Fox News Watch: Lowry Levels Frightened Gabler

Could there be a new sheriff on the block at Fox News Watch?  Brash lefty Neal Gabler often manages to get the last word, but on last evening's show he was soundly put in his place by National Review editor Rich Lowry, substituting for Cal Thomas.

The topic was the recent press leaks that have compromised a number of highly-classified anti-terrorism programs including the secret prisons for Al-Qaeda members, the monitoring of Al-Qaeda related phone calls and the gathering of phone calling patterns. 

Predictably, Gabler was highly critical of the prospect of the government going against those who, by publishing the leaks, potentially cause significant damage to our national security interests:

Gabler: "There is a political component with Bush's ratings down, intimidating the press they think is good business and whacking the press is good politics but there is also I think importantly an ideological component.  This campaign against the press clearly was launched by Gonzales as another salient in the idea of executive power that is infallible and unassailable and I think that is one thing we are seeing here and Gonzales said before he retracted it, saying sometimes the First Amendment has to give way to security. And that is one of the things we're seeing and that is not just politics, that is more frightening."

Lowry: "As a matter of practice for decades there was a gentlemen's agreement you didn't go after reporters in the federal national security cases and what happened to blow up the gentlemen's agreement? One Patrick Fitzgerald blew it up. And who was cheerleading him on all along? The press."

Continued Lowry: "And this is a story about about partisan hypocrisy which comes back to bite you and it was it on the part of the press saying 'pursue the leak to the ends of the earth because it will hurt the Bush administration' and now the premises are followed to the logical conclusion and you have the press screaming."

Bingo. 

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.