Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, June 26, 2006

Three Parts Hatred, One Part Ignorance

Here's a question worth pondering:
Why do they hate us?
Not the Islamofascists; not the anti-globalization zealots. No; why do the New York Times and its sisters at the top of the American media heap hate us? John Barrone addresses the question today on Real Clear Politics, in light of Friday's NYT article revealing banking surveillance against the financers of terror, and today's letter from exec editor Bill Keller explaining (sort of) why NYT ran with the story.
Why do they hate us? Why does the Times print stories that put America more at risk of attack? They say that these surveillance programs are subject to abuse, but give no reason to believe that this concern is anything but theoretical. We have a press that is at war with an administration, while our country is at war against merciless enemies. The Times is acting like an adolescent kicking the shins of its parents, hoping to make them hurt while confident of remaining safe under their roof. But how safe will we remain when our protection depends on the Times?
Having read Keller's letter, which first treats us as elementary school students, then as fools, I see that NYT's leadership (1) saw the risk in running the story, (2) understood that the program was legal and (3) realized it was beneficial in protecting America. They also didn't seem to think running the story would make much difference, since bankers were subpoenaed for the info anyway.

So they're explaining their actions with three parts of Bush hatred and one part ignorance of the real world. Had Keller and his cohorts ever had any experience outside elite colleges and elite newsrooms -- say, they had been a soldier, or even a businessman -- he would never have written this:
Our default position — our job — is to publish information if we are convinced it is fair and accurate, and our biggest failures have generally been when we failed to dig deep enough or to report fully enough.
Missing are the questions that drive the soldier: Does it support the mission? Does it make me safer? Missing is the question that drives the rest of the enlightened world: Does it do good?

Neither appear to be important to the executive editor of the New York Times.

Christo "art" from Gallery Brown
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