MRC's Geoff Dickens reports that MSNBC's "Hardball" on Tuesday also pushed the line that Bush was pandering to conservatives with media criticism. After claiming, like a liberal talking-point machine, that unnamed "national security experts" disagree with the president that the New York Times has harmed national security, since the Bush people announced vaguely in public that they would monitor terrorist finances, reporter David Shuster picked up on the Ed Henry echo:
Shuster: "Political analysts believe the Bush administration’s latest war with the media is motivated in part by the coming midterm elections."
Political analyst Charlie Cook: "They’ve got to motivate their base and conservatives, Republicans tend to distrust the media, so any time you can play off and use the media as a foil, it’s probably a good thing."
The liberal media party-line has hardened on the breathtaking arrogance of the New York Times, the self-appointed spoilers of secrecy. The White House is apparently insincere in its criticism -- it's merely pandering to the right-wing base.
MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro found CNN reporter Ed Henry charging up Capitol Hill with this spin on Tuesday night's "Anderson Cooper 360," that the Times was being hounded for political gain. "Republicans stepped up their barrage on the New York Times for publishing details of a once-secret program tracking the banking transactions of terrorists." After a quote from Sen. Pat Roberts charging the Times should look in the mirror of blame for the next terror attack, Henry continued:
"From the president on down, Republicans have been reading from the same script."
On Monday’s Diane Rehm show on National Public Radio, the arrogance of The New York Times was on full display. Times reporter Eric Lichtblau was a guest on the program discussing the story the Times published on Friday disclosing a secret anti-terror program designed to follow the money. Among the claims made by Lichtblau were, The New York Times determined this anti-terror program was a matter for national debate, the Bush administration is trying to score political points by feigning outrage over the disclosure of this program, and that none of the sources who disclosed the program had political motives.
Lichtblau ,and fortunately for the war on terror and the national security of America he didn't cite an example to back up this claim, wants listeners to believe:
"Um, you know, we’re not gonna just take a leak and run with it. We, you know, carefully look at the facts of the case to decide whether or not it’s worth publishing and I think it’s important to remember that there’s information that we at the New York Times and other papers keep out of the public domain all the time because we agree that yes, this could compromise a source and method, this could actually help the bad guys."
Republican House leaders want to introduce a resolution condemning the New York Times for its reporting on the international bank-monitoring program. On the Senate side, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts, asked National Intelligence Director John Negroponte to assess the damage done by the leak.
The Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, ran two letters from soldiers in Iraq addressed to the New York Times. The article also says that the American public trusts the military over the media: 47 percent say they have "hardly any" confidence in the media, while 14 percent say they have a "great deal" of confidence in the media.
T.F. BOGGS is a 24-year-old sergeant in the Army Reserves serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, where he helps to provide security for a military base in Mosul. He is also an occasional blogger, venting his views at www.boredsoldier.blogspot.com. On Sunday, those views took the form of a letter to Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times. Two days earlier, the Times (along with The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times) had exposed the existence of a top-secret government effort to monitor the international movement of funds between Al Qaeda and its financial collaborators.
Time to put those coffee cups down again, sports fans, because Sweetness & Lighthas discovered an editorial humorously published by none other than The New York Times back on September 24, 2001, strongly advocating the Bush administration, as a result of the attacks just thirteen days prior, impose a variety of new procedures to track down and shut off the funding for terrorists (hat tip to Clarice Feldman at American Thinker).
The editorial entitled “Finances of Terror” began:
“Organizing the hijacking of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took significant sums of money. The cost of these plots suggests that putting Osama bin Laden and other international terrorists out of business will require more than diplomatic coalitions and military action. Washington and its allies must also disable the financial networks used by terrorists.”
Now that sounds like a great idea. The article wisely continued:
Perhaps sensing that editor Bill Keller’s arrogant open letter didn't do the job, today’s masthead editorial in the New York Times makes another defense of the paper’s latest terrorist-program wrecking scoop, mostly by accusing conservatives of attacking the paper’s patriotism.
The defensive “Patriotism and the Press” begins:
“Over the last year, The New York Times has twice published reports about secret antiterrorism programs being run by the Bush administration. Both times, critics have claimed that the paper was being unpatriotic or even aiding the terrorists.”
After several discussions over the last few days from people who say "specifically, what law did the New York Times violate?" Here it is. The legal remedy for what the New York Times has done is the death penalty and confiscation of the newspaper.
