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December 18, 2005


Cecil Turner

My guess would be the VIPS bubbas. They have a track record.


Round em up!

Lew Clark

As former government official who had access to classified material, I am aware that I am bound by the same laws that I was bound by when accessing that material. I couldn't divulge it then, and as long as it remains classified, I can't divulge it now.
So, if I land a job as a DoJ prosecutor and you give me the choice. Prosecute the President of the United States for spying on the wrong kind of people during time of war, or prosecute present or former government officials for divulging classified material to individuals not cleared for that material, I'm going for the latter. Much more straight-forward crime. Much easier to win.

Go Metro

How is this story bad news for Bush? Are the MSM and their toadies in DC so out of touch they think is actually going to hurt him? Get serious.

Anonymous Liberal

If you're right, doesn't that undercut the whole "liberal media" talking point? How liberal can the media be if they agreed--at the request of the White House--to bury this story until well after the election.

And it's not just this story. TIME and other news outlets sat on the fact that Karl Rove was one of Plame leakers, despite the fact that it was apparently widely known. And 60 minutes sat on their story about the Niger forgeries (they still haven't aired it).

I'm not saying the media is conservative. They're not. Their behavior is much more complex and much less ideologically-rooted than the standard conservative critique allows for. The liberal "bias" argument is just a cherry-picked collection of examples that can easily be countered with cherry-picked examples of the opposite phenomenon.


I don't think Matt Cooper is even capable of writing this comedy!

"Former ambassador calls for probe of secret spying"

"I can understand how an administration in the heat of battle might see fit to do what they did," Wilson said Saturday in a phone interview while attending a conference of Muslim community leaders in suburban Long Beach. "But to do it for so many years without referencing the American legal system makes it worthy of congressional oversight and investigation," he added.



Obviously it was meant to be an October surprise. Why would any of the VIPS guys leak this baby in December of last year, when Bush still had political capital he intended to use. Remember back then? Seems an aeon ago. But they obviously thought it was a big old juicy scrap of info. Possibly enough to throw an election.

Makes you think that the spectacle of Dan Rather had rather an edifying effect on the editors at Times. It also makes you realize why they always feel that the Bush Administration is, somehow, stifling them. Because of the public scrutiny from the blog world, they now have to hold all their instincts to squeal loudly against Bush Admin in check while hinting darkly at all the shocking secrets that they know.

r flanagan

Beers , Clarke who knows ? But "almost a dozen" must mean at least 10 so there's got to be several more leakers- which could make you wonder why so many .

As to the validity of "almost a dozen , given the firestorm they anticipated , every word would have been angsted over by counsel who would have had to be stupid (they aren't) to let their employer get caught lying over something as easy to understand as the difference between 12 and 2.That could get a guy fired.

Does it hurt Bush ? Joe Lunchpail if he pays
any attention will approve. But it'll provide a smoke screen for senators to delay approving the Patriot Act . Which will further chip away at W's image as The Man. Dunno whether that matters.


Anonymous Liberal, they presumably didn't do it solely at the request of the Bush Admin. After all, they had just witnessed what happened to Dan Rather.

And as for your other point, about how liberal bias is just cherry picking. Yeah right. Wrong day for you to make that assertion.

Read this. Finally a study that allows some objective quantification of media bias, published by the Quarterly Journal of Economics, one of the top journals in the field.


It's not that NYTimes editors were too scared to pull an October surprise, it's simply that they thought they had better weapons in their arsenal.

Lew Clark

Maybe they sat on it because they didn't want to be involved in criminal activity by publishing it. But now, with leaking classified information being the "in thing" for the liberal elite, they decided: "What the heck! If these guys/gals keep leaking classified information with impunity, who are we to judge?"


It's interesting and revealing that if former Clinton Administration national security officials were involved in this story that the Times piece doesn't mention an important fact: The Clinton Administration argued in 2000 that warrants were not required for monitoring al-Qaeda agents.

In other words, the same thing, inter alia, that the Bush Administration is positing.

Summary: When the Clinton Administration prosecuted two Kenyans for their involvement in the African embassy bombings (US v. Usama Bin Laden), the Kenyans tried to get evidence excluded because their 4th Amendment rights had been violated (no warrants were issued when officials searched their homes in Kenya).

The Clinton Administration argued that:

"The searches were primarily conducted for the purpose of foreign intelligence collection and are, therefore, not subject to the Warrant Clause of the Fourth Amendment."

Additionally, the Clinton Justice Department argued that:

"Searches conducted for the purposes of foreign intelligence collection which target persons who are agents of a foreign power do not require a warrant.

We'll hear more about this very soon.

Why Mr. Risen didn't include this tidbit remains to be determined.


Cecil Turner

The Clinton Administration argued in 2000 that warrants were not required for monitoring al-Qaeda agents.

