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The Latest From the NYT

Dean Baquet and Bill Keller have published their latest attempt to explain their disclosure of classified information.

We have correspondents today alongside troops on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others risk their lives in a quest to understand the terrorist threat; Daniel Pearl of The Wall Street Journal was murdered on such a mission. We, and the people who work for us, are not neutral in the struggle against terrorism.

But the virulent hatred espoused by terrorists, judging by their literature, is directed not just against our people and our buildings. It is also aimed at our values, at our freedoms and at our faith in the self-government of an informed electorate. If the freedom of the press makes some Americans uneasy, it is anathema to the ideologists of terror.

---
Our job, especially in times like these, is to bring our readers information that will enable them to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf, and at what price.

In recent years our papers have brought you a great deal of information the White House never intended for you to know -- classified secrets about the questionable intelligence that led the country to war in Iraq, about the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, about the transfer of suspects to countries that are not squeamish about using torture, about eavesdropping without warrants.

As Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor of The Washington Post, asked recently in the pages of that newspaper: "You may have been shocked by these revelations, or not at all disturbed by them, but would you have preferred not to know them at all? If a war is being waged in America's name, shouldn't Americans understand how it is being waged?"

Government officials, understandably, want it both ways. They want us to protect their secrets, and they want us to trumpet their successes. A few days ago, Treasury Secretary John Snow said he was scandalized by our decision to report on the bank-monitoring program. But in September 2003 the same Secretary Snow invited a group of reporters from our papers, The Wall Street Journal and others to travel with him and his aides on a military aircraft for a six-day tour to show off the department's efforts to track terrorist financing. The secretary's team discussed many sensitive details of their monitoring efforts, hoping they would appear in print and demonstrate the administration's relentlessness against the terrorist threat.

How do we, as editors, reconcile the obligation to inform with the instinct to protect?

Sometimes the judgments are easy. Our reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, take great care not to divulge operational intelligence in their news reports, knowing that in this wired age it could be seen and used by insurgents.

Often the judgments are painfully hard. In those cases, we cool our competitive jets and begin an intensive deliberative process.

There is a lot I could respond to in the excerpt above and even more in the full editorial, but I will just address the following for now: "Our job, especially in times like these, is to bring our readers information that will enable them to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf, and at what price." If it were true that the NYT had been doing their job, and bringing their readers unbiased, balanced and comprehensive information to enable them to make intelligent decisions, then I doubt there would have been as great an uproar (and questioning of their motivation) over the most recent disclosures of classified material. Instead, the NYT, and many other mainstream media outlets, have often treated the Bush administration as a greater threat to America than that posed by jihadist terrorists. If the history of the NYT's coverage of the war in Iraq and the War on Terror was not what it was and if their past coverage of this President had not been what it has been, their latest statement might be more believable.

Update: Blue Crab Boulevard senses nervousness over backlash and provides additional analysis and links, including one to Ann Althouse, who seems to agree with my analysis above by asking of the NYT, "why should we trust you?"

MacRanger has some excellent (and entertaining) analysis including this:

Yawwwn....do these guy's lawyers know that they are refusing their right to "remain silent".

Want it both ways. Well guys, if Secretary Snow showed you guys around the program in 2003, then why all the "secret reporting" here in 2006? How then could this be - as you call it - "news"? You're assertion that Snow "hoped it would appear in print", is a blatent lie as I know and have talked with someone on that "team", and you were asked not to devulge it, and you agreed and now - and only now - prior the 2006 midterms and especially when the tide (politically) for Bush as turned to the positive, you publish it.

This wasn't a "gut wrenching decision", it was a calculated move - one of many stories which both of your declining newspapers have written over the last few years - that were designed from the ground up to extract political damage on the White House. Nothing more, nothing less.

Update II:I really should have included the L.A. Times in the title to this post, since editors of both actually authored the statement, but since this is just the latest in a series of statements we have been covering from Keller at the NYT, I focused my post more narrowly than I probably should have, at least in the title name.

Update III: Sister Toldjah boils the statement down to a one line quetion and a one line answer.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Latest From the NYT:

» Blue Crab Boulevard linked with Althouse Versus The Times Two

» Don Singleton linked with When Do We Publish a Secret?

» Don Surber linked with Can Keller spell war?

» Morning Coffee linked with Jihadi Journalists try to explain themselves

» Joust The Facts linked with Stupid Questions, 1 And 2

» Sister Toldjah linked with NYT and LAT ask: When Do We Publish a Secret?

Comments (60)

"Our job, especially in tim... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"Our job, especially in times like these, is to bring our readers information that will enable them to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf, and at what price."

Using that logic, they would have supported the Chicago Tribune's choice to announce that the US had broken the Japanese Navy fleet code on their front page a couple days after the Battle of Midway because it would have been a great example of the effectiveness of our war effort and the actions of our government!

Lorie, sad to say, your bel... (Below threshold)
ted:

Lorie, sad to say, your below statement is a GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT:

"Instead, the NYT, and many other mainstream media outlets, have often treated the Bush administration as a greater threat to America than that posed by jihadist terrorists."

Lorie, not "often treated" but "consistently" treated. And, the Bush administration IS their enemey; the "jihadist terrorists" ARE their ally, that is, their ally to defeat their enemy Bush!!!

Nothing more, nothing less.

