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Newspapers Reject White House Request to Kill Records Story

 
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 09:34 am
A July 4th Call to Arms -- To Protect the 4th Estate
A July 4th Call to Arms -- To Protect the 4th Estate
By Brent Budowsky
E & P
July 02, 2006

What is under attack, with the recent partisan charges of "treason" directed at the press, is not some abstract notion of "the public's right to know" but the core of the American system of government. It's time to "man the barricades of democracy."

As America celebrates July 4, honoring Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine and Founding Fathers who committed treason against tyranny, and defeated an empire of Kings with the power of freedom and truth, we are reminded again of the preeminent importance of the First Amendment to a nation governed of the informed consent of a democratic people.

Had the New York Times and others in the profession now charged with treason or violations of the Espionage Act not reported the facts in their stories, on fundamental matters involving our freedom and security, the American people would have been deprived of their right to give their informed consent.

The courts would have been deprived of their constitutional duty to judge whether laws are being faithfully executed. The congress would have been deprived of its constitutional duty and its share of responsiblity in the policies of waging war, the oversight of government actions, and the protection of our liberties.

What is under attack, with these partisan charges of treason, is not some abstract notion of "the public's right to know" but the core of the matter of the American
system of government. Freedom of the press was not created by the Founding Fathers for the convenience of either the politicians or the press, it was created as a guarantor and protector of an informed citizenry, without which we have no democacy.

Freedom of the press was created as a Fourth Estate, a primary check and balance to a free nation who's governance is carefully balanced between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, designed to limit each other's power to protect the common good of America.

When Thomas Paine wrote that the sun never shined on a cause as great as ours, that cause was not the monarchy of King George where those who knocked on doors at night could write their own search warrants. It is no coincidence that after freedom had triumphed in the new world, Paine and others took the cause to France and continental Europe, followed generations later by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the triumph of Paine's successors over not only the Soviet Politburo's crimes but their agents of lies from Pravda to Radio Moscow.

I make no brief for contemporary American media, and have harshly criticized in public and private the insiderism in which far too many pundits become courtiers of power, in which far too many "journalists" become mini-conglomerates trading off their historic role of the courageous search for truth for endless searches for cable contracts and lucrative book deals. And I have predicted and worked for a new courage and new media that is emerging, through trial and error, to challenge and, I predict, ultimately supplant the more fossilized and corrupted of the older insider media, with its corporate cheapening of news and "entertainment."

So: I make no brief for conventional media. How ironic that the New York Times, which for so many months allowed its front page to be used as an agent of propaganda to drive our nation to war, and which withheld the NSA story for a year, preventing the American people from knowing the truth prior to voting in our last presidential campaign, is now accused of unpatriotism by the triumphant ideologues who got the war they so hungered for, and won their election without the American people voting with fully informed consent because of important news withheld.

And I make no brief for Democrats. Is there anyone not on the payroll of the party who believes that the collective leadership of the Democratic Party has shown courage, clarity or coherence on the great controversies of our age?

Reasonable people can disagree and debate whether the New York Times should have published its stories about eavesdropping on Americans without court order. Patriots can stand on both sides of the divide about whether it was wise or appropriate to publish stories about alleged secret prisons. Honorable Americans can take different sides about whether it was proper to publish news about monitoring of terrorist financing.

But words like treason? Traitors? Charges that the New York Times wants to impede the war on terrorism?

Having dealt with much classified information in my days of government service, I can attest: Sometimes information is classified to cover up wrongs, hide blunders, protect political convenience. Other times information is classified to protect legitimate secrets or help defeat dangerous enemies. Every day in every newsroom these matters are debated endlessly, and decisions are made, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but the charge of treason is different, the sign of a darker impulse in a politics increasingly dominated by demeaning tactics that violate the cardinal rules of the legacy left to us by the greatest collection of minds who ever sat together on earth, in 1776, and 1789.

We have a President who claims the inherent, presumptive power to abrogate provisions of the Constitution and throw aside the Bill of Rights, a monarchical power he literally asserts with a doctrine championed by our current Attorney General.

Those who do not agree, are charged with treason, and threatened with prison. We have a President who claims more than 700 times that he can break the very laws he signs, and those who challenge this are called traitors, and threatened with retribution. We have an attorney general who believes the Geneva Convention, championed by virtually all in the military who our president falsely claims he always heeds, is some quant relic of the past, and those who reveal the truth of abuses are called unpatriotic, enemies of the state, and threatened with investigation.

