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 Their press credentials should be withdrawn.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.
If there were great news out of Iraq, which media outlet would be the least likely to report it?
a. An anti-American news network from Qatar
b. A terrorist-run television station in Lebanon
c. The New York Times
d. The Washington Post
If you answered “a” or “b,” you were contradicted by last week’s coverage. Some absolutely magnificent news did come out of Iraq last Thursday, yet, hard as it might be to believe, subscribers to The New York Times and The Washington Post would have been better off visiting the websites of the anti-American television network Al-Jazeera, or the Hezbollah-run television station Al-Manar if they wanted to find out about it.
The following are the surprising opening paragraphs of Thursday’s report by Al-Jazeera.net – a media outlet never shy about its hatred for America or its support for Islamic terrorists – in a story amazingly titled “‘End’ of al-Qaeda in Iraq,” and containing information that neither The Times nor The Post shared with their readers:
Tom Johnson mentioned on NewsBusters a New York Times article that said Dan Rather would be teaming up with NBA Dallas Mavericks owner/billionaire, Mark Cuban. Rather is interested in hosting a small weekly show for Cuban on his HDNet cable network.
But another venture Rather is looking at is his own company called "News and Guts." Kind of like "News Busters," except the antidote.
Mr. Rather also said that in April, in anticipation of what seemed to be his imminent departure from CBS, he had formed a company — he named it News and Guts, in a nod to what he considers the pillars of his professional life — through which he plans to create several other journalism ventures, including, perhaps, a blog. (Though he has not yet settled on a title, he says he has ruled out one: "I'd Rather Say This.")
After reading the Rove non-indictment round-up by Jim Rutenberg and Neil Lewis, it would appear that that White House reporters still have Rove in their crosshairs (as one would expect, since the media is the entity who pushed for an investigation).
Mr. Bush “faced tough questions” in the press conference yesterday:
One journalist asked if the president believed that Mr. Rove owed any apologies for providing "misleading" statements about his role in the case.
…questions remain about how straightforward Mr. Rove, a deputy chief of staff, was about his own role in administration efforts to rebut a war critic — even with his own White House colleagues.
The New York Times has sunk to a new low in their quest to shut down Gitmo's terrorist training facility, this time by turning over their opinion page to a suspected terrorist.
Today's editorial page features an op-ed from Mourad Benchellali, a French national awaiting trial in France on terror charges. Benchellali's op-ed, titled "Detainees in Despair," claims that he was unjustly plucked from an outdoor cafe by Pakistani police, and held under brutal conditions at the Guantanamo Bay facility without reason or probable cause.
I was seized by the Pakistani Army while having tea at a mosque shortly
after I managed to cross the border. A few days later I was delivered
to the United States Army: although I didn't know it at the time, I was
now labeled an "enemy combatant." It did not matter that I was no one's
enemy and had never been on a battlefield, let alone fought or aimed a
weapon at anyone
NY Times editorial writer Adam Cohen was on the Las Vegas junket attending the left-wing blog gathering of DailyKos fans in Las Vegas (“The Yearly Kos”), along with political reporter Adam Nagourney and columnist Maureen Dowd. Cohen plugs it in a starry-eyed editorial today, “Could a 15-Year-Old With a Laptop Be the New Campaign Media Guru?”
(The guru in question is one Ava Lowery from Alabama.)
Support the war in Iraq without having been there and you're a "chickenhawk," but travel to Baghdad and it's a political stunt. Such is the logic of the New York Times editorial page, which still hasn't gotten over President Bush's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003.
Three years after declaring from the deck of an aircraft carrier
that America had accomplished its mission in Iraq, President Bush flew
to Baghdad yesterday to make much of two modest pieces of encouraging
news — the belated confirmation of the last three members of the Iraqi
cabinet and the death of Iraq's top terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
now, Americans surely know the difference between a presidential
publicity stunt and a true turning point in this ever-lengthening war.
If they had any question about which one this was, Karl Rove provided
some guidance in New Hampshire, where he delivered the campaign talking
points to the Republican faithful: the Democrats could never have
summoned the will to kill Mr. Zarqawi. For an administration that is
supposed to be rallying a nation at war, it was a revealingly nasty,
partisan and divisive moment.
Here’s everything Reuters and the NY Times are telling readers at nytimes.com (3:30 p.m. eastern, Jun. 13) about today's press conference Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz held concerning the explosion last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians ("Israel Denies Role in Deadly Gaza Beach Blast")
Israel on Tuesday denied responsibility for an explosion on a Gaza beach last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians and led militant group Hamas to call off a 16-month truce.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz told reporters the explosion was not caused by the Israeli Defense Forces but did not provide an explanation for what might have caused the blast, which killed several members of the same family.
Major General Meir Califi, who headed the army's investigation into Friday's incident, said Israel's shelling of Gaza had stopped by the time the beach explosion occurred.
"The chances that artillery fire hit that area at that time are nil,'' Califi told a news conference.
Hamas, which heads the Palestinian Authority after winning elections earlier this year, has blamed Israel for the explosion, which came on a day of heavy shelling of Gaza.
Israel frequently fires artillery rounds into the coastal strip in response to Palestinian rockets fired at Israel.
There has been a surge in violence between Israel and the Palestinians since the beach explosion, the immediate aftermath of which was caught on film and showed an 8-year-old girl desperately searching for her dead father.
