Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Press criticism

Goldberg on point:
It is telling that the only leak that troubles the press and its cheerleaders is the Valerie Plame leak. When Dana Priest revealed the location of secret “CIA prisons,” she was rewarded with a Pulitzer. When Lichtblau and James Risen disclosed the NSA surveillance program, they got Pulitzers, too. These revelations caused serious damage to America’s ability to work with allies to fight terrorism and arguably put lives in danger. And yet the only leak to scandalize the media establishment was Plame’s identity as a CIA employee. Why? Because it (allegedly) exposed the only serious enemy America faces: Karl Rove.

Look, I’m all in favor of a free press, and I oppose prior constraint. And of course, there’s partisan cynicism and hypocrisy at play. (The White House loves to leak beneficial information to the press.) But there are merits to press criticism as well. What infuriates me is how anybody who raises these criticisms is caught in a Catch-22.

It works like this: The media gets to reveal anything it wants for any reason it sees fit in the name of “the people’s right to know.” But when the people, in their common sense, object to the disclosure of secret programs they expected their government to be conducting all along, the cognoscenti immediately ridicule the people for their ignorance. And when politicians or pundits echo the same concerns, the press immediately circles the wagons, declaring in its coverage and commentary that any such criticism is out of bounds, even un-American. It seems that for many of these people, free speech is a lot like government secrecy. Both are only legitimate when the New York Times says so.

2 Comments:

Anonymous New York Times said...

Goldberg has been "on point" for a while now. We feel it would be legitimate at this time for you to practice additional free speech!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Goldberg does all the work -- I just have to link! It's a win-win situation!

1:22 PM  

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