Our answer to 9-11 must be to unite our people to kill the terrorists who genuinely threaten us, not to divide our country with charges of treason, not to create a hidden secret regime of secret prisons, secret defendants, secret courts, secret trials, secret spying on our fellow Americans, secret intrusions on personal freedom, secret policies by secretive partisans who disrespect the very notion of democratic debate, destroy the very institutions of checks and balances, and demean and threaten those who dissent and even those who hold majority views in a nation that demonstrates its strong disapproval, in every poll.

Some of these secrets are valid, some not, but taken together these aggressive attacks against time honored practices and time honored values are a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.

These deviations from our democracy create far more divisions and dangers than a foreign enemy that will never defeat us, but is used as pretext for treating our neighbors as enemies, fomenting a politics of fear, twisting war from a mission that should unite the nation into an unprecedented weapon of partisanship that abuses the national trust, with charges of treason unbecoming any commander in chief, or any partisan who acts in his name.

Freedom of the press, with all its flaws, protects a freedom that involves three branches of government, not one; gives voice to a politics that includes two parties, not one; informs a citizenry that defends freedom with bravery, rather than surrendering freedom after appeals to fear.

Freedom of the press, with all the petty corruptions of the old media and Wild West styles of the new, gives voice to an America where many voices are singing, where many opinions are heard, where many truths are told.

Editors, publishers, readers, viewers, citizens of our Republic: our cities may be bombed but our freedoms will never be taken by terrorists, they can only be surrendered by ourselves.

It is time to man the barricades of democracy in defense of all three branches of government and the Fourth Estate, in the defense of the two hundred year old notion that we are indeed in this together, that we share a democracy of fellow patriots where the voices that charge treason are not the voices of true Americanism, and that Thomas Paine's greatest sun that ever shined on earth is now ours to preserve, protect and defend in a nation of fellow patriots on a common mission, based on courageous search for truth defended by courageous heroism in war.

God Bless America. Happy 4th of July.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 09:52 am
Intelligence committee not briefed until before publication
Bush lied when he publically stated the intelligence committee was briefed re the program early on.---BBB
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 04:28 pm
If the NYT isnt being political,then why did they publish the locations of the VP's house and the SecDef's house?
Why did they put a picture of the VP's PRIVATE home in the paper,along with its security systems?

Will the NYT be liable now if there is any kind of criminal activity directed at either home?

I hope so.

http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/06/30/travel/escapes/30michaels.html?pagewanted=1
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 04:35 pm
Sheesh.

It's funny to see this 'Times outed the VP and Rummy's house, on purpose' meme travel through the rightwing blogs, filter down through the minds of their readers, and get parroted here.

Especially because it turns out that Rummy Authorized the pictures to be taken, and the Secret Service says that there is 'no security risk' due to the article.

So, it turns out that they really weren't being 'political' at all. But that doesn't stop wingnuts from making accusations of 'traitorism' against the NYT.

Thanks for the laugh, tho, 'preciate that

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 04:43 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Sheesh.

It's funny to see this 'Times outed the VP and Rummy's house, on purpose' meme travel through the rightwing blogs, filter down through the minds of their readers, and get parroted here.

Especially because it turns out that Rummy Authorized the pictures to be taken, and the Secret Service says that there is 'no security risk' due to the article.

So, it turns out that they really weren't being 'political' at all. But that doesn't stop wingnuts from making accusations of 'traitorism' against the NYT.

Thanks for the laugh, tho, 'preciate that

Cycloptichorn


There you go again,reading what you want instead ofr what was written.

Where did I use the word "traitorism"
or traitor or treason,anywhere in what I posted?
You assumed that it was there,without reading what I wrote.

Thats your problem,you read what isnt there.

Nowhere in the article I posted does it claim that the NYT had the permission of the VP to publish stories about his house,nowhere does it say that they talked to the secret service at all.

So,if you can show me anything from the NYT or the Secret Service that backs up your claim,I will be happy to read it,and admit I was mistaken.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 04:49 pm
Perhaps if you had bothered to click on the link in my piece, you would have found the evidence that you sought. I'll repost it here for your conveinence.

http://www.prospect.org/horsesmouth/2006/07/post_193.html#003054

Here's a post where the blogger actually took the step of calling the photographer and Rummy's office before he jumped to conclusions, which is more than the foaming mouth of the Right Wing Blog could bother to do:

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/07/what-is-left-of-malkin-hinderaker-and.html

You didn't write that the NYT acts in a traitorous manner, but the right wing blogs/news sites that you read about this on.... well, that's another matter. You will note that I did not accuse you of calling the NYT traitorous.