Yes, I thought that was entertaining as well. And the court bought off on the argument:

Before the Court can find that the exception applies to this case, it is necessary to show, first, that Mr. El-Hage was an agent of a foreign power; second, that the searches in question were conducted "primarily" for foreign intelligence purposes; and finally, that the searches were authorized by the President or the Attorney General.
In fact, the only reason the early (pre- April 1997) taps in that case weren't lawful was that they hadn't yet been approved by the AG. (There is a significant distinction from the current situation, however, in that the search and taps were entirely overseas, vs one end in the US.)


I said: The Clinton Administration argued in 2000 that warrants were not required for monitoring al-Qaeda agents.

Should have added no warrants needed for monitoring foreign agents for intelligence purposes.

And they said "searching" and not "monitoring"; but I think they can be used interchangeably.

Now that's how you correct an error, Dr. Krugman (in the odd chance that you're reading this).

Okay, very odd chance.


Jay Rosen

It was an election year hit piece but they called off the hit? Why?

Lew Clark

The President just finished his address. Doesn't Al-Zaquari get equal time for the Democrat rebuttal?

Rick Ballard

"It was an election year hit piece but they called off the hit? Why?"

Not every planted piece gets printed. Besides, the degree of damage from the alBaradei piece would have been much higher had the expected pre-election attack in the US occurred. Just rolling the dice - how many October surprises can the Times print in one October?

Especially after Dan's tryst with Lucy Ramirez fell apart.

They gotta keep up some pretense of practicing journalism.


Steve MG and Cecil Turner,

There is some interesting dicta in the Keith case regarding an exception to the warrant requirement when the search is for a national security purpose.

Keith dealt with surveillance of domestic groups in the early 70s and a predecessor to the FISA statute, so it isn't exactly on point. However, it provides some useful guidance to the basis for the administration's assertion that the NSA warrantless searches were lawful.


I believe the case Steve referred to above also cited Keith.

(apologies for my lack of formatting skills)



THE ARGUMENT over whether the national press is dominated by liberals is over. Since 1962, there have been 11 surveys of the media that sought the political views of hundreds of journalists. In 1971, they were 53 percent liberal, 17 percent conservative. In a 1976 of the Washington Press Corps, it was 59 percent liberal, 18 percent conservative. A 1985 poll of 3,200 reporters found them to be self-identified as 55 percent liberal, 17 percent conservative. In 1996, another survey of Washington jounalists pegged the number as 61 percent liberal, 9 percent conservative. Now, the new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found the national media to be 34 percent liberal and 7 percent conservative.

Over 40-plus years, the only thing that's changed in the media's politics is that many national journalists have now cleverly decided to call themselves moderates. But their actual views haven't changed, the Pew survey showed. Their political beliefs are close to those of self-identified liberals and nowhere near those of conservatives. And the proportion of liberals to conservatives in the press, either 3-to-1 or 4-to-1, has stayed the same. That liberals are dominant is now beyond dispute.

Does this affect coverage? Is there really liberal bias? The answers are, of course, yes and yes. It couldn't be any other way....

The Pew poll also found that 55 percent of national journalists believe that Bush should be treated more critically by the press than he has been. They think he's gotten off too easy, despite empirical evidence of media Bush bashing. The Center for Media and Public Affairs has examined the coverage of Bush by the broadcast network evening news shows and found only two periods of favorable coverage: in the weeks after September 11 and during the actual war in Iraq. This year, roughly 75 percent of the stories about the Democratic presidential candidates were positive. For Bush, they've been 60-plus percent negative.


Why did the NYT hold off on the hit piece?

Could it be that they wanted to wait & see if Fitz indicted anyone for disclosing classified information?

Cecil Turner

I believe the case Steve referred to above also cited Keith.

Yes it did (and Keith was even less restrictive). But, as you say, Keith was pre-FISA . . . which made (non-lawyer) me think it was a bit less pertinent than the later case.


Very good, TM. Looks like Clarke, Beers, Wilson and the VIPS were on quite a merry-go-round..and with Simon and Shuster publishing Risen's book the old Viacom-CBS/publishing house/DNC megaphone arm is still operating, too.
Maestro,Strike up"Deja Vu,"please.


I would throw Scheuer onto that list. If you look at Risen's earlier pieces, it is clear that Scheuer is a major friendly.


By the way, that NBC leak that Clash cited on the previous thread looks like a coordinated hit. (The contents of the story are of course utterly overblown, but provide the opportunity for a Bush-bashing, false headline that feeds right into the desired storyline.)


Well, there we are==a list of the most likely suspects..And it took us how long?

I wonder when these shmucks leaked this , if they figured it'd be this long till it came out..and if so, was it worth the risk to them?

I somehow doubt that..If their candidate had won, their work would surely have been well rewarded. But now,....

I don't see Scheuer though, Neuro..it wasn't his ares of , pardon the expression "expertise".