An investigator from international rights group Human Rights Watch told reporters in Gaza earlier that evidence pointed to Israel having fired the shell, but he had to leave the door open to the possibility that the explosion was caused by something else.
In the ongoing left-wing saga of “They Stole The Election From Us,” New York Times columnist Bob Herbert (hat tip to Raw Story) wrote Monday another gratuitous piece about how George W. Bush swiped the 2004 election from John Kerry.
This stuff is really delicious. But, I caution the reader to not have food or drink in his or her mouth while reviewing this information, for uncontrollable laughter can erupt at any moment and without warning:
“Republicans, and even a surprising number of Democrats, have been anxious to leave the 2004 Ohio election debacle behind. But [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.], in his long, heavily footnoted [Rolling Stone] article (‘Was the 2004 Election Stolen?’), leaves no doubt that the democratic process was trampled and left for dead in the Buckeye State. Kerry almost certainly would have won Ohio if all of his votes had been counted, and if all of the eligible voters who tried to vote for him had been allowed to cast their ballots.”
Now, remember folks…the key, much as it was in Florida, is to count all the votes. Of course, most of us remember what that looked like. Comically, the article continued: “No one has been able to prove that the election in Ohio was hijacked.” Actually, Bob, this is a great point you make. Why is it lost on you?
The writers of The New York Times apparently think that every day's a good day to bash the Bush administration. And any hook will work, whether it's factually correct or not. Today's example comes from yesterday's Times, and Niall Ferguson. He's got a long piece about the burgeoning Federal debt.
Well, I'm all in favor of concern about the debt, because I'd rather have a lower debt than a larger. (I rather suspect that, as a matter of policy, the New York Times would not agree with me on the proper means for lowering the debt, but we'll leave that aside for the moment.)
So, what exactly is Ferguson's take?
Since becoming president, George Bush has presided over one of the steepest peacetime rises ever in the federal debt. The gross federal debt now exceeds $8.3 trillion. There are three reasons for the post-2000 increase: reduced revenue during the 2001 recession, generous tax cuts for higher income groups and increased expenditures not only on warfare abroad but also on welfare at home. And if projections from the Congressional Budget Office turn out to be correct, we are just a decade away from a $12.8 trillion debt — more than double what it was when Bush took office. [emphasis mine]
To paraphrase Douglas Adams, "this is obviously some strange usage of the word peacetime that I wasn't previously aware of." Even if you want to describe the 1990s as "peacetime" despite the fact that we had troops active in Iraq (and Somalia and Bosnia), it is difficult to comprehend how someone could describe the period since 9/11 as "peacetime." After the United States was clearly attacked, we have responded militarily, removing the governments of two different nations in the past 5 years, with all of the military costs that those operations have required. There's no legitimate usage of the word "peacetime" in that context. The only reason that you would use that word is to make a false comparison that makes the Bush administration's performance look worse than it has been.
How unusual to see something like that in the New York Times...
At National Review Online today, Byron York wrapped up his coverage of the Yearly Kos convention by noting that one thing was missing in the coverage of Markos Moulitsas, the nation's top foamy-mouthed leftist blogger at the center of the Daily Kos:
While his writings—and the controversies they have caused—are an old topic in the blogosphere, they have remained largely unexamined in major media outlets. For example, one of Moulitsas’s most famous statements, involving the brutal murders of four American contractors in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004—“I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.”—has been the target of extensive criticism on conservative blogs and in conservative media outlets, but, according to a search of the Nexis database, has never been mentioned in the Washington Post. (It was quoted, once, in the New York Times, deep in a September 2004 feature story on bloggers.) Nor has it been reported in any major newsmagazine or been the topic of conversation on any major television program.
The same is true for other things Moulitsas has written. For example, in January of this year, Moulitsas reflected on the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror:
Media reporter turned columnist David Carr quotes the now-notorious comment out of Ann Coulter’s new book regarding the media-lionized “Jersey Girls” who lambasted Bush for failing to stop 9-11, then huffs in his Monday column:
"That typical Coulter sortie was hardly a misstep on some overamped talk show. That doozy of a sentence was written, edited, lawyered and then published.”
Howard Kurtz reviews the latest Ann Coulter publicity salvo in his Monday Media Notes column, but fails to ask: why would the harsh remarks of this mere author be seen by the networks as more earth-shaking then, say, the shrillness of Hillary Clinton? Ann Coulter is not about to run for president, so why are her remarks bigger news than when Hillary opens a rhetorical can of fanny-whack?
Kurtz also reports that New York Times columnist Tom Friedman drew the ire of General Motors for his column suggesting GM was dangerous to America, but the Times acted like it had no stomach for anyone attacking them in letters to the editor:
GM withdrew a letter to the editor after the paper insisted the automaker not call Friedman's column "rubbish," suggesting instead "we beg to differ" and, when that didn't fly, "not so."
As I noted yesterday, while most Americans were celebrating the military success that killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, there were still some in the media trying to spin the development in a negative light. That trend continued on the CBS "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer last evening. In one segment, Schieffer interviewed two critics of the war in Iraq, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and CBS News Analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer had also appeared earlier in the day on "The Early Show."
Schieffer focused on Friedman first, inquiring what Friedman thought about the development:
The NY Times’ Carl Hulse says goodbye and good riddance to Rep. Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader resigning his seat in Congress today, with “Defiant to the End, Delay Pats Himself on the Back and Bids the House a Torrid Goodbye.”
“Representative Tom DeLay personifies the word ‘unapologetic.’