(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate… to any foreign government, or to any faction or party… whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States… any document, writing… plan… or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power… directly concerned… early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence…. or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy. (b) Whoever, in time of war, with intent that the same shall be communicated to the enemy, collects, records, publishes, or communicates, or attempts to elicit any information with respect to… any other information relating to the public defense, which might be useful to the enemy, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life. (c) If two or more persons conspire to violate this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy. (d) (1) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States irrespective of any provision of State law— (A) any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, as the result of such violation, and (B) any of the person’s property used, or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, such violation.
Howard Kurtz takes his online lamentations of criticism of the breathtaking arrogance of the New York Times into the paper today. The headline is "Piling On the New York Times With a Scoop." From there, you can see Problem Numero Uno. Kurtz, like other media people with blinders on, pretends that the Times is merely an honest broker of information that is "piled on," but can never "pile on" the White House or other conservative targets. If Kurtz wrote about the Times "piling on" Bush again, wouldn't it look tilted? It certainly looks like the media circling the wagons for media buddies on this story.
"Even by modern standards of media-bashing, the volume of vitriol being heaped upon on the editors on Manhattan's West 43rd Street is remarkable," Kurtz writes. But the wildest quote Kurtz runs is Tammy Bruce comparing the Times to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Bush and Cheney were stern, but hardly unsparing.
But critics of the Bush administration handing of the war question
whether the ambitious goals for withdrawing troops are realistic given
the difficulties in maintaining order there. The insurgency has proven
resilient despite several big military operations over the years, and
previous forecasts of significant troop withdrawals have yet to
Now, after criticizing Democratic lawmakers for
trying to legislate a timeline for withdrawing troops, skeptics say,
the Bush administration seems to have its own private schedule, albeit
one that can be adjusted as events unfold.
You're having a first conversation with someone. Alright, maybe you don't agree with him, but he seems rational. Then, out of the blue, he blurts something so strange, so disconnected from reality, that you say to yourself 'whoah! - who is this guy?' And you go back and rethink everything else he had said in light of his suddenly-exposed madness.
That's what is was like watching Chris Matthews' interview of Ken Auletta on this evening's Hardball. Alright, Auletta's the media columnist of the New Yorker. So you have no illusions. This is a liberal. Even so, he seems so urbane, so calm, even reasonable. You could almost imagine having a drink and a conversation at sunset on the deck of one of those fancy Hampton houses you picture him visiting on weekends.
The criticism of the New York Times for its bank-monitoring story has gotten so bad, says Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz, that "I think those folks would repeal the First Amendment tomorrow if they could," he says, speaking of conservative criticism in the blogosphere and elsewhere.
Kurtz holds the classic MSM belief that First Amendment = New York Times, that you can't have one without the other. Since the New York Times is the very embodiment of one part of the Constitution, it is equal to President Bush, who is merely the embodiment of another part.
Man, I have never seen this kind of Times-bashing before.
There is one heckuva conservative backlash building against the New York Times for publishing that piece about the administration's secret access to banking records in terror investigations.
MRC President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC's "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning to address the "breathtaking arrogance" of the New York Times deciding what national-security secrets should be divulged. Brent loved John Snow's letter noting that arrogance, and suggested that the Times didn't show a "left-wing agenda" on this story, but a "far-left-wing agenda." See our posted video and handy Times Watch links here. Here's a transcript:
Co-host E.D. Hill: “Our next guest says the New York Times is guilty of treason. Treason, for publishing that piece on that secret government program that tracks terrorist finances.”
Readers are duly cautioned to put down their cups of coffee, for this one is toooooo funny. The left-leaning website “Raw Story” on Monday reported comments made by members of the popular conservative website “Free Republic” to a post concerning the recent revelations by The New York Times of the counterterrorism program using SWIFT. This goes somewhat hand-in-hand with what NewsBuster Tim Graham reported Tuesday concerning accusations of such behavior from the right by a New Orleans journalist. Is this a strategy developing on the part of the media to obfuscate the real issue?
Regardless of the answer, the comedy at Raw Story actually began with the headline (coffee cups down, please!): “Posters at right-wing board threaten to kill Times editors, reporters.”
Don’t pick up your coffee yet, for the article began: “Posters at the right-wing Free Republic message board today were roused into a fury of indignation by a news story about the New York Times' revelations of the administration's illegal programs of warrantless surveillance.”
