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Lately, I find that when the blogs are swarming on an issue there are enough writers writing well on an issue – for example, the issue of Bill Keller and the NY Times’ perfidy – that I don’t really need to throw my less-impressive pearls out into the ‘sphere.
I do like Glenn Reynolds’ response to Keller’s most childish and specious statement. Keller wrote – unbelievably – Some of the incoming mail quotes the angry words of conservative bloggers and TV or radio pundits who say that drawing attention to the government’s anti-terror measures is unpatriotic and dangerous. (I could ask, if that’s the case, why they are drawing so much attention to the story themselves by yelling about it on the airwaves and the Internet.)
Reynolds writes: I realize that the Times’ circulation is falling at an alarming rate, but it hasn’t yet reached such a pass that its stories are only noticed when Rush Limbaugh mentions them.
Heh. By the way, can’t you just hear Keller’s inner Eddie Haskell in that line? Can’t you just hear the spoiled elder child, full of collegiate cool and superior morality talking down to his Greatest Generation parents? I can. Oh, I can hear it! But more and more I’m convinced that these sniveling weasels are doomed and boxing shadows.
Another example of why I don’t need to write about this? You can’t do much better than Hugh Hewitt’s lengthy fisking or his superb follow-up, or Ed Morrissey’s equally well-reasoned take on the matter. Or, if you don’t have a lot of time, you can slip over to Wizbang and get their pithy-but-accurate take on the thing:
1) We have no reason to believe the program was illegal in any way.
2) We have every reason to believe it was effective at catching terrorists.
3) We ran the story anyway, screw you.
Sister Toldjah has the president’s angry remarks on this. On the video you can see just how angry the president is, but I think it’s time for Bush to be more than angry. I think he needs to put on his cowboy boots and stomp on some Hamptons-tanned toes. Or maybe he should let Lt. Cotton do it. He writes to Keller: And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others — laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.
Michael Barone wonders why do they hate us and yes, he means the NY Times. He makes a perfect simile that can be used not only to describe the Times, but much of the perpetually adolescent left: We have a press that is at war with an administration, while our country is at war against merciless enemies. The Times is acting like an adolescent kicking the shins of its parents, hoping to make them hurt while confident of remaining safe under their roof. But how safe will we remain when our protection depends on the Times?
Austin Bay, in a masterpiece of understatement, calls Keller’s letter inadequate. And Andrew McCarthy notes that journalist sources are kept more confidential than our national security issues.
Vanderleun, in a very clever post, says the press has ADD, and no he is not joking – go read!
CBS Public Eye has no opinion but notes that “the right” does not like what Keller has done. Presumably, then, the sophisticates on the left do approve of seeing an effective, legal, fruitful, independantly over-seen, congress-cleared program get crippled…I guess so long as it seems to “hurt” Bush.
Ace is counting the dumb things people in the press are saying.
Michael Ledeen, writing angry and well says: These people are not acting like journalists at all. They are acting as a fourth branch of government, co-equal with the others. They arrogate to themselves the power to classify and declassify, to protect or reveal secrets and sources, as they see fit. Which is to say, according to their political ambitions.They aren’t journalists at all, they’re pols. And they should be treated that way.
Rep. Peter King is calling for the Times to be prosecuted, which will never happen. This investigation will get more credence and serious consideration than any charge against the Times. That’s a problem, of course. The press have been running around like little high-priests, unanswerable to anyone, for too long. Tim Chapman thinks a congressional resolution of condemnation might be a start. Sounds good to me. Call Frist and Haster and tell them to do it: 202-225-3121.
Confederate Yankee is writing a letter to the president asking him to prosecute. I dunno. That’s one of those things that can get VERY hairy, which the NY Times knows and is counting on, of course. They’d love to be able to write that President Bushitler is shutting down papers, “as Peron shut down La Prensa” – how sympathetic it would make them, around the world! What knee-jerk support it will get – bringing the paper undeserved credibility and sympathy just as it begins its big work of carrying Hillary for the ’08 elections! Called as Seen also thinks prosecution is exactly what the NY Times is looking for.
Michelle Malkin has lots of excerpts of letters being written by citizens demanding that the Times face prosecution.
I wrote last Friday that the Times is pushing to be prosecuted, but I think the WH would be unwise to take the bait. As with other issues on which I disagree with some of my fellows, it is not as easy or uncomplicated as it sounds. Prosecuting the press is probably necessary and also probably undoable, not without the Bush administration and possibly the constitution sustaining heavy damage. But a congressional resolution is another matter. Also, I like the NRO’s idea of withdrawing the NY Time’s WH press credentials. They should lose them for the WH, and for the DOJ, the Pentagon, etc. You want to leak, you don’t get a press pass and access. Of course, that doesn’t stop leaks…but it wounds pride, which is a good start.
Alexandra has a lovely round-up in which she covers all this and more.
RightWing Nuthouse notes that Keller went on vacation right after dropping this bomb, and imagines his letter home.
My sense is this gambit is going to wash back into the Times’ cup like toddlerspit mixed with bits of peanut-butter and jelly-on-white. Keller has made a complete and utter fool of himself, done a disservice to a once-great newspaper and – most offensively – compromised an important weapon in a time of war. He deserves to be ousted to whichever commune Howell Raines disappeared. As I wrote the other day, the Fourth Estate has long-been morphing into a Fifth Column. Seems they’re there, now.
UPDATE: So, I’m driving just now and hear a radio report with a snippy reporter who says the NY Times says the Treasury Department “had always been very open” about tracking terrorist money so “what was the big deal that we printed the story…”
Which begs the question, if it’s not a “big” story, why did you “need” to freaking print it?
Ed Morrissey notes that 9/11 Commissioners – those bastions of credibility (to the press) asked the Times NOT to publish the story.
Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times – from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.
AJ Strata notes that even John Murtha – JohnFreakin’MURTHA – tried to stop the Times from printing this story!. The story that the Times now says wasn’t such a big deal! NOTE: see here for clarification on Murtha.
I really, really hope the NY Times has its press passes and credentials revoked. To start.
Note Tony Snow’s presser, and a gal asking if the administration is trying to create a “chilling” situation for the press. Second time I’ve heard the word “chilling” today. I guess that’s the word for the week, like “gravitas.”
Related: NY Times pushing to be charged?