In the Style section of Saturday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz covered the slightly strange story of the Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing the New York Times scoop on the SWIFT financial tracking system, when the Journal ran the story as well once the Times decided to publish. But the most interesting part of the story was the new poll:
In a Fox News poll released yesterday, 60 percent of those surveyed said the Times did more to help terrorist groups by publishing the information, while 27 percent said the story did more to help the public. Forty-three percent called what the newspapers did treason. Just over half said government employees were more to blame for leaking the classified information, 28 percent faulted the media for reporting it, and 17 percent said they were equally to blame.
Kurtz also reported that Donald Rumsfeld singled out the Times again:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld continued the assault yesterday in an interview with ABC News Radio, saying, "The New York Times, when asked by the United States government, 'Please do not do that, it would cause the loss of American lives,' and they'd go right ahead and print it . . . it tells you a lot about the New York Times, and it certainly tells you a lot about the individual who did that."
Here's how Kurtz noted the quibbling between the Times and the Journal editorialists:
The Journal's conservative editorial page weighed in yesterday by arguing that what the two newspapers had done was very different:
"More than a few commentators have tried to link the Journal and Times at the hip. On the left, the motive is to help shield the Times from political criticism. On the right, the goal is to tar everyone in the 'mainstream media.' . . . We suspect that the Times has tried to use the Journal as its political heatshield precisely because it knows our editors have more credibility on these matters."
Later in the day, the Times' publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., returned fire in what has now escalated into a full-fledged battle between the two New York papers...Sulzberger, whom the editorial accuses of deliberately seeking to obstruct the war on terror, offered his own response.
"I know many of the reporters and editors at the Wall Street Journal and have greater faith in their journalistic excellence than does the editorial page of their own paper," Sulzberger said in a statement. "I, for one, do not believe they were unaware of the importance of what they were publishing nor oblivious to the impact such a story would have."
Please remember that Mr. Pinch Sulzberger is the same guy who almost laid prostrate in front of a graduating class at New Paltz a few weeks ago over his baby-boomer generation's failure to prevent "misbegotten wars" in foreign lands and beat his breast that supposedly "oil" drives our foreign policy. The hunger and thirst of the New York Times for anti-war stories far outweighs the tinny boilerplate about "journalistic excellence."