If it was supposed to be the Oct surprise, why wasn't it run then? Any chance that Rathergate made them more cautious? Something else?


BTW -- Great catch on the S&S contract, Clarice. I notice that his previous book was published by Random House.


Just speculating on the Scheuer thing, Clarice. But wouldn't he would know if calls from Bin Laden's lieutenants to the US were being monitored? I think he would need that information so that he could refine his plans for capitulation.


He's nuts but not a likely leaker. Clarke with his wounded ego and Beers , ambitious, Kerry lieutenant are more likely suspects in my book.

I also think Beers was playing the Wilson string quartet..


I'm picturing a bunch of democratic congressional offices with lights on tonight - aides scurrying around shredding documents and attempting to erase emails and computer memos...lol


I'm picturing Beers and Clarke trying to find a decent criminakl lawyer. All the giood ones in town are tied up with Plame or Abramoff.LOL

Rick Ballard


I believe I'd rather think about Dem staffers getting a "there's a Mr. Smith from the FBI on the line for you". I imagine that any staffer from either of the Intelligence committees who took leave to work on the Kerry campaign would be worth a chat.


Admit it, Rick, you are a shill for the DC criminal bar.;^)..The only Intel Committee Staffer I recall leaving before the election was Rockefeller's staffer who wrote the discovered memo about politicizing the committee. I'm not home and can't easily retrieve his name.

Jay Rosen

An election year hit piece was ordered up, and completed, before the election, and it could quite possibly though not definitely prevent the re-election of George W. Bush, whom they all despise, and the people running this story called off the hit? Lost their nerve?

I don't get it. These are the very people who will stop at nothing to get Bush, right? And here the very real possibility of it swims right in front of them and all they have to do is print a story they believe in, but... they don't?

Something doesn't fit, TM.



I think the NY Times probably DID think printing the story might hurt national security so they held off.

But they obviously think we're winning right now so what's the harm? As if it's up to them to know. But printing it now, while, in their minds, not hurting national security, will also stop the renewal of the Patriot Act (we're winning so what they hey, don't need that anymore), and make Bush look bad. Can't have anyone praising him for the Iraqi election now can we?


Maybe it was the first salvo in the Impeach Bush in 2006 campaign and didn't come in until November of 2002..


Nov 2004 that is--i hate typing on this laptop !


That's a possible scenario, Syl.

Jim E.

I fail to see how the NY Times NOT publishing a controversial and factual (Bush confirmed it was true) piece of news until after an election is evidence of liberal bias, particularly since there has been bipartisan outrage.

The idea that the media is liberally biased has become a non-falsifiable conspiracy theory.

The NY Times were either cowards for not publishing sooner, or they were extremely prudent in fulfilling Bush administration requests. It wouldn't be the first time that the media held off on publishing due to presidential objections related to claims of national security. Maybe the Bushies begged them to hold off until after the Iraqi election for some reason? Or maybe the NY Times decided on their own to wait until after the Iraqi election so that they couldn't credibly be blamed for preventing the rise of the middle east version of Thomas Jefferson? Risen's book is already at the printers, so it's clear that the NY Times decided to print the story soon one way or the other.


Jay, I wonder if you would even consider "NO plausible deniability" on Senator Kerry's part

"Kerry is bereft of notable lawmaking accomplishments. Nonetheless, he has touted his membership on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1993 to early 2001 as a powerful presidential credential."



That sounds good. If the story wasn't ready before the election, then why not hold it until such a time they could make political hay with it.

If they held off 'til next year, the 2006 election would be about national security in general instead of Iraq. That wouldnt' be good.

Now, with the euphoria from the Iraqi election, is the perfect time...and kill the Patriot Act to boot. What's not to like.

The impeachment fodder is creepy but they're trying to build a case.

Slimes. All of them.



It wouldn't be the first time that the media held off on publishing due to presidential objections related to claims of national security.

I'm curious, is there anything you think should not be published due to national security concerns?

If, for example, the CIA asks a paper not to publish something would you go along with not publishing it?


ts--I think Kerry's defense is that he never attended the Committee's meetings. And if you recall, during the campaign he admitted he'd never even availed himself of intel briefings available to him as a candidate. It's the I'm lazy and ignorant defense.



Anonymous Liberal

Jim E.,

You're comment is spot in. Here's a story that no is even questioning the accuracy of and that has sparked bipartisan outrage.
Had it been published before the election, the screams of 'liberal bias' by conservatives would have been deafening (despite the fact that the article is true). Instead, the Times agrees to put off publication for a year. And they are STILL accused of liberal bias! If printing a true story of clear national importance over a year AFTER the election is evidence of liberal bias, then this debate then that charge no longer has any meaning.

Anonymous Liberal

Meant to say "your comment is spot on"



You know, we don't know that they had this story before the election.



