Bring Down the Duck! Kalb Says WSJ 'Mean-Spirited' to Criticize NY Times Over Leaks

July 9th, 2006 1:06 PM

That didn't take long! Just yesterday I suggested readers keep in mind the MSM's bashing of Pres. Bush on his birthday the next time a liberal accused conservatives of being 'mean-spirited.'  Groucho fans will know what I mean when I say: bring down the duck! On last evening's Journal Editorial Report , liberal newsie Marvin Kalb said the magic 'm-s' word in condemning the Wall Street Journal for its criticism of the New York Times.

The Journal had run an editorial, Fit and Unfit to Print  [subscription required] that both explained why it had run a story on the anti-terror financial tracking program, and criticized the New York Times for doing so.  For the record, the editorial explained that in contrast with the Times article, the Journal only published declassified information that had been provided them by the Treasury Department.

That's when Kalb qualified for Groucho's $50 prize, saying the secret word:

"I think the editorial you ran was dead wrong. I think you declared war on another American newspaper without cause.  It is mean-spirited."

For the record, here's an excerpt from the Journal editorial.  You be the judge as to how mean-spirited - or right on target - it was:

"How important are the national security concerns? And how do those concerns balance against the public's right to know?

"The problem with the Times is that millions of Americans no longer believe that its editors would make those calculations in anything close to good faith. We certainly don't. On issue after issue, it has become clear that the Times believes the U.S. is not really at war, and in any case the Bush Administration lacks the legitimacy to wage it.

"So, for example, it promulgates a double standard on 'leaks,' deploring them in the case of Valerie Plame and demanding a special counsel when the leaker was presumably someone in the White House and the journalist a conservative columnist. But then it hails as heroic and public-spirited the leak to the Times itself that revealed the National Security Agency's al Qaeda wiretaps."

Sounds about right to me.