Illegal programs? Warrantless surveillance? There have been no allegations, even by The Times, that any laws either domestic or international were violated by this program. Moreover, subpoenas were issued for all of the banking examinations performed during this operation. However, that was just the beginning, for the article then quoted some of the responses posted at FP:
White House press secretary Tony Snow was asked a number of questions during Monday’s press briefing regarding Friday’s revelations by The New York Times of a highly classified counterterrorism strategy involving a banking cooperative in Belgium called SWIFT (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow). After one such question, Snow took the Times to task: “[I]f The New York Times decides that it is going to try to assume responsibility for determining which classified secrets remain classified and which don’t, it ought to accept some of the obligations of that responsibility; it ought to be able to take the heat, as well.”
He marvelously continued:
“Traditionally in this country in a time of war, members of the press have acknowledged that the Commander-in-Chief, in the exercise of his powers, sometimes has to do things secretly in order to protect the public. This is a highly unusual departure. It’s interesting, The Times, talking about this being a—this program having been a departure from previous banking efforts. This is also a departure from long-standing traditions here in the United States.”
And even more marvelously concluded: “The New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know, in some cases, might override somebody’s right to live, and whether, in fact, the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans."
What follows is a full transcript of this exchange, along with a video link courtesy of Expose the Left. For those that are interested, more commentary and a detailed analysis of this subject can be found here.
National Review Online published an editorial today on the unfolding outrage over the New York Times deigning itself the country's Moderators-in-Chief -- we shall declare what the nation shall debate! -- and called for the government to take away their press credentials, their little badges of honor and access:
The president should match this morning’s tough talk with concrete action. Publications such as the Times, which act irresponsibly when given access to secrets on which national security depends, should have their access to government reduced. Their press credentials should be withdrawn. Reporting is surely a right, but press credentials are a privilege. This kind of conduct ought not be rewarded with privileged access.
Moreover, the Justice Department must be more aggressive than it has been in investigating national-security leaks. While prosecution of the press for publishing information helpful to the enemy in wartime would be controversial, pursuit of the government officials who leak it is not. At the very least, members of the media who report such information must be made to understand that the government will no longer regard them as immune from questioning when it investigates the leakers. They should be compelled to reveal their sources, on pain of contempt.
Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor for Commentary magazine, writes in the Weekly Standard about the justification for prosecuting journalists who endanger the country by revealing sensitive information. He cites a very concrete example of this endangerment: Pearl Harbor.
Can journalists really be prosecuted for publishing national security secrets? In the wake of a series of New York Times stories revealing highly sensitive counterterrorism programs, that question is increasingly the talk of newsrooms across the country, and especially one newsroom located on West 43rd Street in Manhattan.
Last December, in the face of a presidential warning that they would compromise ongoing investigations of al Qaeda, the Times revealed the existence of an ultrasecret terrorist surveillance program of the National Security Agency and provided details of how it operated. Now, once again in the face of a presidential warning, the Times has published a front-page article disclosing a highly classified U.S. intelligence program that successfully penetrated the international bank transactions of al Qaeda terrorists.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee urged the Bush administration on Sunday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.
President (make that Times editor) Bill Keller must be feeling the heat about his paper’s irresponsible banking spy scoop from Friday. Sunday afternoon he took the trouble to publish an open letter to readers (online only) justifying his executive decision to expose the details of yet another classified terrorist surveillance program, this one involving the surveillance of bank records of a Belgian international banking cooperative called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT.
In today’s terror-stricken world, which is more vital to the public’s interest: being safe, or being informed?
This very question has come before the management of the New York Times twice in the past six months. On both occasions, even though it went completely contrary to the national security requests of the White House, their conclusion was that ignorance is indeed not bliss.
Sadly, it appears that the Times doesn’t agree with the old maxim “Tis better to be safe than sorry,” for on June 23, in what is starting to become a semi-annual event, the Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning team of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen disclosed to America and her enemies the existence of another highly classified national security program designed to identify terrorist activity before it occurs.
In this case, since shortly after 9/11, the Central Intelligence Agency has been working with a Belgian international banking cooperative called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. SWIFT provides
In fact, I submit that the only reason stories like this one are framed in such a way is because the author has to start with a premise. The premise, of course, is that Iraq is Vietnam, Iraq is a lost cause, and anything contrary to this is “news.”