Does the NYT's still exist?... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Does the NYT's still exist? Isn't there someone crazy enough out there to follow Ann Coulter's suggestion and remove the building from the skyline of NY? They don't have to worry if they attack, the antique MSM always sides with terrorists. If there are any survivors from the NYT they will help build you an alibi, like, "Bush did it".

Death to traitors.... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Death to traitors.

Amazing that they made it a... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Amazing that they made it all the way through that without actually acknowledging that there is such a thing as the "War on Terror. With or without scare quotes.

How long will it be before ... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

How long will it be before law abiding, America loving, peace loving people in this country and around the world,wake up to the agenda of people like keller.They think their superior intellect(imagined) gives them the right to act unilaterly to bring down this President and America as we know it.The only result of their actions is to draw out this war and give lagitamcy to Islamofacist propaganda.I say treason trials are over due.

Lenin had a term for folks ... (Below threshold)
Ironman:

Lenin had a term for folks like Bill Keller

"useful idiots"

Even the NYT/LAT cabal real... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Even the NYT/LAT cabal realizes they crossed the line this time. They don't care about crossing the line because of the damage it has and will do to this country...just the damage it might do to their already abysmal circulation.

Anybody who BUYS either paper, and any company that ADVERTISES in either paper is aiding and abetting the enemies of this country. PERIOD. I will boycott any and all companies that do advertise! again, PERIOD.

Ironman,And Stalin c... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Ironman,
And Stalin called them comrades. Just ask Durante's ghost, when Satan is taking a break from ramming white hot pokers up his rear.

It would appear that the <b... (Below threshold)

It would appear that the Times's editors believe that "information that will enable [readers] to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf" includes information that would allow lunatics of every stripe to terrorize or kill those leaders.

There's no excuse for this. There cannot be, when Americans have been slaughtered by the thousands, and continue to die in handfuls, in the name of the values the Times's disingenuous apologia claims its betrayals have upheld.

It appears that Bill Keller... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

It appears that Bill Keller has decided that if the NYT is going down, it might as well go down in flames.

NYT: Spin, Crash, Burn and Die. (Please)!

If you folks would read the... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

If you folks would read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, you would know what you are talking about.

I don't even know what to say to people who think that you should kill those who disagree with you. Is it possible for political "discourse" to fall any further?

The New York Times did no harm to this country by discussing (what operational details?) a "secret" program that the administration had clearly indicated was going on. The terrorists were aware of it; most of the American public was not. The administration doesn't want it discussed because it might hurt the political position of the administration.

It's like Nixon--anything that might hurt his political standing is a national security issue. The is administration joins the Johnson and Nixon administrations in creating a credibility gap that can never be repaired.

BTW - If there nee... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

BTW -

If there needs to by any additional proof that this is political, explain why nobody's calling for the death of the editors of the Wall Street Journal. And don't give that transparant nonsense that the WSJ is honorable because they only published it because they knew the Times was going to. They published it the SAME day...

I think both the Times and the Journal do their jobs as journalists; I don't always agree with them...but that doesn't matter. We have a free press and a first amendment.

Publicus,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

If you folks would read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, you would know what you are talking about.

Don't assume that someone posting a call for death of the NYT editors to a blog in anyway represents the consensus of conservatives or any official position by the administration. There have been cases where liberal trolls post over the top comments only to give conservatives a bad name. Please address such comments directly rather than with the overly inclusive "you folks". The well educated should know better.

If there needs to by any additional proof that this is political, explain why nobody's calling for the death of the editors of the Wall Street Journal.

The NYT was the first news organization that indicated to the administration that it was going to publish this story. The LAT and WSJ got wind of the story from the NYT and began their own independent investigations. The administration concentrated on turning the NYT even sending John Snow to meet with the NYT editors. Had the administration succeeded, the other papers would likely have followed. Not having succeeded with the NYT, what the LAT and WSJ did wouldn't matter. The NYT was first with the story and that's why the calls to prosecute.

The New York Times did no harm to this country by discussing (what operational details?) a "secret" program that the administration had clearly indicated was going on.

If the terrorists all knew about the program then why was it successful in several cases? Obviously, not all the terrorists knew enough about the program to avoid it successfully and neither Dean Baquet or Bill Keller deny that. The argument that no damage was done just doesn't square with the facts.

Publicus...there's not much... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Publicus...there's not much left of your post, or you, after Mac Lorry's fisking of it, but one last comment.

The Left (your homeboys) has consistently maintained that of course America could defend itself against its enemies as long as:
- actions by the Government were judged LEGAL by reputable judicial opinions (Right AND Left leaning judges ascribed these to be so)
- supported in a bi-Partisan manner (Republicans AND Democrats went to the NYT to plead with them not to print this)
- shown to be EFFECTIVE (Sec. Treasury and others showed them evidence of the effectiveness)

ALL of these supposed "legitimacy" criteria were met...and then some. Yet the NYT indicated they were going ahead full speed. They WERE the impetus behind this. They DO bear the responsibility for weakening our ability to fight global terrorism. They ARE traitors, and the Government should shut them down!

We would still have a free press (they're not the only game in town). But maybe we would have a WISER press.

Mac Lorry - Thank you for y... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mac Lorry - Thank you for your post.

I was thinking about those who called for the death of Bill Keller; my words--"you folks"--was meant to refer to people who agree with that opinion.