While it is true that there is a program, the NYT puts forth the proposition that it was all americans that were targeted and that laws were definitely broken. Those are the things that are quite possibley not true.


Elementary, Jay, elementary.

First of all, though they hate Bush with a passion, how many of the NYTimes Master of the Universii are actually willing to sacrifice something to get him so significant as their jobs. The very thing that gives them that high and unique status in the first place. Having just watched the edifying spectacle of what happened to Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, not to mention the "swift boating" of Kerry, I doubt any one of them wanted to assume those ridiculous pentitential garbs by misunderestimating the Republican Blogosphere again. It's not like the good old days when they could write what they wanted and there was no centrified place of opposition. And they were wise to that.

And, then, after that realization, wouldn't they easily persuade themselves they would be more useful to their own war effort in the long run by hiding their position and lobbing IEDs into the journalistic mix whenever they got the chance. This way they could play the long game - a tactical decision that goes along with the safe hatred of Bush, as opposed the risky kind.

Moreover, if the NYTimes had given away the store on National Security during the election they would have been playing into the large poll advantage Bush already had on National Security issues. It would have confirmed Democrat untrustiworthiness on the issue.

And finally after all there was the fact that the WH did request them to hold off on it. After all, there were already so many points persuading them that that was the wise course of action.

Also, this was before the Judith Miller debacle. I don't believe they would have expected that their loyal troops would now have a built in predisposition to blame them, at this point, for betraying them by holding off on something that helped Bush.

Jay Rosen

Times Editor One to Times Editor Two....

One: "Don't hit him before the American election, silly. Wait for the Iraqi election. That's when we can do the most harm-- er, good."

Two. "You know you're right. Let's hold off, let him get re-elected, then do the hit once he's deeper into it in Iraq."


I think Kerry's defense is that he never attended the Committee's meetings.

Not sure that was or would be his defense (2008). I think it was just a stated fact. However, Kerry was professing to be the one "tougher on the Patriot Act"

As the wording in this Bill "to amend the USA PATRIOT Act to repeal the sunsets"

"Nor is President Bush alone among the major candidates for President this year in hailing the importance of the Patriot Act. Indeed, his principal rival for the office, Senator Kerry, recently claimed that he would go even further than the President. According to an April 25 story in the Los Angeles Times, Senator Kerry's spokesman insists that ``it is the challenger, not the president, who brings the most muscular view of the Patriot Act into the race.'' Senator Kerry's presidential campaign website even includes a ``Plan to Restore American Security,'' which lists as its number-one priority to ``improve intelligence capabilities.'' Senator Kerry states that he ``understands that intelligence information is the key to disrupting and dismantling terrorist organizations and that we need to improve our intelligence capabilities, both domestically and internationally, in order to win the war on global terrorism.''

My point is that it, printing the story did provide an opportunity for the Bush campaign to nail Kerry with another "i voted for the war, before I voted against it" moment.


If printing a true story of clear national importance over a year AFTER the election is evidence of liberal bias, then this debate then that charge no longer has any meaning.

I'm not so sure that this "story" would have caused a firestorm prior to the election. In fact, given what the President has said openly about it, it might well have gone to his favor.

No, in my humble opinion, this story was held for just the purpose it served on Friday - to distract from the very real, positive news of the election in Iraq. In January, no one expected the elections to be so successful. The impressive turn out by the Iraqis was stunning. Following dire predictions (and the fond hope of the liberals) for the defeat of the Iraqi constitution in October, once again the MSM was left with egg on its face.

What to do? Well, it seems that this time they were prepared. Publish a story to divert attention following the - yet again - stunning turnout of the Iraqis to elect a new government. The irony is that this "story" may unleash an investigation that the libs may not want - one that rivals the nonsense about "who leaked Valerie Plame/Wilsons name and who cares."


Jay, Jim E., Alc --

There is only one final week before an election. In 2004, the Times Editors made a tactical decision to go with the Al Qaqaa pseudo-story for that final week.

At this point, we can only speculate to what extent they had other alternatives, and whether their decision was tactically sound to accomplish their goals. What is beyond speculation is that the Times was determined to use the final week of the campaign to try to undermine Bush.


My point is that it, printing the story did provide an opportunity for the Bush campaign to nail Kerry with another "i voted for the war, before I voted against it" moment.

To take this thought a step further, the Times could have considered the story too much hot potato to gamble with...If it was revealed that Kerry ( being the sixties surveilled "anti-war" protester) was briefed/well aware of this and and raised no objections ---from a Kerry campaign perspective---would be a disaster


At NRO this evening, Mark "The Great One" Levin posted the transcript of a 60 MINUTES segment hosted by Steve Kroft that aired February 27, 2000. The piece was titled "ECHELON; WORLDWIDE CONVERSATIONS BEING RECEIVED BY THE ECHELON SYSTEM MAY FALL INTO THE WRONG HANDS AND INNOCENT PEOPLE MAY BE TAGGED AS SPIES."

