The Tortured Conscience of the Gray Lady

The Tortured Conscience of the Gray Lady June 7, 2013

As the Obama Administration continues to completely unspool with IRS abuses, spying on citizens, gross abuses of power, and intimidation of the press, the NY Times runs in circles like a horse with a twisted bowel, trying to figure out how to report these shattering betrayals while somehow salvaging The Vision and standing by their man.

Meanwhile, more honest lefty sites, like Mediaite, cover the ways in which the Times keeps erupting in frustration at both Obama and at the heroic Glenn Greenwald (who just broke the story of Obama spying on all Verizon customers)–and then backtracking and trying to soften their language so as not to make Obama look so bad and to hide their antipathy to that bloody meddler Greenwald:

First, here’s the change that Gawker flagged:

This evening, after a full day of news outletssharingthe Times editorial, and after the Guardian dropped yet another bombshellabout governmental spying, the website NewsDiffs (and others) are reporting that theTimes editorial board appears to have quietly crept into its now famous rebuke and, for reasons undeclared, updated the claim that the administration is no longer credible. The sentence now reads, “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue,” which is quite a different statement altogether. The paper also seems to have added sentences referencing the new Guardian article.

The current piece contains no mention of the changes.

What’s fascinating is that the paper also seems to have softened the headline of a June 7 article about Glenn Greenwald, who has been publishing the NSA leaks. The headline of an early draft of the article appears to have been “Anti-Surveillance Activist Is At Center Of New Leak,” which was apparently changed prior to publication. That early headline, however, is still visible in the article’s URL slug, which currently reads “anti-surveillance-activist-is-at-center-of-new-leak.”

There’s nothing nefarious about the fact that it was changed; often, online publishers will change a headline prior to publication, and forget to update the URL. But the contrast with the eventual headline appears to  demonstrate a caution similar to the one that prompted the change to the editorial. Instead of a headline that implies Greenwald has an ax to grind, and unsubtly suggests it might color his reporting, the piece is titled “Blogger, With Focus on Surveillance, Is at Center of a Debate.”

It’s hard to report the news when you are a Court Prophet.

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  • etme

    One of the tools they use to not so subtly discredit the subjects they cover is the word “controversial”. “Controversial” measures of Pope X – when he is just stating doctrine. “Controversial” defense of unborn babies – when people are marching downtown DC. “Controversial” person or action – whenever it is something that does not fit their ideology. Where is the controversy? Clearly not in the actions or personality they try to undermine. It is a way of saying that, besides several hundred thousands marching for life, there were 12 pro-choice protesters… and that makes the pro-life manifestation, “controversial”. As said, it is a not-so-subtle way of undermining whatever cause or person they do not like.

    However, here’s what I suggest. From now on, let us always add the adjective “controversial”, whenever we mention the New York Times or Washington Post. instead of warning of their well-known bias, just not-so-subtly to undermine them (and their claims), by saying, “the controversial New York Times reports that”, or, “as appears in the controversial Washington Post” etc.

    This is not an exaggeration. Regarding most of the subjects the readers of this blog are interested in, and regarding orthodoxy & the Church, given the evident bias of these media outlets, we all know that they are indeed controversial. Let their ideology shine through! .

  • Joseph

    They’ll get better at it, I’m sure. Internet news can be modified, added, or removed at the drop of a hat without hardly anyone taking notice. It’s a Ministry of Truth out-of-the-box. Eventually, they’ll get the hang of properly disposing of old records. Be thankful that they’re still sloppy.

  • Chesire11

    Funny thing…I remember back when the PATRIOT Act was passed in a post 9/11 panic without members of Congress even bothering to read it, anybody who thought that laying the groundwork for a police state was dismissed as an unpatriotic hippy with a “pre-9/11” mindset. When the government was engaged in warrantless wiretapping – not just amassing a database of call records, but actually eavesdropping on phone calls – Congress granted the telcoms that cooperated immunity from lawsuits or prosecution for their involvement. When the media reported that the government had assembled a vast database of bank records and financial transactions, the media was attacked as having “helped the terrorists.”

    Now, when the present administration (in direct contradiction of the promises on which it was elected and reelected) continues these policies, suddenly conservatives are decrying the advent of a police state for which they drew the blueprints. Yeah, welcome to the party…you’re about a decade late.

  • Chesire11

    I’m not sure I entirely buy this line of argument. I agree that there is nothing illegal about the NSA collecting call data for which they obtained a legal warrant. I also agree that it’s unrealistic, and impractical to insist that law enforcement pretend that the data don’t exist, but I am not comfortable with the data being housed by the NSA.

    It seems to me that, given the intrinsically secretive nature of counter-terrorism investigations, this allows far too much potential for abuse. Mandate that the telecoms maintain the database, and allow access to it for high level analysis, but anything more
    than that should require a specific, as opposed to a blanket warrant issued by a FISA court.

    For what it’s worth, though, this deflates at least some of the hyperbole around a legitimate concern.