WikiLeaks, The New York Times, and Double Standards


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The New York Times, like so many other left-leaning old media outlets, forever denies that ideology plays any part in the way it makes its editorial decisions. Instead, editors and columnists continually climb onto the lofty pedestal of purity and declare they are merely employing the highest journalistic standards. Given several high profile scandals that rocked the Times in recent years, that pedestal was already in serious need of repair. Now, with their ideologically-driven duplicity on full display with their extensive coverage of the latest WikiLeaks release, one cannot help but wonder how editors at the Times can continue to look at themselves in their mirrors.

Ironically, it was a year ago when the Times decided that a bit of news that rocked the rest of the world was not fit to print in their hallowed pages. When the “climategate” scandal broke in late November of 2009, the Times took a pass. How does one ignore a story that involves the heart and soul of what is supposedly the greatest crisis our planet has ever faced? How did the Times – a publication always so very eager to sniff out the very hint of a scandal involving conservatives, Republicans or corporations – convince itself that it shouldn’t investigate this one? The answer involves a two-step exercise in self-deception. First, you have to convince yourself that the reason that you’re ignoring the story has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it’s at odds with your cherished worldview. Then, you have to invent some pseudo-logical contrivance to explain why you didn’t have to – couldn’t – deal with the uncomfortable story.

When climategate first broke, Andy Revkin, then the environmental editor at the Times, explained his paper’s non-coverage of the climategate story this way:

The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.

Many readers howled, wondering why The New York Times would publish illegally-obtained material like the Pentagon Papers, but was too squeamish to talk about climategate documents that were available to anyone in the world with access to the Internet. New York Times public ombudsman Clark Hoyt tried to explain how his employer had split this particular hair a few days later:

[T]he decision, which was driven by advice from a Times attorney. The lawyer, George Freeman, told me that there is a large legal distinction between government documents like the Pentagon Papers, which The Times published over the objections of the Nixon administration, and e-mail between private individuals, even if they may receive some government money for their work. He said the Constitution protects the publication of leaked government information, as long as it is newsworthy and the media did not obtain it illegally. But the purloined e-mail, he said, was covered by copyright law in the United States and Britain.

While an attorney usually makes for a convenient shield, Times attorney George Freeman provided scant cover in this instance. There was nothing “private” about correspondence between the scientists at the heart of climategate. That’s not my opinion, that’s what the scientists themselves said. In order to duck Freedom of Information Act requests, the official position of the climategate scientists was that their work and their correspondence belonged to the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and, accordingly, the scientists could not release documents that were essentially IPCC property. Clearly, if correspondence between two diplomats is not private in the Times’ eyes, it’s ludicrous to suggest that correspondence between two scientists working for a governmental organization like the IPCC is somehow different.

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  • Bear from Russia

    A small Putin's interview about the new START and WikiLeaks to Larry King. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/11/30/pu

  • umad

    why you mad though?

  • bob maram

    a great article. perhaps the masthead of the new york times should be changed from ÁLL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINTT TO " ALL THE NEWSTHAT FITS WE PRINT. bob maram

  • badaboo

    NYT motto – "we will not be scooped by the Guardian " .

    ….and therein lies their patriotism and morality .

  • badaboo

    …..and ..uh …Assange is now on the lamb , for RAPE charges in Sweden .

  • R/T

    WHERE are the headlines ??

    • tagalog

      Well, come on, it's not like he went to a private party and said Strom Thurmond would have made a great President.

  • Rifleman

    Pay no attention to the wikileaks server behind a chicom firewall. It's starting to look like their operation, which should make Thomas Friedman happy.

    Standards, ethics, and legalities have been highly situational at the nyt since the 70s, and not just in their news. They're outraged and say it's an injustice when another business treat their employees or competitors like the nyt does theirs.

  • kafir4life

    Is there anybody that takes the ny times as journalism anymore anyway? Aren't they on the verge of going under? It's completely useless, and only serves to waste paper. And for anybody that says it could be used to line a cat box or bird cage, PLEASE think of the animals. Why would you put poop where they poop? At best, it's redundent.

