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Jewish World Review
July 5, 2006
/ 9 Tamuz, 5766
The newspaper of wreckage
When is a "secret" not a secret?
When The New York Times decides, in the interest of saving its old gray hide, that it is not.
On June 22, the paper trumpeted its expose of "a secret Bush administration program" to track terror finances. The banking program, reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen made unmistakably clear, was a "closely held secret." The front-page story referred to the secret nature of the program no less than eight times. A Times-produced Web video featuring Lichtblau promoted a brief interview in which he "reveal(ed) a secret Bush administration program to access financial records."
But by July 2, smarting from the public backlash against its blabbermouth coverage, the Times crew was backpedaling faster than circus monkeys on barrels hurtling over Niagara Falls. Suddenly, the "secret" was no secret at all.
Everybody who's anybody has known about the secret program all along, silly. New York Times ombudsman Byron Calame's belated defense of the Times' expose of the monitoring of the SWIFT banking program contained this revealing passage:
"There was a significant question as to how secret the (monitoring of the SWIFT banking program) was after five years. 'Hundreds, if not thousands, of people know about this,' (Executive Editor Bill) Keller claimed he was told by an official who talked to him on condition of anonymity."
"Hundreds, if not thousands, of people" have known about the program before the Times blabbed about it. Well, there's a scoop. So, why wasn't this reported in the original story and reflected in the original, front-page headline?
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There was no printed follow-up from lapdog Calame about Keller's assertion, which goes a good bit further than the claim by Times' apologists Richard Clarke and Roger Cressey. That mind-reading duo wrote in a Times op-ed that terrorists already assumed their financial transactions were being monitored. Calame curiously neglected to note that Keller's claim contradicted both the tone and facts presented in the Times' initial coverage by reporters Lichtblau and Risen.
Which is just as well, since Lichtblau himself is now contradicting his own story, too. On CNN's "Reliable Sources," facing withering criticism from talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Lichtblau blustered:
"When you have senior Treasury Department officials going before Congress, publicly talking about how they are tracing and cutting off money to terrorists, weeks and weeks before our story ran. USA Today, the biggest circulation in the country, the lead story on their front page four days before our story ran was the terrorists know their money is being traced, and they are moving it into -- outside of the banking system into unconventional means. It is by no means a secret." (emphasis added).
Hmm. What was that headline over Lichtblau's story again? Oh, yeah: "Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to block terror." Meanwhile, finance regulators and top government officials in Belgium (who apparently aren't among the "hundreds, if not thousands" who knew about the program) have ordered a probe into SWIFT, which is regulated by the Belgian central bank and answers to Belgian law. Bush-undermining Eurowheedlers are launching a debate in parliament over the program next week, and a private human rights lobbying group has filed formal complaints against the SWIFT banking consortium in 32 countries.
Lesson No. 1: Never trust the Times' headlines.
Lesson No. 2: Never trust what's printed under the Times' headlines.
Lesson No. 3: Never trust what comes out of the mouths of the Times' editors and reporters.
Avoid the newspaper of wreckage, and help keep American safe.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on JWR contributor Michelle Malkin's column by clicking here.
Michelle Malkin Archives
In Unhinged: Liberals Gone Wild
adj : affected with madness or insanity; [syn: brainsick, crazy, demented, distracted, disturbed, mad, sick, unbalanced]
The American Heritage Dictionary
*** Warning: Unhinged liberals are hazardous to the nation's health.
They're slashing your tires. Burning your lawns. Heaving pies at Republican pundits. Hurling racist epithets at minority conservatives. Nursing nutty conspiracy theories. And pining publicly for the murder of President Bush.
And they call us crazy?
In In Unhinged: Liberals Gone Wild, Michelle Malkin plays conservative Margaret Mead to the alien political creatures of the American Left. With uproarious detail and rollicking reportage, Malkin chronicles the bizarre world of leftists gone mad in their natural habitats: the mainstream media, academia, Hollywood, and Washington.
Unhinged unmasks liberals who've completely abandoned rationality and reality. They're taking chainsaws and bayonets to campaign signs. Running down political opponents with their cars. Setting fire to political opponents in effigy. Defacing war memorials. Swiping yellow ribbons off cars. And supporting the fragging of American troops.
In Unhinged, you'll meet:
- The Top 10 Unhinged Leftists, Celebrities, Media Liberals, and Politicians. - The Pennsylvania Democrat who repeatedly screamed "faggot" at his Republican opponents on the Senate floor. - The Florida Democrat who tried to run down former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris with his Cadillac. - The Democrat congressman who claimed the capture of Saddam Hussein was staged by GOP operatives to help the Bush re-election campaign. - The veteran newsman who claimed that Bush advisor Karl Rove and Osama bin Laden are working hand-in-hand to help the Republican Party. - And hundreds more unhinged liberals gone wild!
With wit, wisdom, and a bullet-proof vest, Michelle Malkin ruthlessly and raucously skewers the myths of liberal tolerance, peace, and civility. Unhinged shows how conservatives are driving their opponents mad. The good news for liberals? Self-help starts here.
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© 2005, Creators Syndicate