Why?

Why go to the trouble to author a resolution that is clearly intended to rebuke the NY Times for disclosing classified information about an anti-terrorist government program and then not name the NY Times?

What is the point?

Question: if the NY Times had not run the story in question last week would this resolution have been authored? No.

Was their a culprit or not? If the answer is yes…which it is, then why would you not lay blame where blame is due?

UPDATE: I have been watching the new all evening and repeatedly the media refers to this resolution as the “congressional resolution condemning the NY Times,” and of course, effectively it is. As mentioned above, where it not for the Times irresponsible reporting, this resolution would not exist. But why not just make it it explicit? You could still add a clause in the resolution that addressed the MSM in general.

I suppose, however, at this point, we will have to take what we can get.

UPDATE: I am inclined to agree with these sentiments:

The question before the Congress, the one on which the House –inexplicably, and to the shame of the GOP majority there, has apparently punted– is did the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times injure the war effort by assisting terrorists in avoiding capture?

All the rest is posturing.

The resolutions in both House and Senate are being brought forward because of the stories from Friday.

Not referencing the stories is clearly understood by observors to be an acknowledgment that these papers are privileged in a way soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are not: They get to make mistakes, and not be called to account.

If the House and Senate don’t call them to account, and with specificity, these papers and others will repeat their behaviors.

Sadly, when I say we are going to have to take what we can get, it does not mean I think the resolution is great. That comment is more of a reflection of a conservative who is used to being let down…it seems to happen too often these days. Congress is full of half measures and watered down PC resolutions. The fact that a resolution was even introduced at all has to, to some degree, be a good thing. It means GOP leadership is not completely deaf. But I worry that this resolution was introduced half-heartedly — with the intention of satiating a justly outraged base rather than honing in on the real issue at hand. Friends on the Hill tell me that I am wrong…that this is about going bigger than just the NY Times and LA Times.

UPDATE: Ok, after some thought, I am calming down about this one…

7 Responses to “Why?”

  1. n. nescio Says:

    Possibly it has to do with other newspapers like the Washington Post publishing the same story? It’s not like the NYT is the sole offender here. Maybe they were the first out of the gate, but that doesn’t make it acceptable for the other papers to do what the NYT did. Disclosing such a program is either right or it’s not, one can’t condemn the NYT exclusively simply because they’re the liberal rag conservatives love to hate. It was either wrong to disclose such information, in which case ALL newspapers who published the story are just as guilty as the NYT of all the ridiculous cries of “treason” I’ve been hearing lately; or it’s not wrong to disclose such information, at which point the NYT just becomes a target of convenience - not like they didn’t go out of their way to paint a giant bullseye on their backs. This is perhaps a false dichotomy; if somebody can suggest other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

    Think of it in purely political vote-winning, campaign-contribution-earning terms: if somebody cries “treason” and proposes legislation censuring the NYT for what they’ve done, they’d look awfully stupid once people started pointing out that other newspapers did the exact same thing. Looking stupid is not something *any* politican can afford this fall - though many of our elected representatives seem to be trying their best to do just that.

  2. actus Says:

    “What is the point?”

    To have a chilling effect, and score political points, while stoking the wingnut myth that the press is on the side of the beheaders.

  3. Tim Says:

    nescio,

    The NY Times broke the story and is a serial offender. I would prefer that the resolution acknowledge that fact.

    As I see it, this is simple. If the NY Times had not acted, this resolution would not exist.

    Regarding cries of “treason,” I have not gone that far and do not intend to. Treason, as I understand it, means secretly plotting behind the scenes in the hopes that the government will never figure out what you are doing. That doesn’t appear to be what the NY Times has done here. But they most certainly, IMHO, have acted recklessy and with disregard for the future success of the GWOT and the national security of the United States.

  4. n. nescio Says:

    Tim: can’t say I’ve discoursed with you much here (seeing as how i only showed up yesterday) but it’s really good to hear from a more moderate conservative - one gets really tired of hearing all the sputter from the “who needs those inalienable rights, anyway? we’re at WAR!!” crowd.

    If the NY Times had not acted, the resolution would not exist? Do you honestly believe that the Washington Post or the L.A. Times would have not bothered running their stories if the NYT hadn’t? Granted, letting the NYT be first out the gate means they’re the ones who draw the fire, especially *because* they’re the NYT. It was my understanding that there were quite a few people who leaked that information to the press - and if you wanted to get information like that out, you’d have to be pretty stupid to give it *just* to the NYT. Perhaps they’re “serial offenders”, true; but it seems to me that the resolutions are about the media publishing information on the SWIFT leak, and not about previous actions of the NYT.

  5. Tim Says:

    I must confess….my opinion on the importance of the resolutions naming the NY Times has been in constant flux over the last 24 hours. The more I look over the wording of the resolution the more I feel like they do a pretty good job of covering the necessary territory. Still, I would like to see some mention of the Times…but I think I am going to chill out for a little bit about this and see how this plays out.

    After all, in politics perception is everything. The media reports these resolutions as anti NY Times resolutions…so effectively they are.

    Regarding the other papers: I guess the question is where did they get their story? Was the publishing of their stories a biproduct of the NY Times story? I think so…but don’t know for sure.

    I also would not assume that they would run the story. They may have, but their track record is not as egregious as that of the NY Times.

  6. Anon Says:

    Like Tim, I’ve gone back and forth on this in the past 24 hours. A. I think the idea of a congressional resolution is just dumb. The question I wrestle with is “were they wrong to publish.” On one hand, anyone with half a brain knew this was going on. The President said they were doing it, the AG said they were doing it and it’s not rocket science to think they were doing this even if they hadn’t said they were doing it. At the same time, I think we all knew for years that NSA et al, could track a satellite phone. You would think the bad guys knew that too. In the late 90’s someone leaked to the Washington Post that we were listening to Bin Laden’s satellite phone. It was never used again after that day. Now, should he have thought we could do it and probably were, yes. Apparantly did he, no. That all being said, I think the leaking of the supposed secret prisons in Europe and the wire tapping were much more damaging to the war on terror than this development.

  7. TimChapmanBlog.com » Blog Archive » If perception is reality… Says:

    […] The NY Times is on the first graf or two of most articles. I wanted to see the NY Times named in the resolution. But if the media understands the resolutions to be aimed squarely at the NY Times and any other outlets that may be as reckless, then the resolution serves a purpose. Read the first two grafs of John Cornyn’s resolution: Condemning the unauthorized disclosure and publication of classified information about the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, and other vital counter-terrorism programs. […]

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