Here are the first two paragraphs:

"If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there's a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country's largest intelligence agency. The top-secret Global Surveillance Network is called Echelon, and it's run by the National Security Agency and four English-speaking allies: Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

The mission is to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelon's computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world."

You can find the transcript at http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm.


The thugs just got too damn bold. They now are pushing a leak that will be easy to prove and politically useful to prosecute. What are the chances this is the same stupid bunch that is behind Joe Wilson? Bush has been waiting for this.

Bonus question: Did the New York Times play there part in this little counterpuch to the CIA rogues as innocent dupes or as penitents?


I"m waiting for comment on Terrie's link...ahem Feb. 2000....


And the hits just keep on coming.


Don't they dangerably deduce data from echelon?

Sixty Minutes dropped their Yellow Cake Special meant to be the 2nd part of the TANG/Favorite Son one-two punch partly because of the reception to Mapes' piece of caka, and partly because someone over there finally understood that even Josh Marshall didn't know from Sheboygan about the subject and they realized that they actually knew almost zilch about the forgeries. I tell you, though, it all looked good on paper. Someone's still trying to do Voodoo on John O'Neill and Buck what's his face in Atlanta, the typeface skeptic.

Also, despite T's big clue, we are all trying to put too much meaning into the use of the word 'year' by the Times. It is almost meaningless. The delay is meaningless. That they diminished their story is meaningless. That they published this traceable and prosecutable leak is meaningful.

So what does it mean?

Jay Rosen

"What is beyond speculation is that the Times was determined to use the final week of the campaign to try to undermine Bush."

Beyond speculation. Interesing. I hadn't known that.

I think you are under-estimating how catacylsmic true Bush doubters felt the election of 2004 would be if Bush won it. They all felt this was it: we stop him now or its a long long time before things will be right again. You are also under-estimating the effects of 2000 and what was glimpsed in that end game.

No, I am trying to figure... if it happened as many of you say: Kerry smiled through the briefings, then leaked to the Times, and ordered--okay suggested--the hit, and the Times (are they the junior or the senior partner in the conspiracy? I guess we'll work that out later, but it's a detail we should nail down) the Times went along, and prepared the story, and it met their standards for verification, and they... pulled it? Now, wait. Yes. No, wait: Was this where Kerry, advised the Times against publishing the story that would bring him the election? Is he the one who said: "Not the American election you goofball, I meant the Iraqi election in '05." I guess it probably was. Or no.. could be it the Times telling Kerry: we're in charge and we're calling the hit off. If there's another story we can get you in with we will; we got a lot of shit coming in this week. And I guess Kerry said: well, okay, but it sure would have been nice to be President... right?

Seven Machos

Folks: everyone is missing the Big Picture. This story was released now because a New York Times reporter is releasing a book about the topic now. We call this "co-branding" in the industry. Hollywood rolls out a movie at the same time that KFC has little gadgets in Kids' Meals tied into the movie and Pepsi has commercials with the movie characters. The Times prints an ostensibly scandalous story right before a book by one its reporters comes out. That's how it works.

Furthermore, maybe the New York Times realized that this news would, in fact, be popular with the regular people, the little people. You know the ones: the ones who watch Fox News and listen to talk radio and go to church and watch NASCAR and vote against their interests.

Hence, the Times thought it prudent to wait until after the election. The fear would have been prescient. I'm quite sure this bombshell revelation, despite the horrified protestations of the elite, will prove quite popular with the little people.

I also agree: the Times also thought now would be a good time to release this stuff because: (1) there is good news in Iraq and (2) the Patriot Act is being debated.


Conspiring, Jay, is breathing at the same time, not the complicated fantasy you construct. This is as easy as breathing for Democrats and MSM, but not quite as innocent. It only requires pulling the plug on truth.


To get to the proper level of outrage, it is first important to determine who (especially duly elected government officials) knew and why the hell didn't they do anything to stop any possible illegalities.

Given that it appears that those who did nothing were a bipartisan lot, there will be no challenge to the legality of the operation, except by those who knew (and know) nothing.

Jay Rosen

"They--Kerry and the Times--called off the hit." is not something I constructed. That was built right here.

True, my recent thought experiment was my own work. Anyway, who do you think called it off? Kerry signaled (through small changes in breath) to the Times, or the Times signaled to Kerry? Just tell me that much, will ya? Then I can work out most of the rest.

We all agree that if it came out it would have to mean jail for Sulzberger and Keller and some Kerry people, correct? It's a criminal conspiracy to use classified information to manipulate a federal election. Would some here add execution? Probably so...


Who said anything about Kerry leaking directly. One or more of the intelligence types likely did the leaking.

It's not hard to imagine a scenario. Just think of how the Plame scenario was set up. First the leaks to Kristof the same month that Wilson donates money to Kerry's campaign, then the situation gathers steam, then it generates more stories, etc.

