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New York Times Hypocrisy On Display Again

Yesterday The New York Times disclosed that one of its reporter's, David Rhode, had escaped from his Taliban captors after having been held for seven months. If you're scratching your head wondering if you've heard this story before you are not alone. The Times went to extraordinary lengths to keep this information from the public for the purposes of protecting the life of their employee.

Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said this to Howard Kurtz:

"We agonized over [the decision to suppress the news] at the outset and, periodically, over the last seven months," Executive Editor Bill Keller said yesterday. "Of all the subjects we discussed with the family, that was the one we discussed more intensively than any other: Should we change strategy and go public?"

Keller decided against it, and he was aided by silence from at least 40 major news organizations -- including, after a personal appeal, al-Jazeera -- that continued until yesterday, when the Times confirmed that Rohde and an assistant had escaped their Taliban captors in Pakistan. Keller consulted not only government experts but also other news organizations that had been through similar experiences, and there was "a pretty firm consensus," he said, "that you really amp up the danger when you go public. . . . It makes us cringe to sit on a news story," but in a life-or-death situation, "the freedom to publish includes the freedom not to publish."

For the record, it is a good thing that Mr. Rhode is safe and alive. The Times did the right thing by placing the safety and well being of its employee first given the Taliban's history of torturing and murdering captives. However, the Times' conduct in this matter raises the obvious point as to why the newspaper affords such discretion for its own reporters while defending its loathsome record of disclosing United States national security secrets and placing U S citizens and their military at greater risk.

There exists not a clearer example of the double standard by which this newspaper operates. They will decide what is best for their own and what is best for the rest of us. In that respect, the next time national security secrets are exposed by the New York Times perhaps someone will pursue the charge of treason.


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Comments (39)

Good for the New York Times... (Below threshold)

Good for the New York Times for thinking so carefully about the ramifications of going publicly about this mans capture. What a crying shame they chose politics and George W. Bush hatred over the safety of 300 million other people.

Hmmm...they didn't cringe a... (Below threshold)

Hmmm...they didn't cringe at burying the story about allegations of illegal campaign coordination between Obama and ACORN last year.

And funny how the freedom not to publish never once cropped up when it came to national security.

Funny morals those liberals have.

geez, HughS, you could safe... (Below threshold)

geez, HughS, you could safely run this EVERY day:
New York Times Hypocrisy On Display Again

The NY Times and the rest of the "MSM" have taken a body blow this weekend...and they were already on the ropes!

ALL of the major news "sources" have been shut out of Iran, and only the PEOPLE with their Twitters and cell-phones are providing information.

The "MSM" stopped being "reporters" long ago...they're merely aggregators!

But...but...didn't "the peo... (Below threshold)

But...but...didn't "the people have a right to know!"? That's always been the story line when they published national security leaks in the past. Didn't we have a right to know about this story? I would have been interested in it, including quotes the usual unnamed senior national security sources, with the obligatory comments from the often quoted Mr. Somesay and Mr. Criticsay.

I stopped being interested in anything the New York Times has to say a long time ago. The Times is only one layer higher in the Great Septic Tank of Journalism than the Manchester Guardian. I remember reading a story that Drudge posted a week or two ago from Pravda, for goodness' sake, about the looming decline of the United States. That story actually had more credibility than most of the slanted political pap published in the Times.

Funny thing is, I honestly don't believe they can see how transparently biased they are. I think they feel like what they're doing is "Journalism". I have a friend who is married to a respected journalism ethics professor at a major university. She and her husband once owned a small eastern local paper. But you should see her defend the Times. There is just no point in trying to discuss it with her. She just doesn't see it. If only they could see things with our eyes, they'd hide in shame.

It makes the Times "...crin... (Below threshold)

It makes the Times "...cringe to sit on a story..." OH PLEASE!!

"Hypocrisy"? Show me it. Yo... (Below threshold)

"Hypocrisy"? Show me it. You give no examples, but I'm assuming you are referring to the Judith Miller debacle, etc. That's apples and oranges and implies no hypocrisy. There may have been bad judgment in this cases, but this was not about national security, it was about protecting the LIVES of these journalists.

