Patterico's Pontifications


Today’s Silly New York Times Editorial

Filed under: Media Bias,Morons,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 7:24 pm

This morning’s New York Times editorial on the Swift program displays the same reasoning and persuasive powers we have come to expect from this venerable institution.

And I mean that most sincerely.

The misleading claptrap begins in the very first paragraph:

There have been a handful of times in American history when the government has indeed tried to prosecute journalists for publishing things it preferred to keep quiet. None of them turned out well — from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the time when the government tried to enjoin The Times and The Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Note to Times editors: the Pentagon Papers case did not involve a prosecution of the newspapers involved, despite your implication to the contrary. It involved the government’s effort to get a court order to prevent publication of the articles in question. Obtaining such an order is much more difficult than prosecuting newspaper staffers after the fact.

If the issue had been the viability of a criminal prosecution, rather than that of a pre-publication injunction, the result might have been quite different. As Harvey Silverglate persuasively argues:

So let’s not kid ourselves: five of the nine justices would have approved of criminal prosecution of the newspapers in the Pentagon Papers case, even though a majority would not authorize a pre-publication injunction.

The editorial also stumbles with this now-familiar argument:

Terrorist groups would have had to be fairly credulous not to suspect that they would be subject to scrutiny if they moved money around through international wire transfers. In fact, a United Nations group set up to monitor Al Qaeda and the Taliban after Sept. 11 recommended in 2002 that other countries should follow the United States’ lead in monitoring suspicious transactions handled by Swift. The report is public and available on the United Nations Web site.

I am getting tired of refuting this argument again and again, so I’ll simply refer you to this post of mine with links and arguments that fully debunk it. The postcard version: Drug dealers know they are sometimes monitored by officers, but somehow I think the cops would still be upset if I showed the dope dealers where the cops are stationed with their binoculars. And if a single bureaucratically worded sentence in an obscure U.N. report was enough to tip off the terrorists, then how have we caught so many of them using this program, in the many years since that little-known report was published?

Finally, the fun part of the editorial, in which the editors write something so patently laughable that you can appreciate it even without my bitter mocking:

It is certainly unlikely that anyone who wanted to hurt the Bush administration politically would try to do so by writing about the government’s extensive efforts to make it difficult for terrorists to wire large sums of money.

From our side of the news-opinion wall, the Swift story looks like part of an alarming pattern. Ever since Sept. 11, the Bush administration has taken the necessity of heightened vigilance against terrorism and turned it into a rationale for an extraordinarily powerful executive branch, exempt from the normal checks and balances of our system of government. It has created powerful new tools of surveillance and refused, almost as a matter of principle, to use normal procedures that would acknowledge that either Congress or the courts have an oversight role.

Let me translate the bolded sentences for you:

Nobody could possibly think we’re trying to get the Bush Administration by revealing the Swift program. After all, the Swift program shows Bush is fighting terrorists, so it’s not as though the Swift program reflects badly on the Bush Administration.

But Good Lord, the Swift program sure does reflect badly on the Bush Administration!

This is the funniest thing I have read in the New York Times in, like, ever. You guys crack me up!

The funniest part is that you’re really trying to be serious.

UPDATE: Thanks very much to Power Line for the link, and for the continuing exposure of the “Blog of the Week” spot. If you’re unfamiliar with my blog, you can read more about it here. Bookmark the main page at this link.

38 Responses to “Today’s Silly New York Times Editorial”

  1. They demanded it because they thought it would make the President look bad if they didn’t get it. When they got it, they looked for a new way to make him look bad. I try very hard not to pollute this site with invective. May I please call the NYT editors “assholes” just this once?

    nk (41da82)

  2. From our side of the news-opinion wall, the Swift story looks like part of an alarming pattern … a rationale for an extraordinarily powerful executive branch, exempt from the normal checks and balances of our system of government.

    They just … can’t … help … themselves, can they? The worst thing they could do for themselves right now is to cast aspersions on the legality or lack of controls on the program, seeing as they themselves reported on the legality and controls!