I have never heard which operational details in the Times would have aided the terrorist. Was their anything of more value than was on, say, the Swift web page? If so, I didn't see it in the article.

Justrand - I plead guilty to believing that the terrorists can be fought and defeated within the confines of the law. I accept that we disagree about what is and what isn't legal. Americans often disagree and debate. That's great. Your side might win. That's fine. My only concern is that, while fighting the terrorists, we don't throw away our Republic.

There are so many things fu... (Below threshold)

There are so many things fundamentally wrong with that latest statement I don't even know where to begin. MacRanger's point was the first to come to mind. Is Keller really that obtuse? My God. No wonder the NYT is considered to be the "once venerable" paper.

I'm always a little antsy about taking the press to court though. That's a slippery slope I don't thing any of us want to start on. However, the leakers are another story. They should be searched out and stand trial for treason and sedition.

er ... think. Not "thing".... (Below threshold)

er ... think. Not "thing".

Oyster - I am happy to hear... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Oyster - I am happy to hear that, while you strongly disagree with Mr. Keller's position, you don't want to prosecute him.

I'd also like to note that the Left has been severely critical of Keller over his handling of actions the Judith Miller matter. First, the left didn't like her stories in the Times that supported the administrations claims about Iraq and the original case for war. Second. the Left were angry that Judith Miller was protecting a source within the Bush administration.

I disagree with the Left on both these matters; if she got a story wrong about Iraq, she's made a mistake which is regrettable but not a crime. And I think she did the right thing protecting her source--that's what journalists MUST do to do their jobs. Even if the source is not a nice guy.

That said, I'd like to think that Left and Right, which both have gripes with Mr. Keller, don't want to prosecute the press and endanger the first amendment.

"If there needs to by any a... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"If there needs to by any additional proof that this is political, explain why nobody's calling for the death of the editors of the Wall Street Journal."

That's easy homeboy...

The Times Two (NYT & LAT) published their stories against the Governement's wishes... The WSJ published theirs after being told about the program during a Treasury briefing triggered by the Times Two telling the Administration to "pucker up, here it comes!"

The Times Two developed their stories during lengthy investigations that used anonymous sources in off-the-record interviews... The WSJ wrote the story using named officials, who knew the Times Two stories were about to break, at on-the-record interviews.

The Times Two were asked by the Administration to not blow their covert, legal, and effective program... The Administration, having been told "Sorry, Charlie... we're blowing the program!" by the Times Two, told the WSJ to run the story in an effort to set the record straight in their eyes.

I think an average person would find those differences less than trivial.

Pukicious, or whoever negle... (Below threshold)
Ironman:

Pukicious, or whoever neglects to mention someone profounding disinterested in damage control for the White House, Rep. John Murtha, urged the NYT NOT to print the SWIFT story.

So much for the "political" angle.

As for the constitutional argument I defer to former Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson who opined "The constitution is not a suicide pact"

I suspect Mr. Keller thinks that it is

Hi, again!Gizmo - ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Hi, again!

Gizmo -

So, the Times is bad because they used unnamed sources and published things that the administration didn't want published. And the WSJ published only what the administration were okay with being published. But, what actual INFORMATION was published that revealed details useful to terrorists. I GET the Times, and didn't see much info like that; it seemed to concentrate on the controversy's surrounding the secret access to people who were not terrorist suspects...

Also, just curious--what's this "homeboy" thing? I'm probably too uncool because I don't get it. I assume it's intended to be derogatory (that's okay, this is a pretty heated argument), but I don't really get it...

I find it amazing that Publ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

I find it amazing that Publicus doesn't see that it is more important that the secrets of this country are better kept by elected oficials and those employed by them, than by self serving members of the press. I fail to see how you justify determining where or not damage is done when these secrets are revealed. I don't know how much damage is done, and honestly can't see how you can have the arrogance(sp) to make such a judgment yourself. The only real threat to our way of life is from the terrorist, not from an over zelouse(sp) administration. They are trying to defeat the terrorist, not the republic. Any true damage to the constitution will be readily recognized and delt with. The rest of this is just so much political crap.

Publicus, a "homeboy" is so... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Publicus, a "homeboy" is someone you hang with beyond reason...like you with the Left. ok?

The NYT, et al, rely on someone somewhere with a TINY PIECE OF THE PUZZLE being just disgruntled enough to "leak" something. Then they, the NYT, publish it and just don't give one good damn what damage it does.

well F**K 'EM. If they frog-marched the entire editorial staff of the NYT off to Gitmo for an "in-depth story" that would be fine with me. 4,5,6 years from now we can let tell their tale of "Life at Gitmo". A sure Best-Seller!

did I mention F**K 'EM?

USMC Pilot -I have... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

USMC Pilot -

I haven't made a judgement on whether or not damage was done; I ASKED what in the NYT article revealed information that was previously unknown and damaged the program. This allegation is going around--the article damaged the country. So, I have asked, specifically, how?

In the past, administrations have kept things secret and declared them issues of national security--falsely. As far as I can tell, the Times raised this controversy with respect to the Swift program surveillance. (BTW - the public website of Swift has long acknowledged that they work with governments to uncover illegal and terrorist activity...this wasn't first revealed by the Times.)

I understand that, because you believe the President is an honorable man, that he wouldn't do anything to harm the Republic. I don't know what his intent is. But whatever his motives, I'm concerned that he is doing things that DO threaten the Republic. And, even if he IS completely wonderful, a future president with enhanced powers (grown during this administration) could threaten our freedoms and destroy them.