40+ media outlets (MSM and not) agreed to sit on it -- without, btw, enormous pressure from the Times -- they simply asked.

Bill Keller's quote:

"...the prevailing view among David's family, experts in kidnapping cases, officials of several governments and others we consulted was that going public could increase the danger to David and the other hostages. The kidnappers initially said as much. We decided to respect that advice, as we have in other kidnapping cases, and a number of other news organizations that learned of David's plight have done the same. We are enormously grateful for their support."

So you would have done differently?

"There may have been bad ju... (Below threshold)

"There may have been bad judgment in this cases, but this was not about national security, it was about protecting the LIVES of these journalists."

I'll keep it SIMPLE so that you can understand. The NYT printed a story about a method of tracking money being used by terrorist groups. Money used TO KILL PEOPLE. You know, LIVES. The NYT didn't appear to be worried about those people. Or is it that because those people didn't have a FACE, that it was okay to go with the story. Screaming that it violated international law.....only later to whimper.....'ooops, our bad, it is legal'. The NYT, different standards for 'different' people.

#6 Try reading the post bef... (Below threshold)

#6 Try reading the post before commenting.

I couldn't agree more. The... (Below threshold)

I couldn't agree more. The fact that Kurtz just sat there and never bothered to contrast the situations or challenge Keller tells me everything we need to know.

Not to mention the fact tha... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Not to mention the fact that terrorists grew gills after reading the NYT article on waterboarding.

Geeze Adrian.. WHAT A PUTZ!... (Below threshold)

Geeze Adrian.. WHAT A PUTZ!.. *laughing*

And speaking of hypocrisy, ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

And speaking of hypocrisy, have you heard about Senator Ensign?


What a tangled web . . .

I must say I'm just a little, teeny-tiny bit perplexed over the lack of outrage.

Dagnabbit -It's re... (Below threshold)

Dagnabbit -

It's really very simple. When it comes to protecting their own, the Times would do anything necessary.

When it came to protecting the country by keeping classified information classified - they couldn't publish the information fast enough.

Of course, by doing so they also hurt a Republican administration headed by Bush, and arguably put the lives of soldiers at risk - but THOSE hazards were very secondary to the 'public's right to know'. (And the first would have been seen as a plus, not a minus.)

The hazard to one of their journalists - just one - was enough to get them to silence themselves.

So try looking at it this way - to the NYTimes, the life of one journalist is far more important than making sure the country was kept safe. Kind of makes you wonder about their priorities, doesn't it?

"I must say I'm just a l... (Below threshold)

"I must say I'm just a little, teeny-tiny bit perplexed over the lack of outrage."

That's okay, Adrian. You've got enough outrage (as well being stupidly perplexed) for everyone on this board, and I'll gladly let you keep my share.

I'm not one of his constituents - but it seems to me he's standing up and admitting he screwed up. He's losing considerable standing because of it, being moved off the Republican Policy Committe. He may end up resigning.

How many Democrats have done so, in the same position? How many Democrats have even come close to taking the same hit for the same problem?

So he did it, he's taking responsibility, and he's taking his lumps - why should I be outraged?

"Judith Miller?" S... (Below threshold)

"Judith Miller?"

Sorry, I was thinking of the time the Times published a photo (and tail number) of a CIA plane used to transport captured terrorists.

Or the time they identified the most successful terrorist interrogator by name and home town.

In addition to the money-tracing program cited above...


They could not figure out a... (Below threshold)

They could not figure out a way to make George Bush look bad when the Slimes reporter was kidnapped so they kept it under wraps. As we all know if it made Bush look stupid or any other way to denigrate him it was front page stuff.

15:"How many Democ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:


"How many Democrats have done so, in the same position? How many Democrats have even come close to taking the same hit for the same problem?"

Zero. But then again Democrats don't care about politicians' personal purity nearly as much as Republicans (used to?) so I don't know if there is any analogy.

So all he has to do is admit it and then he can continue to represent Republican voters?

