Monday, October 23, 2006

What "Vicious Criticism"?

As you may have heard by now, the New York Times' public editor, Byron Calame, has reversed course and declared that he now believes the paper was wrong to print the details of the SWIFT banking surveillance program.

Calame asserts that his initial defense of the paper's actions came as a response to "vicious criticism" of the Times by the Bush Administration.

Enter the blogosphere.

Sites including Power Line and Michelle Malkin (subject link) immediately started researching on the Internet, and guess what? There was no "vicious criticism" by the Bush Administration.

Calame thus gave not simply a lame excuse for initially giving his paper a free pass, but a false one.

Patterico opines that "A public editor who cannot objectively evaluate his paper’s behavior in the face of criticism — from any source — should not be the public editor."

And Michelle Malkin also notes that, unlike the damaging initial stories disclosing the top-secret program, Calame's "mea culpa," such as it was, was not published on the front page of the NYT.

Two weeks out from an election, one would think it would be important for a "fair and balanced" newspaper to make clear to the American public that the Bush Administration was not breaking the law and that the SWIFT program was not only legal, it was necessary. (Does anyone want to place bets that information gleaned via SWIFT was not used to thwart the London airliner attacks?)

Of course, when it comes to the New York Times and other members of the mainstream media, news is only news when it hurts the Bush Administration, and the truth can take a flying leap.


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