Justrand -Thanks f... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Justrand -

Thanks for clarifying. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a homeboy. I frequently talk politics with a friend of mine who says I'm way too liberal. We argue all the time about politics, but enjoy the conversation and buy each other drinks. I do have liberal friends, too, but we don't talk politics because it's boring when there's not much disagreement.

As far as the Republic is concerned, I've long been fascinated by the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. So, that's why issues that impinge on them get me going...

Publicus: "I haven't made a... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Publicus: "I haven't made a judgement on whether or not damage was done;"

that's ok, the editors of the NYT and LAT have already done so. they would NOT be offering daily justifications of their treasonous actions if they didn't realize they WERE treasonous. PERIOD.

The NYT and LAT know for a FACT that they went our of their way to screw the President...and, oh by the way, America just HAPPENED to be in the freaking way!

Publicus, wise up to the FACT that those media outlets (at least) will do ANYTHING to bring down this President...and they don't care if they kill YOU and your FAMILY in the process. again...PERIOD!

wise up, Sport.

Publicus:You seem ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Publicus:

You seem to wonder what damage was done, while I wonder what good was done. I fail to see any threat to the Republic by anything done by the current administration. Philosophy is nice, but it all to often gets in the way of common sense.

The Republicans control the... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

The Republicans control the Executive and Legislative branches of government; they have appointed the majority of the members of the Supreme Court. They are in power.

So, why are they so fearful of opposition, or flag-burning, or gay unions, or newspapers, or court rulings they don't like. Do they expect TOTAL control? Are they unhappy with nothing less? It should be pretty gratifying to politicians to have that much power concentrated in one party; this is very rare. Hey, enjoy it! And relax; once in awhile, you won't get your way. But most times, these last few years, you did get your way.

Publicus: "Hey, enjoy it... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Publicus: "Hey, enjoy it! And relax; once in awhile, you won't get your way. But most times, these last few years, you did get your way."

Absolutely perfect depiction of the Clinton philospohy! 1993 World Trade Center bombing..a blip...relax.
Cobart towers...no worries.
Ebassies in Africa get blown up...be happy, man.

We are truly at WAR, numb nuts. 9/11 changed the "don't worry...be happy" philosophy. So put down the damn bong and get as conerned with fighting and WINNING this war as the rest of us!


Geez.

Well, it's nice to see a re... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Well, it's nice to see a reasonable liberal around here. You may be more polite than I am, and why you bother to respond to the irrational commenters is beyond me, but it's nice to see someone here from the left who is thinking and interested in a little more than partisan bickering.

Anyway, on with the partisan bickering! ;)

The administration concentrated on turning the NYT even sending John Snow to meet with the NYT editors. Had the administration succeeded, the other papers would likely have followed. Not having succeeded with the NYT, what the LAT and WSJ did wouldn't matter. The NYT was first with the story and that's why the calls to prosecute.

Mac, in the eyes of the law wouldn't all be treasonous or none? Does it really matter, in a legal sense, who knew about it first? If publishing such information is treasonous, aren't all who did so culpable?

I find it amazing that Publicus doesn't see that it is more important that the secrets of this country are better kept by elected oficials and those employed by them, than by self serving members of the press.

USMC, who do you think were the unnamed sources in this story if not our government employees, possibly elected, whom you think are better suited to guard this information? Do you wish to prosecute the press, even though they are protected by arguably the most fundamental basis of our society, and not those who swear to protect the secrets of government, or both? If both, by the same justification?

that's ok, the editors of the NYT and LAT have already done so. they would NOT be offering daily justifications of their treasonous actions if they didn't realize they WERE treasonous.

Ok, I guess I can't blame Publicus for responding to irrational commenters now. Justrand, does it enter into your thinking that the editors of those newspapers might be worrying about their readers, advertisers and subscription rates, instead of legal ramifications? If what they did was treasonous, no amount of op-eds would abrogate their crimes.

So put down the damn bong and get as conerned with fighting and WINNING this war as the rest of us!

Ooh, I hope you win the war soon so we can have our Bill of Rights back. Is your basement clear of terrorists? Good work!

Mantis:To put the ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Mantis:

To put the record straight, I would gladly pull the switch on whoever leaked the information to the NYT. I have not called for the prosecution of the editors of the NYT, since as near as I can tell they have not broken any laws. However, I would like to see laws preventing their actions passed.

My point is that they were asked not to publish the information and did it anyway, for no appearant reason other than to stir the pot. I don't feel any more informed now than I did before, and if someone else does they need to get a life.

It appears that to the apponents of the Bush administration, every action taken is somehow a threat to the Constitution. It is the same tactic which is used by blacks, when some one dissagrees with them, he/she is a racist. Accuse someone of something, then let them waste time trying to disprove it.

mantis: "Ooh, I hope you... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

mantis: "Ooh, I hope you win the war soon so we can have our Bill of Rights back."

mantis, I just re-read the Bill of Rights. Nothing in there about the
- "right" to secretly transfer millions of dollars to terrorists.
- "right" to plan terrorist actions on our soil
- "rights" of terrorists caught without a uniform
- "right" to send/receive communications from enemy agents abroad under the nose of the government without fear of interception

The NYT, and you, are very concerned with these "rights" that somehow showed up in YOUR copies of the Bill of Rights. Try picking up and READING a new copy!!