And, of course, as in Plame, Kerry has to be kept out of it directly for the sake of deniability later on.

But it's the same cadre of disgruntled intelligence professionals doing the leaking here. Not Kerry himself.


SM, those little people have big enough brains to vote their interests. That their interests aren't what their critics wish they were is no concern of theirs.


I'd guess, Jay, that they all held their breath at the thought of the sanctions that might occur.

Jay Rosen

Ironically, weirdly, whatever you want to call it, my sense is both left and right, Times doubters and Times-believers, want to know a lot more, from the editors in New York, about what led to the decision to hold the story. I can think of no reason they should not disclose and discuss on that one.


Yes, Alcibiades, and I think that same gang of thugs overreached themselves with this one. This will be easily understood, easily investigated and easily prosecuted. The tracks aren't covered as well with this one; the criminals have gotten sloppy.

My question is did the New York Times understand their role as tripwire for the roll-up of the thug CIA and possibly their certain party associates, or did they just gull along with the leakers as stupidly as the leakers leaked this. Praise the Lord and Pass the Butter, or is it Guns? No, it's ammo.


Where were the critical, perfectly-timed-for-maximum-political-damage reports by NYT/MSM journalists (not commentary writers) several years before 9/11 when AG Janet Reno

1) tried to grant search and seizure authority without the need to obtain warrants first to police over HUD housing residents, and

2) promoted roving wiretaps on homes visited by suspected criminals (not even terrorists)?


Can you explain, Jay, the reasons that the New York Times in particular and the MSM in general have not seen fit to do a lot more old fashioned journalism on their own operations. It is a glaring omision. One that only with someone to hide would leave out.

After all, a profession unexamined is not worth following.


One that only someone with something to hide would leave out? How come the MSM has been utterly dismal about getting the truth out lately about Iraq, Plame/Wilson, Oil for Food, I could go on and on.

A life unexamined is not worth living. Are journalists admitting they've given up on their glorious mission?

Jay Rosen

No, Kim, I cannot explain. But I can tell you I have blogged about it, and blogged about it, and blogged about it, and edited others who blogged about it.

I think it's been a disaster for the Times to not be more open, especially the execs.


Not just NYT, all of MSM. And I guess I didn't realize I was hitting such a sore subject. A little late at night to torture, sorry.

JM Hanes

I'm perfectly willing to believe that this particular story was originally presumed to have October potential -- if only because anyone with a partisan ax to grind would be leaking like crazy.

As to why now, however, there are plenty of impoderables to go around. Note the opener to a PJMedia piece on reconsidering the media coverage of Katrina:

In the traditional winter/spring crush by major newspapers to publish investigative stories that land them on finalist lists for hotly contested journalism awards....

r flanagan

Seeing how hard it is to get anything done in business where people are cooperating and information is fully shared I believe that pulling off a conspiracy is much harder and that most conspiracy theories are just that.

Accordinly my theory about the Times delay is that the Times is telling the truth : they delayed the story because the administration requested them to delay it.

If that weren't the case Scott McClellan would have immediately issued a statement denying the Times account ? Given the Administration's fury about this article it has every incentive to disparage the Times and wouldn't have passed up the opportunity
to point to such a lie, if it were a lie.
Which it wasn't.

Which in turn suggests that 90% of the
above is a myth.

r flanagan

The ? after "account" in the penultimate
paragraph should be a period.


AL, the one that brought up liberal bias is you. Specter addressed the ridiculous nature of a 'no liberal media bias' position, but if you and Jim E want to assert there isn't liberal bias in the media then by all means do so. Its you guy's credibility.

TM pointed at political motivation for the leak, not liberal bias. They're two different, albeit similar, issues. The decision to publish this story is about agenda journalism, not liberal bias.

Now, an argument could be made that liberal bias at the NYTimes impacted their decision to publish this story now, since arguably they did it out of their sincere concern about civil rights and the Patriot Act, whereas if they were more moderate they might have put national security first and just continued to sit on it. A useful exercies might be to ask yourself why they published this now.

This story being published now is about the Patriot Act reauthorization. It demonstrates that the evil ChimpyMcHalliBusHitler is violating our constitutional right to privately call the 1-900-NAMBLA phone sex line and the PA shouldn't be reauthorized.

Jay Rosen

they delayed the story because the administration requested them to delay it.

No, couldn't be. Then there would be factors other than helping the Demcratic party beat Bush involved in journalistic decision-making and it's been proven many times that helping the Democratic party beat (or beat down) Bush is what modern American journalism is "about." Therefore nothing else can explain a decision like this. Nothing other than 1.) helping the Democratic party beat Bush (or beat him down: lower his negatives) and 2.) covering up for the fact that the Times eagerly helps the Democratic party beat (or beat down) George W. Bush. You see that's what journalism is-- and sadly that's what the liberals have made it into. A beat Bush machine. It's axiomatic, automatic, bass-o-matic-- whatever.


