Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Friday, June 30, 2006

New York Times - Wrongfully Wrapped in the First Amendment

I have read the Wall Street Journal for my whole adult life, or since I began college at the ripe age of 17. That was a very long time ago. The WSJ, has always provided me with business information, news and opinion in an objective, honest manner. Many papers have changed over the years but the WSJ has been a constant daily force in my life. Why? I trust it.
The Wall Street Journal may be conservative newsprint to some, it is a free market, capitalist media outlet. They don't always agree with either side of the political spectrum and they print it. By doing so they demonstrate their objectivity over a broad spectrum with a conservative constant. You will find commentary and opinion from the far left many times.
Today the WSJ has used it's Review and Outlook page (editorial) to explain the New York Times decision to print the SWIFT program of tracking financial aspects of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. They also explain how the WSJ printed similar news. The difference is striking and one media giant exposes another for what it is. Anti-Bush, anti-Conservative, pro-left with an agenda beyond reporting news accurately.
The New York Times and editor Bill Keller has wrapped it's defense of exposing a classified, terrorist fighting operation in the first amendment. It has also attempted to align itself with the Wall Street Journal for printing similar news. Here is what the WSJ has to say. (Paraphrased and Outlined)
'Not everything is fit to print. There is to be regard for at least probable factual accuracy, for danger to innocent lives, for human decencies, and even, if cautiously, for nonpartisan considerations of the national interest."
xxx We should make clear that the News and Editorial sections of the Journal are separate, with different editors. The Journal story on Treasury's antiterror methods was a product of the News department, and these columns had no say in the decision to publish. We have reported the story ourselves, however, and the facts are that the Times's decision was notably different from the Journal's.
  • Tony Fratto, Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, he first contacted the Times some two months ago. Mr. Fratto went on to ask the Times not to publish such a story on grounds that it would damage this useful terror-tracking method.
  • Secretary John Snow invited Times Executive Editor Bill Keller to his Treasury office to deliver the same message. Later still, Mr. Fratto says, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the leaders of the 9/11 Commission, made the same request of Mr. Keller. Democratic Congressman John Murtha and Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte also urged the newspaper not to publish the story.
  • Mr. Fratto says he believed "they had about 80% of the story, but they had about 30% of it wrong."
  • Would the Journal have published the story had we discovered it as the Times did, and had the Administration asked us not to? Speaking for the editorial columns, our answer is probably not. Mr. Keller's argument that the terrorists surely knew about the Swift monitoring is his own leap of faith. The terror financiers might have known the U.S. could track money from the U.S., but they might not have known the U.S. could follow the money from, say, Saudi Arabia. The first thing an al Qaeda financier would have done when the story broke is check if his bank was part of Swift.
  • Just as dubious is the defense in a Times editorial this week that "The Swift story bears no resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific individuals." In this asymmetric war against terrorists, intelligence and financial tracking are the equivalent of troop movements. They are America's main weapons.

I am a principled individual and I gravitate to the WSJ for news because I believe it to be principled as well. On the other hand, the New York Times consistently leads the way in agenda based news and they have a propensity to "leak" classified information that would, in fact, aid and abet terrorist organization. Not only does the New York Time lack principle, they lack courage.

The Wall Street Journal continues:

We suspect that the Times has tried to use the Journal as its political heatshield precisely because it knows our editors have more credibility on these matters. As Alexander Bickel wrote, the relationship between government and the press in the free society is an inevitable and essential contest. The government needs a certain amount of secrecy to function, especially on national security, and the press in its watchdog role tries to discover what it can. The government can't expect total secrecy, Bickel writes, "but the game similarly calls on the press to consider the responsibilities that its position implies. Not everything is fit to print." The obligation of the press is to take the government seriously when it makes a request not to publish. Is the motive mainly political? How important are the national security concerns? And how do those concerns balance against the public's right to know?

The problem with the Times is that millions of Americans no longer believe that its editors would make those calculations in anything close to good faith. We certainly don't. On issue after issue, it has become clear that the Times believes the U.S. is not really at war, and in any case the Bush Administration lacks the legitimacy to wage it. So, for example, it promulgates a double standard on "leaks," deploring them in the case of Valerie Plame and demanding a special counsel when the leaker was presumably someone in the White House and the journalist a conservative columnist. But then it hails as heroic and public-spirited the leak to the Times itself that revealed the National Security Agency's al Qaeda wiretaps. Perhaps Mr. Keller has been listening to his boss, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who in a recent commencement address apologized to the graduates because his generation "had seen the horrors and futility of war and smelled the stench of corruption in government. "Our children, we vowed, would never know that. So, well, sorry. It wasn't supposed to be this way," the publisher continued. "You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights," and so on. Forgive us if we conclude that a newspaper led by someone who speaks this way to college seniors has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it.
These words demonstrate the agenda ridden Times for it's hypocrisy and aim to destroy the Bush administration even with it's own lack of credibility. Bill Keller is treasonous and will get off the hook because of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment. In the end, Mr. Keller and the New York Times are incompetent and dangerous. Keller attached himself to the Wall Street Journal because they have the credibility he and his newspaper lack.

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