I just think it's funny to see how fast memes spread on the internets, lol

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 04:56 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Perhaps if you had bothered to click on the link in my piece, you would have found the evidence that you sought. I'll repost it here for your conveinence.

http://www.prospect.org/horsesmouth/2006/07/post_193.html#003054

Here's a post where the blogger actually took the step of calling the photographer and Rummy's office before he jumped to conclusions, which is more than the foaming mouth of the Right Wing Blog could bother to do:

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/07/what-is-left-of-malkin-hinderaker-and.html

You didn't write that the NYT acts in a traitorous manner, but the right wing blogs/news sites that you read about this on.... well, that's another matter. You will note that I did not accuse you of calling the NYT traitorous.

I just think it's funny to see how fast memes spread on the internets, lol

Cycloptichorn


Actually,I read about it on the NYT own website.
I get their internet news feed everyday,and thats where I read it.
So,there is another mistaken assumption you have made.
You should really be careful of making those baselkess assumptions,it makes you look foolish.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 05:28 pm
Fair enough. But do you concede that there was no error in the NYT running the story?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 08:04 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Fair enough. But do you concede that there was no error in the NYT running the story?

Cycloptichorn


After reading your link,yes I do.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 08:23 pm
Thank you and cheers.

I think the responsibility must lie with them that reveal the information. Secrecy is a difficult thing, but clamping down on the media to perserve state secrecy is worse than having the secrets out.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 09:14 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Thank you and cheers.

I think the responsibility must lie with them that reveal the information. Secrecy is a difficult thing, but clamping down on the media to perserve state secrecy is worse than having the secrets out.

Cycloptichorn


Of course your link does nothing to relieve the NY Times of its responsibility for revealing a successful and legal clandestine operation.

As for which is worse, the media revealing important secrets or the government clamping down on the media I would suggest that this is not such an easy choice as you imply.

First we would need to define "clamping down." This phrase could mean all sorts of things running across a very broad spectrum.

Secondly, we would have to have some idea of what the consequence of a revealed secret might be.

It is certainly within the realm of possibility that the NY Times might reveal a secret that could lead directly to the deaths of Americans. I don't think the Times would ever deliberately reveal such a secret, but how far does their hubris overwhelm their judgment?

Despite the (I believe) understandable outrage many of us feel about the conduct of the NY Times (as well as the LA Times and WSJ) I don't for a minute believe the publishers and editors of these papers are traitors. In publishing their story they were not deliberately intending to harm our nation or aid our enemies, but that, of course, doesn't mean that this was not exactly the outcome of their actions.

People often die due the actions of others. When they do it, is not always murder, but it might be manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide.

I'm not sure how it figures that we cannot trust the government to eavesdrop on phone calls or trace financial transactions, but we can trust the media to not jeopardize our security by revealing state secrets.

Opponents of the NSA telephone surveillance program insist that the government could have and should have sought warrants for each surveillance. Why? Simply because of a legal technicality? Presumably these opponents believe that it is prudent to have a a qualified third party review the proposed action and pass judgment on it in an objective manner.

The NY Times cannot benefit from such oversight? It's decisions are so much more pure than the government's?

In the case of the financial search program, the NY Times did have, in effect, the advantage of oversight, but they chose to ignore it. Critics of Bush consistently point to his hubris, but seem unable to recognize the same trait in their beloved Old Grey Lady.

The leaders of the 9/11 Commission ( a group which the Times granted exalted status) both Republican and Democrat, urged the Times not to run the story. John Murtha, also anointed by the Times as a modern day Wiseman, urged them not to print the story.

Obviously the oversight the times should have, arguably, submitted itself to had no binding authority as Keller simply blew them off. The public needed to know. Why?

The publisher of the NY Times recently lambasted the Adminstration and the War in Iraq in a public forum. Does this not create something of a conflict for the Times? Are we to believe that the owner of the paper in no way allows his personal opinions to influence the editorial decisions of the Times?

It's no crime for a publisher to use his or her newspaper to advance personal opinions.

It is, though, entirely unbelievable for such a publisher to lay claim to a bias free newspaper, and on that basis assert a shield is in place to protect him and his editors from the consequences of their journalistic actions.
0 Replies
 
 

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