How about Lawrence Wilkerson? Would he have been in a position to know about that program, too?

Cecil Turner

Accordinly my theory about the Times delay is that the Times is telling the truth : they delayed the story because the administration requested them to delay it.

I suspect ol' Bill Occam would agree. I do too, with the caveat that I also suspect the story wasn't ready in October. (I also doubt it'd do significant political damage to the President, and may well end up helping him; so the premise that it's a silver bullet for a hit piece might warrant some reexamination.)

Jay Rosen

Would that include re-examination of the premise that helping the Democratic party beat (or beat down) Bush is what modern American journalism is about?


Modern American Journalism is about the corruption that powerful institutions are subject to, only they are blind to the most corrupt powerful institution around. Except perhaps for the UN, most other modern institutions are self-conscious enough of their own corruptibility to take steps to prevent it. Hubris has gotten in the way of the MSM.

Frankly, it's tragic, but the usefulness of MSM is already superceded by blogs for many. Accurate news drives out bad; it's as sure as thermodynamics, and it's the answer to the question tormenting you Jay: MSM is terminally, unconsciously, corrupt.


And I still think that that phrase "conduct additional reporting" is weird. Is that the usual parlance in journalistic circles for 'conduct additional investigation'?

Seems to me that something was written and then edited but someone erred in the editing. If you're right about their "year" meaning more like a 14 months, they had both the al-QaQaa story coming up as well as the Guard Memos with 60 Minutes which they had to make a snap decision on and eventually backed off on because of not being able to meet the 60 Minutes timeline. (So much work, so little time.)

And sitting on it for a year? That's a long time for a story to sit with all those leakies itching to see their Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous in a major story and the competition possibly having leads on it, too. Unless it was a strictly single purpose story leak or an exclusive rights deal.

Jay Rosen

A lot of things 'round here are as sure as thermodynamics. That's the remarkable thing.


The heat is already setting Dead Tree Press on fire. There is overgrowth rotting aplenty, and nothing to stop the spread of the destruction except truth, but in it's maturity, MSM, has proliferated to the point of not allowing light to reach the firmament, where truth ordinarily flourishes.

I expect the blogosphere will eventually succumb similarly, after it is bound and sold.

Cecil Turner

Would that include re-examination of the premise that helping the Democratic party beat (or beat down) Bush is what modern American journalism is about?

Was that a premise? Or is there merely a suspicion that such motives might be prevalent among some journalists? And if it is a suspicion, is it warranted? I rather think it might be.

A lot of things 'round here are as sure as thermodynamics. That's the remarkable thing.

Motes, beams.


When are you going to get tired of setting up that strawman to flail at? The model of conspiracy you keep describing is from your head, and doesn't describe the method in which MSM works unconcsiously with the Democratic Party. You'll not figure out your conundrum until you get a little more realistic about the bias of MSM.

Jay Rosen

Realistic? Yes, Ma'am. I will try. Realistically: could you explain more of the method in which MSM works unconcsiously with the Democratic Party?


A telling indication of the bubble the press is in can be seen in an interview that Evan Thomas gave on C-SPAN last week on the "President In the Bubble" story!!

A caller asked for him to comment on Rockefeller's admitted conversations with ME leaders over a year prior to the war about US intentions to invade. He said he had no knowledge of it!!

Give me a break!! This has been reported in the MSM (was originally admitted by Rockefeller on MTP I believe) and widely repeated in the blogoshere.


Is there an anti-MSM bias among conservative posters on this website ???

How can you tell? Personally, we all are scrupulously fair and certainly never conspire against MSM (except at the secret meetings).

Rick Ballard

"could you explain more of the method in which MSM works unconcsiously with the Democratic Party?

Narrative Frame

Story selection to fit the frame

Selective editing of facts to reinforce the frame

Selective editing of adjectives and adverbs to reinforce negative "facts"

Promotion based upon attentiveness to writing which fits within frame

Hiring based upon perceived ability to genuflect to received wisdom expounded by editors

It's just a big affinity group Jay - nothing wrong with that - just a big group of editors and their sycophants propounding a vision that is unacceptable to an ever growing portion of the population. Just a group of people pooling their ignorance while propounding a schemata increasingly detached from their customer base. Nothing to worry about. The market will cure the ills. Watch - it's happening right this momenet.

In fact, I would wager that the Sulzberger family get rid of the Paunch & Billy show within five years. Not the NYT - just the current management. Sort of like what the Trib is attempting in LA.

David Brooks as a "conservative" voice? That's one of the best arguments possible concerning the detachment from reality occuring on 43rd St. Tough to figure out whether the NYT or Viacom has a worse case of intellectual sclerosis. Viacom might have a slight edge.


