Friday, January 13

NYTimes defines hypocrisy

Last December--was it just one day after a former dictatorship called Iraq had hugely successful elections?--the NYT told the world that our NSA had a top-secret program that monitored specific cell phone conversations between U.S. numbers and foreign numbers suspected of belonging to terrorists.

The article noted that the government had asked the Times not to publish because doing so would damage national security, and indeed the Times sat on the story for a year. But eventually, seeing as how the Times has a better sense of the Big Picture than anyone in the intel biz, the paper decided to publish the story.

Two weeks later the paper's "public editor," Byron Calame, wrote an editorial noting that he'd been looking into this question. In fact he'd emailed the paper's executive editor (Bill Keller) a list of 28 questions related to this question.

Keller "declined to respond to them."

Calame then emailed the same questions to the paper's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger. (Can you guess the result?)

Sulzberger also declined to respond.

So let's see if I've got this: It's fine for the top management of the Times to keep their secrets away from prying eyes, but the same Times managers can--by exercising their implicitly superior judgment--decide to reveal secret programs of the U.S. government, even though the government has said such revelation will damage national security.

Hey Pinch, can you spell "hypocrite?"


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