Government Watch Dog? Try Government Attack Dog!
In today’s giant editorial in the NYT defending Judith Miller’s decision not to reveal the name of the White House pit bull who put the retaliatory hit on Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame, the NYT has the nerve to couch Miller’s stance as a fight for the right of journalists to “work on behalf of the public without fear of retaliation from any branch of government…” and as “defending the right of Americans to get vital information from news organizations that need not fear government retaliation.” Doth protest too much about “government retaliation.” And it’s no wonder! Miller (and the NYT) are complicit in aiding and abetting government retaliation against the exact type of whistle blower (James Wilson) that they self righteously claim to represent.
And get a load of this: The NYT writes, “The most important articles tend to be the ones that upset people in high places, and many could not be reported if those who risked their jobs or even their liberty to talk to reporters knew they might be identified.” The retaliatory hit on Plame/Wilson was hardly an “important article” nor was it one that “upset people in high places.” Quite the opposite, it made the people in high places very happy. After all, it was their retaliatory hit.
The journalistic principle that the NYT should stand up for is “Naming Names” (you know, like naming the names of government officials who try to squash public dissent by retaliating against whistle blowers.) Instead, the NYT is standing up for hiding government malfeasance from the public. The NYT would have a case if the original “story” hadn’t been superseded by a real and important one: White House retaliation against truth telling.