I realize that it's still p... (Below threshold)
Rue-Mur:

I realize that it's still popular to think that everyone in this country is a Red-White-&-Blue "American"; but children it just isn't true. Not all the umpteen million illegal Mexicans and "others" who've crossed into this country in the past twenty years "believe" in the principles the USA was founded upon, most did not come here to be free, they came for the money. Nor do a, now, vast number of folks who were born, bred, and raised here believe in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. Their numbers have been growing every year for the past century. They believe in the Gospel of Marx; the anthem of Lennon ("Imagine"), and the utter beauty of one world government for all (be it under Kofi Annan or some other idiot). Recently they've been referred to as "an influential elite". Three truer words were never spoken; and what an understatement too. The "influential elite" control the MSM and Journalism Schools in this country. They control the faculties at every major University in this country and nearly every Divinity School as well. They control Hollywood (and Madison Ave.) and all the little moron "wanna-be's" who'll say and do anything to get a "part" and be a Star, or writer, or cameraman. They're christians but not Christian, they're jews but not Jewish, they're muslims but not Muslim. They're in control of Unions and give the impression they're doing the best they can against a "corrupt" system, instead of truly doing everything that can be done to benefit today's members and strengthen the country's industries for tomorrow's members. They're in control of today's teachers and each year America's children suffer more and more damage because of their control (never has so much money been given to so few teachers for so little teaching). While most unions are dying in the private sector, they're growing among government employees, and government services are getting more expensive and less efficient by the year. The "influential elite" have a number of other very "influential" organizations under their thumbs; three "Jumbo's" are: the NAACP, the Democratic National Committee, and the (surprise) ACLU. What is it about what I've said that most people don't believe? Most people don't believe that something this underhanded and diabolical could ever be perpetrated on the "American" people by other "Americans". And in a way that's true. But what we're dealing with are "americans" and NOT "Americans". Now do you understand? It's time to stop dreaming and believing in fairy tales, children. It's time to wake up and see that we're in the eye of a hurricane and the best years of our life, and those of our children as well, may be behind us. All of us! Did you ever think to yourself: "WWI and WWII happened because the world's leaders were just too stupid"? In a way they were, and so were the "people" of the day. Just like our leaders and we are today.

Rue-Mur:Your post ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Rue-Mur:

Your post would seem to indicate that the real threat to the Constitution is coming from those that scream the loudest about threats to their Constitutional rights. Kind of like, "me thinks he doth protest to much".

P.S.Or as we used ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

P.S.

Or as we used to say in the Corps, "The guy hollering the loudest about the smell in the barracks is usually the one who cut the fart".

Nice job, finally reducing ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Nice job, finally reducing the arguments down to fart jokes.

Next DavidB will be along to entertain the Wizbang regulars by lighting his with a match.

Hay "USMC Pilot"!Y... (Below threshold)
Rue-Mur:

Hay "USMC Pilot"!

Yhep! Kind'a sound like Chicken Little, don't I.

You sound like you're old enough, smart enough, and mean enough to do your own thinking; so you tell me, what the @#$% is going on? Sure the Cold War is over and the "pressure's off", OK. We're reverting to kind. OK. Pearl Harbor was "different", the Japs did something OBL didn't. Ah..OK, I don't have any idea what that was, but if you insist, I'll give you that point too. After Pearl the whole country pulled together, right? Well, not exactly. But OK to that too. Now, you tell me; what the @#$% is going on Fly Boy, you have a better view up there in the wild blue, so tell me what do you see?

Ru Mar I thought fly boys c... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

Ru Mar I thought fly boys comments were mean't to agree with you.Why do you attack.

USMC-PilotIf I rea... (Below threshold)
Rue-Mur:

USMC-Pilot

If I read you bass-ackwards, may a thousand Dodo Birds drop their lunch on my head.

Semper Fi!
(From a "Used-to-be")

Rue Mur:You read m... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Rue Mur:

You read me "bass-ackwards". I was in total agreement, and in fact found your post to be one of the best I have read in a long time. As far as what's going on, I believe that one side of the political spectrum doesn't see any real threat to their way of life, at least not enough of one to stop attaching the WH. Their belief seems to follow Clintons approach of leaving the bad guys alone, and maybe they won't do to much damage.

Since I was a helicopter pilot, my air is pretty much the same as yours.

Lee:

There's nothing wrong with a good fart joke every now and then. Lighten up a little.

The NYT, and you, are ve... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The NYT, and you, are very concerned with these "rights" that somehow showed up in YOUR copies of the Bill of Rights. Try picking up and READING a new copy!!

Ahem:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

Hey look, freedom of the press right there in the Bill of Rights. Thanks for the strawman, though, Justrand.

It appears that to the a... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It appears that to the apponents of the Bush administration, every action taken is somehow a threat to the Constitution.

In this case we are not talking about the actions of the Bush administration, which are not a threat to the Constitution. However the calls to prosecute or kill journalists based on their reporting are clearly from those ignorant or dismissive of the fundamental rights endowed by the Constitution. I'm not saying that you believe that, though you do say you would support laws restricting the press. Such laws would be unconstitutional, of course.

Congress shall make no l... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

Hey look, freedom of the press right there in the Bill of Rights. Thanks for the strawman, though, Justrand.