    There’s a word for people who can’t stop themselves, even to the point of their own implosion: addicts. Addicted to the power of making the gov’t come with its hat in hand asking them not to publish. It’s gone beyond arrogant and disgraceful all the way to megalomaniacal. If such a word can be used about an organization.

    Anwyn (01a5cc)

  3. Damn…maybe it’s time to call a jihad on the NYT… These guys are clueless and might as well be guoting Al-Quida.. Excuse spelling errors…

    deagle (4d1c90)

  4. “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” – Sir Winston Churchill

    rrockbeast (2fa79c)

  5. Let’s hope these NYT guys have to use these arguments at their trials. Do you think they could do it with a straight face?

    James Simpson (a47a7b)

  6. They really don’t think of themselves as citizens of this country anymore. They think of themselves as citizens of the world and have no allegiance to this country at all, patriotism is a nasty word for them. They think in terms foreign to us “ordinary” citizens and they are disdainful of most of the things that this country does for its citizenery and for the peoples of the world and what it stands for. They have become detestable parasites of freedom, they have morphed into enemies of our country. The New York Times is an enemy just like the thugs and killers in Iraq, they are against us and by their actions has shown they wish us harm.

    Ron Nord (d1089f)

  7. More Quick Links…

    Up all night working on Old War Dogs stuff, need some sleep, but I can’t let you miss these: Vent: Political Ventriloquism MM: Operation Summer Rains CQ: Gaza Incursion Gains Ground Tom Bevan: Ward Churchill’s Strange Defense CQ: 9/11 Commission…

    Small Town Veteran (72c8fd)

  8. Speeders know that the Highway Patrol uses speed traps, yet using speed traps still catches speeders … unless someone publishes the locations of the speed traps.

    Criminals know that the police use informants, yet using informants still catches criminals … unless someone publishes the names of the informants.

    Racketeers know that the FBI uses sting operations, yet using sting operations still catches racketeers … unless someone publishes the details of the sting operations.

    Terrorists may know that counter-terrorist officials use financial tracking programs, yet using financial tracking programs still catches terrorists … unless someone publishes the details of the tracking program.

    What is it about this obvious fact that the brilliant thinkers at The New York Times cannot grasp?

    I advise young people who are thinking of a career in journalism to try something more intellectually challenging — they can always fall back to journalism if they fail at everything else.

    Paul Schlick (0ce4ce)

  9. Please…can we start a jihad against the NYT?

    deagle (4d1c90)

  10. So the God-fearing Pinch “the Stalinst pimp” comes in to remind us about moral responsibility. It’s bad enough that his unusual dealings with Wall Street go unheeded by the Democratic-Party dominated MSM, but his apologetic machinations about the Stalinst war criminal Walter Duranty can never be forgiven !!!

    The old grey whore (oops the old grey hag) has spoken, and Pinch Duranty will be forever associated with Stalinst crimes against humanity!!

    Mescalero (59e010)

  11. They really don’t think of themselves as citizens of this country anymore.

    It is worse than that. These “journalists” really believe they are somehow protecting their country. The threats we face are not real to them, even after 9/11. They choose to believe that the actions of their own countrymen created the Islamofascist menace we face, and think that with a few kind words from a touchy-feely President, the misunderstanding will all just disappear. In their warped view, the anti-terror efforts threaten us more than the terrorists who instigated the programs in the first place.

    In a similar manner, the pro-Palestinian stance of the Times smacks of a severe case of Stockholm syndrome. The Times is desperately trying to please enemies of Democracy and freedom in an effort to get them to like us. In the process the Times pretends they don’t want us dead.

    I suppose believing the United States is the center of all events in the universe is easier for them than accepting the reality — that there are violent fanatics who want to convert the world to Islam independent of George Bush or Dick Cheney or the NY Times.

    Usually, people grow out of this navel-gazing phase. Those who don’t edit the NY Times.

