Monday, July 03, 2006

Ink by the Barrel?

Or somethings along those lines. Anyway, it looks like the Bushies picked the wrong target (the whole press) to go after.

Some highlights from the response...

Keller on Face the Nation:
"I don't think the threshold test of whether you write about how the government is waging the war on terror is whether they've done something that's blatantly illegal or outrageous," Keller said. "I think you probably would like to know what they're doing that's successful as well."

Also, some great comments from the board on Meet the Press...

MR. SAFIRE: Let me respond to what Bill, to the point he’s making, that who elected the media to determine what should be secret and what should not?

MS. MITCHELL: Which is the fundamental point.

MR. SAFIRE: Right. And the answer to that is, the founding fathers did. They came up with this Bill of Rights beyond which the constitutional convention would not move unless there were a First Amendment to challenge the government...


MR. SAFIRE: ...just as the American founding fathers challenged the British government. Now it’s not treasonable, it’s not even wrong for the press to say we’re going to find out what we can and we’ll act as a check and balance on the government. Sometimes we’ll make mistakes. Sometimes the government will mistake.

MR. BENNETT: We need to get after those people, and one way to get after those people is to talk to the reporters who—with whom they spoke.

MR. SAFIRE: Oh, you’re saying “get after them.” That means threatening reporters, and threaten them with contempt and put them in jail.

MR. BENNETT: Absolutely, absolutely.

MR. SAFIRE: And that’s wrong.

MR. BENNETT: Why is that wrong, Bill? Why are they above the law?

MR. SAFIRE: Because they’re affected...

MR. HARWOOD: Because it’s a big step toward tyranny, which is what we’re supposed to be withholding.

MS. MITCHELL: Bill—Bill Safire, let me ask you a question about The New York Times. There are a lot of people who believe The New York Times, in doing this latest story, is motivated by an anti-Bush animus. Is The New York Times making a decision that is political rather than editorial?

MR. SAFIRE: The New York Times, like The Wall Street Journal, has a wall of separation between its editorial voice and its front page and its news coverage. And that’s always been the case. Now, does it always stay exactly the same? When you drive right down that road, is it always right? No, it changes. But in this case, I am certain, I’m really certain, that the editorial position of The New York Times about the war—which I completely disagree with—did not affect its coverage of the,of the news.

MS. MITCHELL: Let me, let me show you a Wall Street Journal editorial—a very unusual editorial—that was in the paper on Friday. It said that “The problem with The New York 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.” John, I don’t want to really put you on the spot here, but I am. Your paper’s news columns also ran this story, and here you have this editorial. It really is a really sharp conflict.

MR. HARWOOD: Couple of points on that. First of all, that editorial wasn’t kidding when they said there’s a separation between the news and the editorial pages at The Wall Street Journal.


MR. HARWOOD: Secondly, there is a very large gap between the ideological outlook and philosophy of The New York Times editorial page and The Wall Street Journal editorial page. There is not a large ideological gap between the news staffs of those two places, and why would there be? Some of the top people of The New York Times were hired from The Wall Street Journal. What I found shocking about the editorial was the assertion that The New York Times did not act in good faith in making that judgment. I don’t know anybody on the news staff of The Wall Street Journal that believes that. I certainly don’t.


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