Freedom of the press is freedom from prior restraint --- not freedom from criminal penalties for actions.

Or do you prefer giving "special" rights to "journalists" that you lack?
-=Mike

Freedom of the press is ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Freedom of the press is freedom from prior restraint --- not freedom from criminal penalties for actions.

Don't you mean penalties for criminal actions? Which actions were criminal in this case?

Mantis: Just incas... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Mantis:

Just incase you look back to this thread. I said I was in favor or laws preventing the release of clasified information, not restricting the press of any rediculous opinion that they might have.

mantis,Hey loo... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

mantis,

    Hey look, freedom of the press right there in the Bill of Rights.

Um ... mantis, I think you (and apparently Bill Keller) may be a bit confused here. Note that the news media (newspapers) at the time of the Bill of Rights ratification was not referred to as "The Press".

So the phrase "freedom of the press" in the Bill of Rights does not actually refer to "The Press" as you're referring to it; as an institution. The "press" in the First Amendment refers to the Printing Press, the only means of mass-communication during the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

In other words, mantis, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and freedom in the use of media to widely disseminate speech. And it applies to everyone (individual or group), not just newspapers and journalists.

mantis...last add on "freed... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

mantis...last add on "freedom of the press"

NOTHING in the Bill of Rights give "the press" special protection from trafficing in, and printing our nation's secretes. NOTHING.

Of course, in this day & age, Benedict Arnold (D-NY) would simply obtain Press Credentials, and then the Left would embrace his right to betray our country.

Just incase you look bac... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Just incase you look back to this thread. I said I was in favor or laws preventing the release of clasified information, not restricting the press of any rediculous opinion that they might have.

Laws preventing the release, by government employees, of classified information already exist.

So the phrase "freedom of the press" in the Bill of Rights does not actually refer to "The Press" as you're referring to it; as an institution. The "press" in the First Amendment refers to the Printing Press, the only means of mass-communication during the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

I'm well aware of what the press meant at the time of the writing of the Constitution. It meant the printed word, a category in which newspapers certainly fall.

In other words, mantis, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and freedom in the use of media to widely disseminate speech. And it applies to everyone (individual or group), not just newspapers and journalists.

When did I say it only applied to newspapers, exactly? If you are pamphleteering out of your house I would say the same applies to you. However...

Note that the news media (newspapers) at the time of the Bill of Rights ratification was not referred to as "The Press".

No? Tell that to Benjamin Franklin, who published the Pennsylvania Gazette, subject to prosecution for libel or sedition against the crown until the colonies won their freedom from England. Tell it to John Peter Zenger, who was prosecuted for sedition and libel in 1734 for words printed in his New York Weekly Journal, a newspaper. He was acquitted in his case, argued by Alexander Hamilton, which is often credited as the inspiration for our enshrined freedom of the press.

If you're going to lecture me on American history, you should at least be familiar with it yourself.

NOTHING in the Bill of R... (Below threshold)
mantis:

NOTHING in the Bill of Rights give "the press" special protection from trafficing in, and printing our nation's secretes. NOTHING.

Except for the whole "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" part. In any case if you think these newspapers are not protected and are in fact guilty of a crime, why are they not being prosecuted?

Err ... mantis, your mind t... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Err ... mantis, your mind took a detour to understanding me.

I'm talking linguistics here. When the Bill of Rights was ratified the phrase "The Press" did not refer to newspapers like it does today. I'm hoping you do not think I'm so stupid that I do not know that newspapers existed well before the American Revolution.

I'm complaining about the constant use of the "Freedom of the Press" clause of the First Amendment as if the Constitution granted some sort of special dispensation to journalists.

As for whether or not what the New York Times did violated the law ... think about it this way. If I were to get a hold of the NOC list and then hand it to the North Korean or Iranian government, can I be prosecuted?

Yes.

What if I put it on a publicly accessible website?

Yes. Because it is classified information and there are laws against disseminating (in any way) classified information, which is not covered by the First Amendment. As Justice Jackson said, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

And if you accept that the New York Times has no more free speech rights than I do, then you have to also accept that when they publish classified information, the First Amendment doesn't cover them any more than it covers me. And they've put themselves in serious legal jeopardy.

Cool?

PS: Not being prosecuted is not exactly proof-positive that one did not commit a crime.

I'm talking linguistics ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I'm talking linguistics here.

Well, semantics anyway.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified the phrase "The Press" did not refer to newspapers like it does today.

Your not really explaining this well. First you claim that, "the news media (newspapers) at the time of the Bill of Rights ratification was not referred to as "The Press"," now you claim it did not refer to newspapers "like it does today". So which is it? Were newspapers part of "the press" or weren't they?

I'm hoping you do not think I'm so stupid that I do not know that newspapers existed well before the American Revolution.

Well, I'm hoping you're not that stupid. Apparently not.

I'm complaining about the constant use of the "Freedom of the Press" clause of the First Amendment as if the Constitution granted some sort of special dispensation to journalists.

Well I'm not claiming that. I'm merely claiming that our freedom of the press exists.

As for whether or not what the New York Times did violated the law ... think about it this way. If I were to get a hold of the NOC list and then hand it to the North Korean or Iranian government, can I be prosecuted?

That would be a violation of the Espionage Act, which states

with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury or the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicated, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to, or aids, or induces another to, communicate, deliver or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country

Good luck proving the NYTimes did that.