Page A-20, Friday's New York Times: "For Diehards, Search for Iraq's WMD Isn't Over."
Our headline about flower-power Pinch Sulzberger's New York Times: "For Diehards, Search for Endless Vietnam/My Lai Metaphors In Iraq Isn't Over."
The NYT's story today sounds like they think only quirky "hobbyists" and gung-ho goobers are still searching for WMD -- but they never suggest the august New York Times has the slightest interest in investigating this themselves. (So much for that "all the news that's fit to print" business, if you ever bought that line. Remember whgen they were hot on the trail of missing WMD? That would be the al-Qaqaa push in the last days of the 2004 campaign. You can peek at how Clay Waters worked the story on the story, starting on October 26, here. Brent Baker's Cyber Alert trail starts here.) All the news that fits the Kerry/Vietnam template is news.
The same team that handled the NSA “domestic spying” scoop has Friday’s lead story on another classified surveillance program, this one involving international bank transfers (“Bank Data Sifted In Secret By U.S. To Block Terror”), which may well sabotage the usefulness of the program.
This week’s edition of Newsweek carries a devastating story suggesting the case is falling apart against three members of the Duke lacrosse team accused of rape. The phrase bannered across the cover: “Duke: Should The Case Be Dropped?” The story’s subhead: “The prosecutor insists his rape case is strong. One big problem: the facts thus far.”
So, what does Times sports columnist Harvey Araton have to say about this turn of events? After all, Araton went after the Duke lacrosse team in two previous columns, even attacking the university’s women’s lacrosse team for daring to defend their athletic colleagues.
New York Times reporter Jason DeParle (an alumnus of the liberal Washington Monthly magazine, one of many in the major media over the years) is now the man the Times assigns to cover the caveman, er, conservative beat. In Wednesday's paper, he does that nicely by covering the new Encyclopedia of Conservatism by ISI Books. It's not completely without balance, as he does poke at ISI's Jeffrey Nelson about the book going easy on George Wallace, and brings in liberal author Dan Carter for comment. But this is the kind of story that explores conservatism, and doesn't just gasp in horror at it.
The original source of the whole blogger investigation was an article printed in New York Times blog (disclosing how Armstrong was found by the SEC to have promoted junk stocks and bonds on the web) which never appeared in the print edition and is unreadable without a paid subscription to the web site. After the story came out, The New York Post printed its own story, and in the process taking the scoop. It's starting to seem as though NYT blogger Chris Suellentrop's editors did not deem newsworthy a story which reflected badly on the left-wing blogosphere despite devoting mucho coverage to it this month.
The media have ignored heroes among the U.S. troops in Iraq, and have instead fixated on scandals representing a small percentage of troops, such as the New York Times' "love affair" with the Abu Ghraib scandal, manifested in 50 front page headlines.
After years of watching and reading coverage of the War on Terror, many citizens, including us, have been awestruck by the lack of balance and objectivity exercised by American reporters and news executives. The dearth of hopeful or heroic stories reported has given viewers a lopsided perspective.
Case in point: the New York Times and their love affair with the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. To date, the New York Times has devoted over 50 front page articles to the story! Currently, not a single individual chronicled in our book, Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, - some of the most highly decorated members of the United States military - has received a front-page story devoted to his or her valorous actions.
In the New York Times, a Sunday story from Berkeley, California on the closing of a legendary local bookstore carries a surprisingly old refrain. Reporter Jesse McKinley found that some leftists are still blaming Ronald Reagan for the business slump on Berkeley's main drag, Telegraph Avenue, right there in the first paragraph:
Depending on whom you ask, the reason Cody's Books is going out of business is either because of the City of Berkeley, the homeless, the University of California, the war in Iraq, Ronald Reagan, the Internet or the lack of short-term parking.
Reagan? Even now, after his death? Blaming Reagan for every negative social event was common liberal-media sport in the 1980s and 1990s, slowing a bit with the onset of Reagan's Alzheimer's disease. McKinley comes back around to the Reagan-bashing arguments at the story's end:
The illegal immigration issue threatens to hurt Democrats in the fall 2006 elections, so The New York Times has delivered a very special -- front page, above the fold -- Father's Day article that will no doubt serve as talking points for many left-leaning "civil rights" groups, such as the ACLU.