  • davarino

    Obama and company are such ameteurs, unless this is what they intended. Let these bleeding heart liberals in office and what happens? You cant get back the Iranian hostages for one year, interest rates skyrocket. You sell or give away lots of military weapons designs to the Chinese for donations to your reelection campaign. You play nice with all the worlds dictators and leak all our sensitive government documents, print a gillion dollars and give them away to all your political allies and force legislation through that no one wants.

  • davarino

    Oh ya, and everyone knew the NYT was America's Pravda

  • Cuban Refugee

    If The Times had deigned to print the real news about "climategate," it would have been on page 45 of the classifieds. Black and white and red all over … the NY Times is a willing participant in the perfect storm that has gathered to bring down our country from within. Its death rattle is audible, and it has joined the growing chorus of moribund leftist print outlets which are going down in flames for their bias and distortion of the news. Pravda on the Hudson? No, even Pravda has published articles sympathetic to the right.

  • MBANJ

    I miss the NY Herald Tribune, the Journal American and the good old NY Times as the 3 biggies of NY and American journalism. Today the NYT is looking to sell off the Boston sports team which is a shame, but times have really tightened on legitimate papers. I feel bad that I have no real advice other than for them to return to their roots as a legitimate news source, but I fear that my advice will not keep them profitable in this perverted world just now. Meanwhile, we would be fools to not understand that it is no longer valid food for the mind we are being fed here. Yeah, good news if available is buried….

  • http://q.com Steve Chavez

    The bigger question should be, "Who in the State Department, or other Departments, is leaking these types of documents?" BUT, since these Wikileaks are looked it as minor, WHAT TYPES OF REAL TOP SECRETS ARE OUT THERE THAT WE DON'T KNOW OF?

    AMERICAN COMMUNISTS, who are still bitter at the fall of the Soviet Union, a country they loved more than their own, HAVE INFILTRATED ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE WHITE HOUSE, AND THEY ARE GATHERING TOP SECRETS EVERY DAY TO THEN PASS THEM ON TO KGB PUTIN AND EVERY OTHER ENEMY THAT IS BEING WRITTEN ABOUT IN THE DOCUMENTS SO NOW THEY ARE ONE STEP AHEAD OF US!!!

    • American_Flag

      You are probably 100% correct. What is wrong with us? Travesty.

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      its was a 19 years old PFC From england who's father was a U.S. SGT

  • American_Flag

    Plain and simple – The NY Slimes is a disgusting double-standard news outlet. Oh BTW, they reduced the size of their BIG PAPER by about 20 %. If you recall they were one of the largest papers around – sporting either 6 or 8 colums wide. Now they are down to 4 or 6 colums wide. Can you say "subscription problems" boys and girls?

    I would not pick up dog-doo with the NY Times. It would be direspectful to the dog.

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      you do know the the NYT Is now owned by a politica pig and al drug dealer we live in Jericho and the walls of freedom are coming down big time.

  • Bear from Russia

    Wikileaks and the war in Sourth Osetia (Georgia) http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2010/11/wi

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      No one wants to understand that the People of old mother russia are the only ones fighting the real Terrorists and winning that war. the monkeys inside washington will someday soon force the people into a third world monkey war. I would be happy to see the people of Russia win the big war, after all the USA Will soon become just one more monkey nation and will become Mexico city in all things.

      why would i love to see this nation go up in total fire, look at what happend in Arizona and the border and the new back door Amnesty and the lagalization of drug dealers like obama and his monkey owners and the murder of Americans by the political military arms of mexico city here inside the FORMER USA. and the coming mass death camps being setup by our owners.

