Lies or Ineptitude — Take Your Pick

Posted By: 'Okie' | 10:34 am — 3/18/2006 | 1 Comment See comments below:

In today’s Los Angeles Times Calendar section weekly columnist Tim Rutten asks:

Why should you care about reporters’ rights?.

IS there really any reason for you to care that lawyers acting for Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, this week served subpoenas on the New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine and at least four journalists?

Does it matter that CIA Director Porter J. Goss, not content with ransacking his agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters looking for leakers and polygraphing every spook in sight, told a Senate committee that “it is my aim, and it is my hope, that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who leaked” classified information?

He then goes on to make his case, weakly in my mind, but if you’re a reporter, especially for a super Liberal newspaper like the LA Times, and you hate W, like the majority of them do — even if they won’t admit it, even to themselves — you will probably side with him.

What’s got ol’ Tim’s panties in a wad are the supoenas that Lewis Libby’s attorneys have served on various reporters as well as NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert. Libby is trying to make the case that he didn’t lie to federal investigators during their work on the Vallery Plame outing episode that the MSM keeps trying to make into a gigantic deal. As anyone who can read and understand the king’s English knows by now, Libby did not leak Plame’s identity to the press, or at the least, the prosecutors can’t prove he did, but somewhere in his questioning he made conflicting statements and now he is being prosecuted for that. Hello, Martha Stewart!

But then Tim asks the question I’m interested in:

Does it matter to anyone outside the news media that, in papers filed in connection with its prosecution of two pro-Israel activists last month, the Justice Department actually argued that journalists who obtain or publish classified information are liable for prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917?

Good question, ’cause I’m sure interested in the answer to that one! What Tim doesn’t do is position this in relation to the New York Times’ leaking of the NSA wiretapping of Al Qeada operatives communications from foreign locations into the US. Why not, Tim? I’ll tell ya, why not. Most Americans understand that this program was actually protecting them from future terrorists attacks, or at least helping to protect them better than is happening now, with this program exposed for all the world, Al Qaeda included, to see in the naked light of day.

But hey, it’s a free press man, and you can’t interfere with our 1st Amendment Rights of free speech, even if we, or our sources, have to break Federal laws to obtain the information! So, There! Then he relates this anecdote:

    As Gary Pruitt, who runs the McClatchy newspaper chain, wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week: “Self-government depends on continuous civic conversation, which in turn depends on people having a common vocabulary. Without a shared sense of what the problems are, there’s little hope of finding solutions. That shared middle — a place where people basically agree about the facts and the issues, even if they differ over what to do about them — is where we believe our responsibilities as newspaper owners lie. And it is under assault by spinmeisters, partisans and ideologues. They all have their place in a democracy — but it is not in the center. Our place is.”

Unless reporters and editors are free to go about your business, there will be nothing in that center but silence.

Which is where his argument falls apart. Tim Rutten thinks that the MSM is in the center of American thinking and politics — which would be utterly laughable if not so blatantly and dangerously wrong. The MSM is so far to the Left of Center, they can no longer see the center, and they can’t even begin to understand the Right — all they do is fear Conservative thought.

Which was perfectly bookended by the news today that the Gray Lady has once again got its tit caught in another wringer via outright lies, or just pathetic reporting — your pick.

NY Times says it erred in Abu Ghraib photo report

The New York Times said on Saturday it had identified the wrong man as the hooded prisoner standing on a box in a photograph that came to symbolize U.S. military abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

The newspaper’s March 11 profile about Ali Shalal Qaissi was challenged by online magazine Salon.com, which said an Army investigation had concluded the prisoner was a different man.

“The Times did not adequately research Mr. Qaissi’s insistence that he was the man in the photograph,” The Times said in an editor’s note accompanying a front page story on the misidentification.

“A more thorough examination of previous articles in The Times and other newspapers would have shown that in 2004 military investigators named another man as the one on the box, raising suspicions about Mr. Qaissi’s claim,” it said.

The Times, one of the most respected U.S. newspapers, was stung in 2003 when former reporter Jayson Blair was found to have fabricated and plagiarized dozens of articles. Last year, the resignation of star reporter Judith Miller amid questions about her reporting in the run-up to the Iraq war further damaged the paper’s standing.

Tell me, Tim. How are we ever supposed to trust you guys again?

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