What if I put it on a publicly accessible website?

Yes. Because it is classified information and there are laws against disseminating (in any way) classified information, which is not covered by the First Amendment. As Justice Jackson said, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Well, websites are a bit tricky legally right now, but as far as publishing this information, the prosecution would have to show that it would cause a "grave and irreparable danger" (See New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713).

And if you accept that the New York Times has no more free speech rights than I do, then you have to also accept that when they publish classified information, the First Amendment doesn't cover them any more than it covers me. And they've put themselves in serious legal jeopardy.

Well, if your analogy were apt, maybe, but it's not.

PS: Not being prosecuted is not exactly proof-positive that one did not commit a crime.

I didn't say it was. I asked why they weren't being prosecuted if the publishing of this information was illegal.

It is clearly illegal to "b... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

It is clearly illegal to "broadcast classified material".

Guess who broadcast it?

Hint: The NY Times.

Repeatedly, mind you.
-=Mike

It is clearly illegal to... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It is clearly illegal to "broadcast classified material".

You use quotes as if you are quoting the code or something. Care to tell me where that particular law is located? I can't seem to find it here. Couldn't be because you made it up, could it?

Well, semantics anyway.... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:
    Well, semantics anyway.

It's all greek to me.

    First you claim that, "the news media (newspapers) at the time of the Bill of Rights ratification was not referred to as "The Press"," now you claim it did not refer to newspapers "like it does today". So which is it? Were newspapers part of "the press" or weren't they?

Okay, I guess I must have confused you. So, one more time; "the Press" in the First Amendment refers to the printing press - the use of the printing press. An activity. The First Amendment's "freedom of the Press" clause guarantees the right of American citizens to disseminate speech.

    I'm merely claiming that our freedom of the press exists.

Your turn. Define "Press".

Anyways, I see that the practical effect of your contentions here is that owning a newspaper basically provides any American citizen immunity from any punishment for disclosing classified information so long as he/she publishes it in a newspaper.

So long as the editor/publisher maintains that he/she that his/her actions were not done "with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury or the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation," he/she is protected by the First Amendment.

What the heck was FDR thinking threatening the Chicago Tribune? After all, the Japanese already knew that the Americans were listening in on their communications - what possible harm could come of telling the world that the US had cracked their encryption code?

Well, semantics anyway.... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:
    Well, semantics anyway.

It's all greek to me.

    First you claim that, "the news media (newspapers) at the time of the Bill of Rights ratification was not referred to as "The Press"," now you claim it did not refer to newspapers "like it does today". So which is it? Were newspapers part of "the press" or weren't they?

Okay, I guess I must have confused you. So, one more time; "the Press" in the First Amendment refers to the printing press - the use of the printing press. An activity. The First Amendment's "freedom of the Press" clause guarantees the right of American citizens to disseminate speech.

    I'm merely claiming that our freedom of the press exists.

Your turn. Define "Press".

Anyways, I see that the practical effect of your contentions here is that owning a newspaper basically provides any American citizen immunity from any punishment for disclosing classified information so long as he/she publishes it in a newspaper.

So long as the editor/publisher maintains that he/she that his/her actions were not done "with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury or the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation," he/she is protected by the First Amendment.

What the heck was FDR thinking threatening the Chicago Tribune? After all, the Japanese already knew that the Americans were listening in on their communications - what possible harm could come of telling the world that the US had cracked their encryption code?

Oh, I see, they were referr... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Oh, I see, they were referring to a machine in the First Amendment and not news institutions, or more broadly, the printed word. Well, let's check and see if you are right.

First let us visit that wonderful tool, the Online Etymology Dictionary:

press (n.) -
"crowd, multitude," c.1225, from O.Fr. presse (11c.), from L. pressare (see press (v.1)). Sense of "to urge, compel, force" (now mostly in adj. pressing, 1705) is recorded from 1390. Basketball defense so called from 1961. Meaning "machine for squeezing" (e.g. winepress) is recorded from 1362, from M.Fr. presse. Specific sense "machine for printing" is from 1535; extended to publishing houses by 1579 and to publishing generally (in phrases like freedom of the press) c.1680. This gradually shifted c.1800-1820 to "periodical publishing, journalism." Meaning "journalists collectively" is attested from 1926. Press agent is from 1883; press conference is attested from 1937, though the thing itself dates to at least World War I. Press secretary is recorded from 1959.

So it seems that while "the press" did not refer exclusively to journalistic institutions before 1800, it did refer to "publishing generally" from 1680 or so. Seems much closer to my definition of "the printed word". But let's look at how they actually used it. Refer to Hamilton in Federalist 84

I know not by what logic it could be maintained that the declarations in the state constitutions, in favour of the freedom of the press, would be a constitutional impediment to the imposition of duties upon publications by the state legislatures. It cannot certainly be pretended that any degree of duties, however low, would be an abrigement of the liberty of the press. We know that newspapers are taxed in Great-Britain, and yet it is notorious that the press no where enjoys greater liberty than in that country.

Well, we've got publications and newspapers, but strangely no mention of the "use of a printing press" from Hamilton. In any case why would "the use of a printing press" require liberty? Liberty is reserved for people, groups, and institutions, not machine processes.

You use quotes as if you... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

You use quotes as if you are quoting the code or something. Care to tell me where that particular law is located? I can't seem to find it here. Couldn't be because you made it up, could it?