"...but I'm assuming...<... (Below threshold)

"...but I'm assuming...

And therein lies the rub. You made a faulty assumption which makes the rest of your comment pointless.

You know, kinda like Adrian's comments he finds so amusing.

Zero. But then ag... (Below threshold)

Zero. But then again Democrats don't care about politicians' personal purity

robert byrd did

Adrian:Give me a b... (Below threshold)


Give me a break! Nobody is giving Senator Ensign a pass here. But why do you like to point out the hypocrisy of one side and not the other? The NYT is certainly not admitting that they aren't exercising the same discretion for all their stories so by that standard you should not be reading their newspaper anymore because they have been exposed. You certainly love to discredit, mock and ridicule all Republicans for not practicing what they preach. So why the obvious double standard?

What I find truly amazing though is that people like yourself feel that Democrats can be as slimy, corrupt and immoral as they want as long as they are not criticizing anybody else for such failings of character. There are plenty of people who do live by the examples they set - more than those who do not so I am not going to lose sleep over those who come up short. I know the MSM will adequately punish those Republicans who do get themselves caught up in that kind of stupidity so there is hardly anything more that someone with so little influence as myself can add to the situation.

Asshole Brown said"B... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Asshole Brown said
"But then again Democrats don't care about politicians' personal purity"

Well you can say that again.

Lets see

Cold money Jefferson
Charlie Rangel Tax problems
Daschle Tax problems
Geithner Tax problems
Dodd morgage problems.

The dems see absolutely nothing wrong with any of this. In fact it seems that not being peronsally pure is a requirement for being a democratic politician.

22,Everyone already ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Everyone already knows that all Democrats are moral and ethical degenerates! I'm just surprised that Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon.

Do Republicans care about their own elected leaders' personal purity or is that a dead issue? Perhaps it's just a new standard being set -- some things "okay" some things "not okay." Just wondering.

"But then again Democrats ... (Below threshold)

"But then again Democrats don't care about politicians' personal purity"...
18. Posted by Adrian Browne | June 21, 2009 1:26 PM |

Guess that explains why your OK with Al Franken.

"So all he has to do is ... (Below threshold)

"So all he has to do is admit it and then he can continue to represent Republican voters?"

As I said - he doesn't represent me, and I don't even particularly care. If he lied to Congress, I'd be somewhat irked. If he ripped off a whole lot of people, or made off with a lot of taxpayer money, I'd be pretty ticked. But dipping his wick?

Dude, I'd be rather chagrined if you knew of some of the fantasies I had about being President. (Not that I'd ever run for office or anything - but it's pretty apparent that for some women power is a potent aphrodesiac.)

I think your problem is you've got this vision of Republicans that doesn't square with reality. Should we break out tar and feathers? Tattoo a big red "A" on their forehead? Or would simple castration be good enough for you?

Why aren't I angry about what he's done? Because I'm not. You've cornered the market on outrage, both real and faux - so you didn't leave any for anyone else.

adrian is a fool. He hija... (Below threshold)

adrian is a fool. He hijacked the thread. Ignor him because he's a clown. Just keep addressing the issue that was posted.

Back on track - --... (Below threshold)

Back on track -


A Matter Of Professional Courtesy - Winds of Change.NET

... And it is the simple fact that we are increasingly living in a society that plays by Ottoman rules; meaning that what the rules are depend - of course - on who you are. That's not something we will survive for long, and simply put, it needs to be exposed and stamped out anywhere we see it.

So I'm glad that the NY Times and journalists could sit on an exciting story to help save one of their own. In the future, will they do this to save some random civilian, or some US soldier?


(Space between the dashes blockquoted, if it doesn't go right...)

"In the future, will they do this to save some random civilian, or some US soldier?"

I'm thinking the urge to shove out a story would override their 'ethics'. So - no, they wouldn't. They'd immediately publicize the name, the hometown, put the picture up, and give us relevant heartwrenching details of their lives, all in the name of 'our right to know'. And they'll give a very puzzled stare if anyone mentions that just maybe they've hurt the chances for survival of that person, because they don't MEAN to do anything like that...