  • samsgran1948

    I am wondering why Pinch is embarrassing the bloody bejeebers out of a Democrat administration? This is the kind of stunt he would have pulled against W or any other Republican. Pinch has a very liberal administration, and as we all saw over the past four or so years, has his nose stuck so far up O's posterior that his head will never see the light of day again. The State Department, which is notorious for having its own liberal agenda, has a very liberal Secreatary of State, something else Pinch should love to the bottom of his shriveled little soul. So again: Why did Pinch go out of his way to embarrass and hamstring a liberal Democrat president, a liberal Democrat Secretary of State and a very, very liberal Democrat Department of State? (Yes, I know the Pentagon Papers were released when Johnson, a Democrat, was in office, but back then the NYT still had a shred of journalistic integrity, and Pinch wasn't calling the shots.)

    Just as an aside, the ClimateGate files weren't the only thing Pinch refused to publish; he also refused to publish the Danish cartoons.

    • David

      The Pentagon papers were released when Nixon, a Republicam, was president.

  • topperj

    When you google the NY Times, it comes up RAG.

  • http://wwwtwosetsofbooks.com/ patti

    Sulzberger-Style Patriotism: The day Bill Keller feared media attention might 'raise the temperature'.. http://t.co/SzQb1S1

    http://wwwtwosetsofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/sul

  • Monkey Man

    The Wikileaks proliferation in these media outlets definitely shows the loathing of modern democracies by the leftist media. Would they ever publish those cartoons that showed images of that killer who is immitated on such a large scale today? Of course not! The left is more committed to acting as proxies of Islam than ever before. They are more willing to force the rest of us onto soup lines than they are willing to protect our borders. Remember, liberalism is a mental disorder and a danger to the West. If the Left wishes to live as dhimmi, then they should move to Iran and no longer act as a fifth collumn to law abiding western citizens. The desire of the left is submission.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    The New York Times has always had a political and race double standards its normal and as for wikileaks also has a double standard its all about power and money and the woman who come with power over others.
    But soon the so called USA Will be in the camp of the third world and all of the evil will come-out and all of the evil and murder will be part of the day to day life of all of you. justice and laws will mean nothing in the new ideals and new monkey Ideolgy of monkey people with a full agenda that all monkeys have.

    In other words we as a people are doomed to become a side note in history, so be happy soon we all will know what the third worlds people know, NOTHING.

  • Ghostwriter

    You'll be happy to know that Interpol yesterday put out an arrest warrent against Assange and his massive ego for what might be a rape charge in Sweden. I'll be honest here. If these charges have some validity,it wouldn't surprise me. This guy is a slimy,no-good creep who deserves whatever happens to him.

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      that is good but been on the news for two days.

  • badaboo

    Well he's making far more enemies than just the US . No telling who might whack him . LOL….it'll be like who shot J.R. ?

    • Dr. Sandy Kramer

      Unfortunately, Assange cannot be tried for treason by the United States. You must be a U.S. citizen to be tried for treason by the U.S.. Australia could try him, but it is highly unlikely for for political reasons…

  • Jobe

    In my College Prep Language Arts 9 class, I was trying to explain situational ethics. I was able to use the marital statistics that I recently read on line to show the relationship between prevailing conditions and responsibility. The next time it comes up in class, I’ll use the Times sliding standards for publication. I think even 9th graders will understand what the Times apparently does not.

  • Dean from Ohio

    NY TImes – feckless, corrupt, immoral, decadent, false, deceptive, wretched, cowardly, arrogant, blind, hateful, rotten and putrid–and that's just today.

  • SURESH

    IF WIKILEAK HAD PUBLISHED SECRET DOCUMENTS FROM IRAN, NORTH KOREA, RUSSIA OR CHINA THE WESTERN GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE LAUDED THEM. IF THESE COUNTRIES HAD TRIED TO GEAT MR. ASSANGE ARESTED THE SAME WESTERN GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE SHED CROCODILE TEARS ON HOW THESE GOVERNMENTS ARE TRYING TO SUPRESS FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND VOICES OF DISSENT. THAT IS THE DOUBLE STANDARD THAT YOU SHOULD BE CRITICIZING