Check out (d). Clearly fits.

Well, we've got publications and newspapers, but strangely no mention of the "use of a printing press" from Hamilton. In any case why would "the use of a printing press" require liberty? Liberty is reserved for people, groups, and institutions, not machine processes.

Equality before the law is of importance --- a self-professed "journalist" has no more protections than I have.
-=Mike

I see you're determined to ... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

I see you're determined to misconstrue me ...

    So, one more time; "the Press" in the First Amendment refers to the printing press - the use of the printing press. An activity.

Was the above so hard for you to comprehend?

Given that the printing press was the most efficient way of mass communication i.e. disseminating speech, at the time, it is obvious that the "freedom of the Press" protects the methods by which speech is transmitted, whether written or spoken.

Are you following me here or do you need diagrams?

Anyways, I note that in your excerpt of Hamilton's writings it is rather ambiguous whether or not he is referring to the news media when he says "Press".

But, I've got a quote for you as well: this is the speech given by James Madison (primary author of the Bill of Rights as well as the Constitution itself, I believe) with regard to the First Amendment and the Alien & Sedition Act.

    In the United States the executive magistrates are not held to be infallible, nor the Legislatures to be omnipotent; and both being elective, are both responsible. Is it not natural and necessary, under such different circumstances, that a different degree of freedom in the use of the press should be contemplated?

    Is not such an inference favoured by what is observable in Great Britain itself? Notwithstanding the general doctrine of the common law on the subject of the press, and the occasional punishment of those who use it with a freedom offensive to the Government, it is well known that with respect to the responsible members of the Government, where the reasons operating here become applicable there, the freedom exercised by the press and protected by public opinion far exceeds the limits prescribed by the ordinary rules of law.

And in case you didn't notice, the First Amendment protects activities. Speech, exercising religion, peacably assembling and petitioning the Government for redress are all activities. The use of the press, i.e. broadcasting speech, is an activity.

Whine, moan and groan all you want, the First Amendment grants news institutions no more rights to free speech, written, spoken, broadcast than anybody else.

I see you're determined ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I see you're determined to misconstrue me ...

Just to correct you.

Was the above so hard for you to comprehend?

I comprehend it fine. It just happens to be wrong.

Given that the printing press was the most efficient way of mass communication i.e. disseminating speech, at the time, it is obvious that the "freedom of the Press" protects the methods by which speech is transmitted, whether written or spoken.

Wrong. The press is distinct from speech; that's why both freedoms are guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. The press refers to the written word (i.e newspapers, pamphlets, books, etc).

Are you following me here or do you need diagrams?

Yes, draw me an ASCII diagram please.

Anyways, I note that in your excerpt of Hamilton's writings it is rather ambiguous whether or not he is referring to the news media when he says "Press".

It's only ambiguous if you are deliberately misreading it. Here it is again:

We know that newspapers are taxed in Great-Britain, and yet it is notorious that the press no where enjoys greater liberty than in that country.

Ambiguous? I think not.

But, I've got a quote for you as well: this is the speech given by James Madison (primary author of the Bill of Rights as well as the Constitution itself, I believe) with regard to the First Amendment and the Alien & Sedition Act.

Well, let's look at some other parts of that speech:

The freedom of the press under the common law is, in the defences of the Sedition Act, made to consist in an exemption from all previous restraint on printed publications by persons authorized to inspect and prohibit them. It appears to the committee that this idea of the freedom of the press can never be admitted to be the American idea of it; since a law inflicting penalties on printed publications would have a similar effect with a law authorizing a previous restraint on them. It would seem a mockery to say that no laws should be passed preventing publications from being made, but that laws might be passed for punishing them in case they should be made.

Ah, printed publications. Sounds like a definition to me. But he's referring to an activity, right? Here's another one that makes it very obvious:

The state of the press, therefore, under the common law, cannot, in this point of view, be the standard of its freedom in the United States.

The state of the press. Could he be talking about an activity here? Would "the state of printing" make any sense, or would it make much more sense if he was referring to the state of the press as an institution?

But let's continue anyway:

And it will not be a breach either of truth or of candour to say, that no persons or presses are in the habit of more unrestrained animadversions on the proceedings and functionaries of the State governments than the persons and presses most zealous in vindicating the act of Congress for punishing similar animadversions on the Government of the United States.

How can an activity have habits? How can an activity be zealous?

Ok, there's plenty more, and you can look through all the writings and speeches of the founders and find the same is true. Let's recap. First you claim the phrase "the press" was not used in reference to newspapers and the like at the time the Constitution was written. I have pointed you to etymological evidence that it was. You of course ignore that and continue your assertion that the phrase refers to a machine activity and not the product of that activity or the institutions which disseminate that product. Your only evidence so far to support that point is a quote from Madison you selected because it almost seems to support your point, however a thorough reading of Madison's remarks makes it clear what he thinks "the press" is. My definition of "the printed word" and more expansively the institutions which disseminate that printed word jives just fine with Madison's words. The printed word can be "used" with a "freedom offensive to the Government". In fact I believe that is the problem many have with the NYTimes; it offends the government. I like having a press that can do that. I don't necessarily trust newspapers, but I trust the government even less (please note that I am talking about the government, not our current President. I didn't trust the government under Clinton, and I won't trust it under the next president either).




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