[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Here is the NYT explaining almost exactly a year ago why it wouldn’t publish the Climategate emails:
A thick file of private emails and unpublished documents generated by an array of climate scientists over 13 years was obtained by a hacker from a British university climate research center and has since spread widely across the Internet starting Thursday afternoon. Before they propagated, the purloined documents, nearly 200 megabytes in all, were uploaded surreptitiously on Tuesday to a server supporting the global warming Web site realclimate.org, along with a draft mock post, said Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist managing that blog. He pulled the plug before the fake post was published.
I have a story in The Times on the incident and its repercussions, which continue to unfold. But there’s much more to explore, of course (including several references to me). The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.
By comparison, here they are explaining why the the newest wikileaking documents will be posted on their site:
The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.
The Source of the Material
The documents — some 250,000 individual cables, the daily traffic between the State Department and more than 270 American diplomatic outposts around the world — were made available to The Times by a source who insisted on anonymity. They were originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to exposing official secrets, allegedly from a disenchanted, low-level Army intelligence analyst who exploited a security loophole.
In other words, he stole them, probably by hacking. They go on to point out that “[o]f course, most of these documents will be made public regardless of what The Times decides.” And explains later that “For The Times to ignore this material would be to deny its own readers the careful reporting and thoughtful analysis they expect when this kind of information becomes public.”
All of which raises the question: which of these arguments does not apply to the Climategate documents? And indeed, there is one argument for posting the Climategate documents on the NYT website that is not present here: publication is not likely to compromise national security.
And I am sure any minute, now, the NYT will call for an investigation into these leaks, just like they did with the Valarie Plame, right?
Yeah, that is a rhetorical question, and a sarcastic one at that.
Hat tip: Powerline.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]