hurt the Bush administration.
Wizbang blogged There is a lot I could respond to in the excerpt above and even more in the full editorial, but I will just address the following for now: "Our job, especially in times like these, is to bring our readers information that will enable them to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf, and at what price." If it were true that the NYT had been doing their job, and bringing their readers unbiased, balanced and comprehensive information to enable them to make intelligent decisions, then I doubt there would have been as great an uproar (and questioning of their motivation) over the most recent disclosures of classified material. Instead, the NYT, and many other mainstream media outlets, have often treated the Bush administration as a greater threat to America than that posed by jihadist terrorists. If the history of the NYT's coverage of the war in Iraq and the War on Terror was not what it was and if their past coverage of this President had not been what it has been, their latest statement might be more believable.

Don Surber blogged I thought the choices were covering the War on Terrorism. This isn't the government running another Bureau of Indian Affairs (which by the way, after 202 years, are the Indians any better off?) but a fricking war. There's a word not used once by the authors in this piece. Not once. Small word. Accurate. Newspapers used to use small words a lot. Then editors started going to Harvard. Now they say "the government's efforts to protect the country from terrorist agents" instead. War. It's a war. It is OK to say that. War.

Blue Crab blogged That is the crux of it. These programs were not secret to protect the government from embarrassment, but the Times Two editors continue to couch their explanation in those terms. As Ann Althouse writes: Why should we trust you? (By the way, anyone else now getting the feeling that the two editors are beginning to get a bit nervous about the building backlash they have triggered? That's what I am starting to feel here.)

Just One Minute blogged The NY Times editors are unintentionally funny in their editorial defending their decision to break open the SWIFT program

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