Friday, June 30, 2006

WHO NEEDS CENSORS? WE'LL DO IT OURSELVES! The latest rightwing fashion trend is slurring liberals by saying they're just like conservatives -- dead conservatives, that is, whose other uses are past. As seen here previously, Miles Gloriosus compared "netroots" liberals to the John Birch Society, and today the Wall Street Journal compares Bill Keller to Colonel McCormack of the Chicago Tribune. How I look forward to a long National Review essay on the new Joe McCarthy, John Conyers.

The editorial, which targets the New York Times for treasonous reporting, is revealing in other ways:
According to Tony Fratto, Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, he first contacted the Times some two months ago. He had heard Times reporters were asking questions about the highly classified program involving Swift, an international banking consortium that has cooperated with the U.S. to follow the money making its way to the likes of al Qaeda or Hezbollah. Mr. Fratto went on to ask the Times not to publish such a story on grounds that it would damage this useful terror-tracking method.

Sometime later, Secretary John Snow invited Times Executive Editor Bill Keller to his Treasury office to deliver the same message. Later still, Mr. Fratto says, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the leaders of the 9/11 Commission, made the same request of Mr. Keller. Democratic Congressman John Murtha and Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte also urged the newspaper not to publish the story.

The Times decided to publish anyway, letting Mr. Fratto know about its decision a week ago Wednesday. The Times agreed to delay publishing by a day to give Mr. Fratto a chance to bring the appropriate Treasury official home from overseas...
Seems like the Administration had a pretty good heads-up on the story. So if its publication was going to be so very dangerous to national interests, why didn't the Feds get a judge to issue a restaining order against the Times? It's not unprecedented.

Failing that, they could have firebombed the printing presses. This is war, people!

The editorial defends the Journal's own reporting of the story, not on the but-Mom-they-did-it-first basis already floated by other wingers, but on the grounds that WSJ's version of the story was fed to them by Bush's people as a way of getting, if not ahead, at least abreast of the Times' coverage. John Peter Zenger may not be proud, but Lee Atwater certainly must be.

Perhaps, contra Dr. Johnson, patriotism is actually the last refuge of a hack.

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