But a journalist? They'd clam up like folks working on the Manhattan Project in 1944.

I guess that's a good term - Ottoman rules. The rules depend on who you are, and certainly don't apply to some poor random asshole who gets kidnapped.

The NYT has proven repeated... (Below threshold)

The NYT has proven repeatedly that it is an agenda driven mouthpiece of the Democrat party. The evidence is overwhelming.

The NEW YORK SLIMES is furt... (Below threshold)

The NEW YORK SLIMES is further losing readers i mean they used to sell this rag in vending macine at our local store but quit after their big antigun lie

Mr.Browne, You're ve... (Below threshold)

You're very good at moving the goal posts.

Internet killed the newspap... (Below threshold)

Internet killed the newspaper czar.

You guys are working from a... (Below threshold)
Jim x:

You guys are working from an assumption that is not factually grounded to begin with.

The NY Times reporting of material **has not** previously endangered lives. Sorry, but that's how it is.

This hypothetically possible endangerment was thrown out as an excuse, so that the Bush administration would not have to deal with the public knowing how the Bush administration was breaking the law.

It really is that simple.

The more we find out about the Bush Administrations's illegal transport and treatment of people who are ****innocent and harmless**** - the Uighurs, for example - the less this transparent excuse holds water.

In this context, the hypocrisy you are alleging does not exist. The NY Times has not endangered one single US citizen's life or US soldier's life with the reporting you mention.

Prove me wrong, and show me one civilian or US soldier who has actually been harmed by the NY Times' previous reporting.

There is plenty to fault the Times for, as there is with any large organization, without having to result in misinterpration of facts on your end.

What the hell are You talki... (Below threshold)

What the hell are You talking about Jim x??

What laws did Bush break?

It does not endanger American lives to let jo blo terrorists know how and where their murderers in arms are being transported and how??

You are nuts.;.

Mr.Browne, Since you... (Below threshold)

Since you seem to be treating the question of
ethics/morals being bad as normal, it makes one
wonder about the state of yours.

Another day another Republi... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Another day another Republican scandal. I'm referring, of course, to Gov. Sanford.

This one isn't even offering an excuse. Anybody care?

Why is it that the people w... (Below threshold)

Why is it that the people who are always trying to question why you're not talking about "this" or "that" are the ones who don't have a blog? Just sayin'....

"Why is it that the peop... (Below threshold)

"Why is it that the people who are always trying to question why you're not talking about "this" or "that" are the ones who don't have a blog? Just sayin'...."

Because they're afraid to find out just how unappealing their thoughts are when put down as main blog entries. Constant hate won't draw people long-term - just look at how 'successful' Air America has been.

No, they'd rather go on other people's blogs, throw turds and try to derail the comments - that way they get attention while the other way they won't.

Plus, it takes a LITTLE bit of effort to be creative on a blog. It's not hard to set one up - it doesn't COST anything to set one up - but they're reluctant to put forth the effort. It's much easier to be an ass elsewhere.

Mr.Browne, Your mov... (Below threshold)

Your moving the goal posts off of the topic
of this thread gains you nothing. Not even
the glimmer of being funny.
I'll be off topic, briefly, how large of a
shovel would you like?

Yes, it did not hurt Americ... (Below threshold)
Jim x:

Yes, it did not hurt America for "jo blo terrorists know how and where their murderers were being transported."

This is because they weren't necessarily even terrorists. Go look up the Uighurs in wikipedia.

Nor have terrorists shown themselves to be particularly interested in where the US keeps its prisoners. They know a bunch are in GITMO. Has GITMO been attacked? No. Well then, there's your answer.

As for what laws Bush has broken, for now let's concentrate on violating standing agreements of international law, by allowing the CIA to have secret prisons in other countries. Which is why other countries shut down CIA secret prisons when the public found out about them.

Just giving you the facts.

The one good use for the NE... (Below threshold)

The one good use for the NEW YORK TIMES is linning a birds cage with it






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