Whose side is the New York Times on?

Whose side is the New York Times on?

So last week, the New York Times (later joined by the LA Times) slashes on its front page the secret details of a legal program to track financial transactions by terrorists. The editor of the NY Times defends himself against charges of aiding and abetting terrorists by claiming that the media have a responsibility and a power to expose what the government is doing, no matter what the circumstances.

And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government. They rejected the idea that it is wise, or patriotic, to always take the President at his word, or to surrender to the government important decisions about what to publish. The power that has been given us is not something to be taken lightly. The responsibility of it weighs most heavily on us when an issue involves national security, and especially national security in times of war.

Freedom of the press is a right guaranteed to the people not to any particular industry. The Constitution gives no particular powers to the media establishment. They are an unelected and self-appointed watchdog which has arrogated to itself the right to decide how the war should be conducted and whether secret, but legal, programs to catch terrorists should be made public. It’s one thing to expose blatant criminality and misconduct, but quite to burn a perfectly good program on the chance that it may morph into something inappropriate.

Short memories and a flip flop

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bk_keywords:9/11, counter-terrorism.

  • Since the NYT itself published endorsements and administration-friendly stories on WMD, perhaps they think they should have some say in the prosecution of the war they helped start.

  • Liam—you should read the editorial in the Wall Street Journal about the distinction between their reportage and that of the Times.

    Once the Old Grey Lady decided to run with the story (which, the administration claimed, was about 30% factually incorrect), the administration shopped the actual story to the Journal and other papers.  Additionally, while the administration pointedly—and repeatedly—requested that Keller not run the story, their approach to WSJ and others was in the nature of an authorized “leak,” which suggested the contrary, that they wanted the story to be run.

    No, Liam, you’re wrong; the Times is especially wrong-headed here, and their narrow field of vision prevents them from understanding the larger scope of national security.  Their animus toward all things Bush has blinded them to the role they now play in the deaths of American servicemen.

  • Peggy Noonan made the observation on EWTN Friday that institutions are losing their grasp on their mission; with regard to journalists, she said that some newspapers have an enormous idea of their rights but don’t seem to acknowledge any responsibilities.

  • We were told by the President in his great speech after 9/11 that we would be going after the financial dealings of terrorists, so that part of the story is old news and not worthy of a column of space and ink.  The method of interdicting the terrorist funds is both newsworthy and treasonous to expose. 

    I, for one, do not need to know how our government, and our allies, are accomplishing the interruption of the flow of funds.  Now that the method has been “blown,” time and money will have to be spent to recreate another good program.

    Tell me again how the NYT story had any good results, Liam?