    KfK (c97452)

  12. And the same can be said of the New York Times:

    Ever since Bush was elected, the New York Times has taken the issue of possible government abuse and turned it into a rationale for an extraordinarily powerful journalistic branch, exempt from the normal checks and balances of our system of laws. It has recklessly exercised its power to undermine the efforts of our elected officials and refused, almost as a matter of principle, to use normal procedures that would aid in the protection of our nation against terrorism.

    byteboy (c73862)

  13. JfJ, byeboy,

    Absolutely right on.. Good comments.

    deagle (4d1c90)

  14. I’m with Ron Nord. I have recently come to realize that the eastern leftist elite (how’s that for a trite code phrase?) really do not think of themselves as Americans.

    European internationalism has taken such a firm hold that treasonous activities are of no concern to these people, since US sovereignty is a historicla relic to them, and besides, they really do believe that we aer the cause of most problems in the world today.

    Those that we don’t jail we should launch towards Europe! Screw them all.

    John Moore (c4bb95)

  15. Let’s not be TOO hard on the poor editors at the Times. As Churchill said, “Wherever there is a great deal of free speech, there is a certain amount of foolish speech.” We should thank them for their bizarre editorials which add so much entertainment value to our dull lives.

    John Somers (f549b3)

  16. The editorials are entertaining and rather funny. But the news articles — those are real killers!

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  17. Oh, but the editorials have their funny on too … I particularly like the joke about the wall of separation between chur–um, news and opinion.

    Anwyn (01a5cc)

  18. No, I meant: real killers.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  19. It’s a crying shame that the NYT’s will get by with revealing this Secret information. Treasury is in charge of this program so I think they should definitely open up a criminal investigation for the crime of Treason. Hold the editor and the journalists in jail until they reveal the sources of these leaks. Something definitely needs to be done and from what I’ve seen so far there is a lot of support for such action. Let’s ‘Git R Done’!!!

    Fred (0800dc)

  20. Wouldn’t it be a scream if there was a leak of the NY Times board room discussions concerning the decision to run this story? How many people honestly believe that the concerns expressed were about the program, rather than how this could embarass the Bush administration?

    Larry (260ea4)

  21. They Can’t Be Serious…

    This is a must read. Patterico discusses yesterday’s NY Times editorial trying to defend their actions in the exposure of the surveillance of terrorist financial transactions.I am getting tired of refuting this argument again and again, so I’ll simp…

    Joust The Facts (72c8fd)

  22. I find it hard to believe anything written and reported in the New York times or any other major newspapers these days. I think if the National Enquirer or Weekly World News rags would report aliens have landed to take Michael Moore and his barrel of fried chicken to meet their leaders, that story would be closer to the truth and more believable. It’s a shame and embarrassment what the major newspapers have become but also a blessing given the fact people have the internet and more options to find the truth. No one anymore has to settle for the newpapers anti-conservative propaganda anymore. I take the New York times with a grain of salt. I hope their butts go to jail and if what they did costs the life of one of our Country’s Service members I hope they go to hell too!

    Gary (98dc93)

  23. So, in other words, they’re saying that President Bush is a bigger threat to democracy than the terrorists are? Hmmm…that sounds very familiar. Where have I heard it before?

    Sloan (781515)

  24. If you have not seen the background on the New York Times owner, you might want to read this:

    Pagar (ba389e)

  25. Shorter treason charge: Yeah, that mean ol’ NYT ain’t been too kindly to our Wimperer in Chief, so let’s hang ‘em all!

    What about what Greenwald says?

    An important article today in The Boston Globe reports a self-evidently dispositive fact in the controversy over the “treasonous” disclosure by The New York Times and other newspapers of the Bush administration’s financial surveillance program — namely, that none of those articles disclosed any meaningful operational information that was not already in the public domain…

    You’re really falling off the deep end on this one. This hysteria is just as embarrassing for you as the phone spying folly was.

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  26. Psyberian:

    Treason: Giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Anyway, I think the real problem is that the media in this country no longer feels the need to report the news. What they do now is report the things that “need” to be reported; these “things” usually being items cherry-picked to fit within their worldview. These peoples despise the administration so completely that they would release any and all information that could damage it – because of course Bush is the real problem, and opposing him is what is “needed” to be done.

    Radar (f9a35f)

  27. If you have not seen the background on the New York Times editor, you might want to read this:

    The discover the network organization is a tremendous source of info on leftist individuals/Groups.

