If perception is reality…

…and in politics it most often is, then the worry that the House and Senate resolutions condemning publication of classified materials do not name the NY Times or the LA Times may be less serious.

Every media outlet that I have watched on cable news over the last 24 hours has portrayed the House and now Senate resolutions as responses to the NY Times‘ decision to publish the classified anti-terrorism SWIFT program. In print the many stories are along the same lines. Granted, some note the absences of the specific names, but most appear to be similar to this Reuters article:

Republicans intensified their criticism of news media over security issues on Thursday as the U.S. House of Representatives debated a resolution that condemns public disclosure of secret surveillance programs.

Republican lawmakers in both houses of Congress said government employees who revealed details of a secret Treasury Department effort to monitor bank transfers to the New York Times and other news outlets had undermined national security.

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.

Whereas on June 22, 2006, news organizations publicly disclosed the existence of an ongoing, highly classified national security program to track terrorists’ financial transactions, known formally as the “Terrorist Finance Tracking Program”

I would be willing to wager that when Cornyn takes the floor to talk about his resolution, the debate turns to the NY Times and their irresponsible reporting. After all, his first two grafs here are all about the Times. Who are liberals who dislike the resolution going to be forced to defend? The NY Times…that’s who.

The resolutions appear to have tight enough language to cover all the bases: leaking and subsequent publishing by media outlets of classified info. Yes, it would be nice to see the culprits named. As I said, I would have preferred that. But I expect the culprits to be thoroughly named in the debate surrounding the resolutions. If even the MSM understand what this is about, then I feel pretty good about it.

2 Responses to “If perception is reality…”

  1. TimChapmanBlog.com » Blog Archive » Why? Says:

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

  2. TimChapmanBlog.com » Blog Archive » 227-183 Says:

    […] As noted previously, the coverage and debate are all focused on the NY Times…the more I pay attention to this the more I like the resolution. […]

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