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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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