    Pagar (ba389e)

  28. Hilarious. And they follow up that line with continuing the lie that Congress didn’t know about this program, along with their lie that Congress didn’t know about the NSA tracking phone international phone records (which they again lie and call “wiretapping” constantly).

    I am surprised they didn’t throw in there how they think the American people are too stupid to understand how evil Bush really is.

    Pluto's Dad (fcbef1)

  29. […] Meanwhile Patterico’s Pontifications has fun with an editorial in the NYT explaining why they and other journalists commiting treason by printing classified information should not go to jail. […] Blog » Thank You NYT (12f951)

  30. The New York Times & National Security…

    I’ll confess, I don’t seem to have the same outrage that many on the right have about the N.Y. Times continuing to expose classified programs designed to gather intelligence on Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations.  What I feel is more of … (c4ad66)

  31. […] Tom Goldstein predicts that Justice Stevens will write the plurality opinion, which means that Justice Kennedy will join him in some sense. If Kennedy writes a separate opinion, it will probably be the governing opinion, and we all know that the limelight-seeking bastard would love that — especially if it gets him some kind words from the New York Times editorial board (which can’t write a coherent editorial, but nevertheless seems to control Justice Kennedy’s vote in high-publicity cases). […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Hamdan Opinion Today (421107)

  32. I can’t believe they served up such a fat pitch.

    These people are unbelievable.

    I’m for serving them and the U.N. notice to leave the country. If they want to act like this, they should be in France or Belgium.

    AST (20b361)

  33. Psyberian, what is embarrassing is your constant defense of idiotic, pseudo-First Amendment waving blowhards like the NYT and LAT. One line in a govt brief isn’t quite the same as splashing the story WITH DETAILS on the front page of (sad to say) the largest circulation newspaper in the country. Didn’t you leftists learn anything from revealing the identities of agents in the field back in the 80s? Sheesh.

    sharon (fecb65)

  34. It is about time that the newspapers and reporters be held responsible for the same laws as us poor ignorant citizens. The constitution does not elevate them to God level and they can be held accountable. Try them for treason and shoot a couple. That will get their attention.


    Lonestarman (8cd898)

  35. NY Slimes Tries to Defend Itself…

    …and is thoroughly fisked by Patterico.

    No excerpt, just read……

    Cyber-Conservative (f03b36)

  36. I hesitate to prosecute the Times. I think Justice ought to fit the crime better.

    I propose instead, the FBI merely announce due to demands of protection from terrorists made then have to “redeploy” resources. Since there is little hope to break up any Jihads attack on the NY Times due to leaking, we will reduce our attempts to defend the NY Times facilities at 229 W 43 St, NYC, NY.

    We have been trying to defend the facilities against attacks such as the the one in Oklahoma City. I would also refer to published NY Times articles on building fertilizer/diesel bombs, and where the OK city criminals put their truck and how much bomb grade matériels they loaded in it.

    I would also suggest that in the “interest of the publics right to know”, this information about “redeploying assets” should be widely disseminated by media such as the NY Times the Boston Globe, the LA Times and Al Jazeera to help citizens be more vigilant.

    ex Demo (539f8f)

  37. There’s no way the jihadis would do us a favor and strike the NYT building. The Times editorial board is their version of the CIA (only more competent).

    I’m for arresting the entire editorial staff that was involved with both this story and the NSA expose. Put them in separate rooms and let them know that the first one that tells them the names of every government source they received these stories from gets out of jail before they die. The rest get life without parole. Then go arrest the government sources and put them to death. It might seem like fun and games to give info to the Times to damage the administration when you know nothing will happen to you. I’d bet almost every leak would dry up after you shoot a few of those traitors.

    JohnWA (cdd4ba)

  38. […] This is entertaining. Go to this link, which is that silly New York Times editorial I mocked yesterday. Scroll down below the editorial itself, to where it says “Related Blogs.” There are links to blogs reacting to the editorial. After the first three, which simply suck up to the editors, you’ll see this: Patterico’s Pontifications June 28, 21:24 PM AM […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Oh Yeah? Nuh-UHH! (421107)

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