I admit I am biased against all MSM...Fox included. I don't believe any of it until someone I trust can confirm it.

On Friday for example a Ms. Spinner (what a name for a reporter!) of the Washington Post stated that perhaps most Iraqis wanted Saddam back. Then Brian Lamb asked if that would include the Kurds and Shiite? Probably not she replied!!

What led her to make that statement might have been the fact that she had done most of her reporting from the Sunni triangle.


It's a little like racism, Jay; when you are the object of it it seems a little different than when you are apart. You don't see the bias because you are part of it. Please explain the Swifties non-coverage, Mapes' fiasco, al Qaaqa, Jordan, the perversion of Iraqi war reporting, the failure to even announce to the UN that they have problems, the piling on Bush over Katrina, and on and on and on.

The answer to your question to me, that is the manner in which the MSM unconsciously helps the Democratic Party is no doubt being explicated by researchers digging into a nexus of three important cultural phenomena, the Vietnam War, the rise of the blogosphere, and the '04 elections. Investigate the Swifties, and the Aborted Favorite Son. The answers you are looking for are there.

Jay Rosen

The model of conspiracy you keep describing is from your head, and doesn't describe the method in which MSM works unconcsiously with the Democratic Party.

Well, kim, Clarice says in this thread: "with Simon and Shuster publishing Risen's book the old Viacom-CBS/publishing house/DNC megaphone arm is still operating, too." Would that be one of your unconscious things, or does it work consciously?

Neuro-conservative says: "It's not that NYTimes editors were too scared to pull an October surprise, it's simply that they thought they had better weapons in their arsenal." (Better weapons being the "missing stockpiles of weapons" story from October.) Again, would that be one of your "quite conscious" things--sounds like it--or part of "the method in which MSM works unconcsiously with the Democratic Party."

One more... Explaining why the Times held its hit piece until after the election, syl writes in this thread:

If the story wasn't ready before the election, then why not hold it until such a time they could make political hay with it.

If they held off 'til next year, the 2006 election would be about national security in general instead of Iraq. That wouldnt' be good.

Now, with the euphoria from the Iraqi election, is the perfect time...and kill the Patriot Act to boot. What's not to like.

Sounds pretty conscious to me. How about you, kim? But then I am just learning how to be "realistic" about this unconscious wing of the DNC thing so maybe you could help me out here.

r flanagan

Kim's theory of unconscious liberal bias is reasonable and certainly more credible than the Kerry/Sulzberger conspiracy hinted at by some. But even Kim's theory seems to misread Bill Keller.

During primary season I had an exchange with the Times ombudsman about John Tierney's biassed political column NOT to get him silenced but to have him moved to the Oped page. The ombudsman took my complaint to Keller who responded with a strong defense of Tierney's objectivity. Which didn't surprise me given Keller's own articles especially during his period as a special correspondent after losing the editor's job to Howell Raines(whose liberal bias I admit) .

And also given Keller's background- son of a small businessman - and his own refusal to
vote because of his desire to remain

Even if I were tempted to believe in conspiracies the last one I'd find credible would be one in which Keller conspired with Sulzberger , Kerry or any one at all to
orchestrate release of the NSA story to inflict maximum damage on Bush.


Realistically, Jay, that Spinner gal is an ass.


You know, Jay, maybe you are right. Maybe there is no "conspiracy". You read this, for example, and you think to yourself, maybe you just have a number of people of low intelligence thoroughly confused about the fact that they are just doing "what they always have", and all of a sudden there is a conspiracy on the right preventing them from speaking truth to power. Thus nixing their ability to fulfill their noble task of informing the little people -- that's us -- of what really is going on.

Mapes is obviously an extreme example -- but if this kind of self-delusion, even in less concentrated doses, is commonplace among journalists on the left, I don't think you have to look very hard to explain what you insist on calling a conspiracy.


Jay, a silly objection. The presence of unconscious bias(how else explain Spinner) doesn't rule out the presence of conscious and deliberate bias.

Get real here. This is too serious a subject for snark.


Rosen: You might journey back on memory lane and consider the MSM reaction to the Swifties. There was virtually uniform condemnation (Bob Schieffer editorialized on Face the Nation that they were shameful). But it turns out that most of what they were saying was obviously true...there was no "Chistmas in Cambodia" and there has been no confirmation of Kerry's scurrilous charges against the military and certainly no doubt that he made them, true or not, during a time of war. I suppose the truth about his medals will remain shrouded in mystery but there is no question that the MSM gave him a pass re his refusal to release his military records.

Refute the notion that the MSM was protecting Kerry.

I am waiting.


He really is in denial. More evidence of the seriousness of the MSM disease and a commentary on its prognosis. Denial is a very powerful protective device.

Look, Son, apparently you know a little bit about journalism. That you would attempt to trivialize this debate is a sign that you know we are right. You really can't answer our points.

We'd like to help. Truth is useful.

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