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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Blogger Botch

If anyone hasn't read up on the ridiculous case that was made by some conservative bloggers that the NY Times had somehow attempted to retaliate against Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney by publishing pictures and locations of their vacation homes in a Travel section article, you must.

The theory went as follows:

The NY Times published a story outlining the details of a government anti-terrorist program in which banking data was successfully used to track terrorists.
The Bush administration and its supporters spoke out forcefully against the NY Times story, with Bush calling it "disgraceful", and some going so far as to call the Times' publishing of the story an act of treason.
Then, (and here's where you must put on your tinfoil hats), the NY Times, so outraged by the criticism it received, published photos and locations of the vacation homes of Rumsfeld and Cheney in a story on a resort area.

The above scenario was treated as gospel by some conservative bloggers, to the point that some started posting the name and address of the NY Times photographer who took the picture, as well as those of some of the NY Times editorial staff, in addition to putting out a call for others:
So, in the school of what's good for the goose is good for the gander, we are providing this link so YOU may help the blogosphere in locating the homes (perhaps with photos?) of the editors and reporters of the New York Times.
Let's start with the following New York Times reporters and editors: Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr., Bill Keller, Eric Lichtblau, and James Risen. Do you have an idea where they live?

Go hunt them down and do America a favor. Get their photo, street address, where their kids go to school, anything you can dig up, and send it to the link above. This is your chance to be famous - grab for the golden ring!
Of course, when the fact came out that Rumsfeld had given permission for his house to be featured in the article, there weren't many retractions or apologies for the publishing of addresses of supposed perpetrators of a misdeed that evidently never occured.

Let me be clear. With the facts as they have come out, I actually do not support the writing of the original story by the NY Times. They have done nothing to convince me that the story did not harm a very successful anti-terrorist operation, and they did not succeed in convincing me that the program was anything but legal, so therefore certainly not worthy of publication at the risk of shutting down the operation. Their editorial on Sunday which basically read "Trust us that we always do the right thing - but don't trust the government!" did nothing to change the direction of my take on this story. So there's certainly a case to be made against the NY Times here.

But still. One has to wonder whether it the conservative blogosphere do themselves any favors when they come up with these crazy conspiracy theories. Ther's a case to be made here, people. But you'll do much better if you just stick to the facts.

A terrific (and hilarious) summary of the whole flap can be found here, by blogger Glenn Greenwald:
I learned today from Michelle Malkin, Powerline's John Hinderaker, Red State, and David Horowitz, among others, that The New York Times not only wants to help Al Qaeda launch terrorist attacks on the United States, but that newspaper also want to do everything possible to enable The Terrorists to assassinate Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. That is the conclusion which these sober leaders of "conservative" punditry drew after reading this article in the Times' Travel section, which features the tiny, charming village of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where both Cheney and Rumsfeld have vacation homes.

Darkly lurking beneath the rustic, playful tone of the NYT Travel article is a homicidal plot on the part of the reporters and editors of the Times to provide a roadmap to their Al Qaeda allies so that they find Cheney and Rumsfeld (and maybe even Mrs. Rumsfeld) and murder them.

...Being an ardent admirer of such investigative journalism, I wanted to add to this scoop. On June 8, 2003, the same New York Times published a lengthy article entitled "The Ex-President Next Door," which provided every possible detail one would ever want to know, and then many more beyond that, about Bill and Hillary Clinton's new home in Chappaqua, New York and the lives they lead there. The article contained numerous photographs of their home, and all sorts of information about where they eat, recreate and jog.

...The article essentially provided a daily roadmap of Bill Clinton's day. But that was completely different, because everyone knows that the Clintons are good friends of Al Qaeda's and have nothing to worry about. When The Times publishes extensive photographs of the Clintons' private home and reports on their daily activities, that's done with the purpose of glorifying them. But when The Times publishes an article on the town where Cheney and Rumsfeld have vacation homes, and includes a photograph of the mailbox of Rumsfeld's house, it's all part of a nefarious plot to tyrannize prominent conservatives and send Al Qaeda hit squads to get them.
You have to laugh. Read the whole thing, as well as his update here.

14 Comments:

Blogger The Town Crier said...

same thing happened a few weeks ago when all the honest media (all 2 outlets among hundreds) admitted that they misquoted a mistaken false quote that was fabricated and never actually said by congressman john murtha, though it was treated "like gospel" by the conservative blogging community that had a field day with it and when the turth came out, they said nothing. some in the media even ignored the truth and kept plugging away at it, same as they did just a couple of weeks before when two false stories about inner strife with the dem. party were top drudge headlines, and they too were then disproven as total fiction.

8:53 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Yeah, but this story, with the attempts at retaliation against the supposed crime of the photographer (who had Rumsfeld's full permission, mind you) by posting her name, home address and phone number was just nuts.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Chaim said...

I doubt Rumsfeld wanted them to publish a picture of exactly where the security camera is hidden.

I think we're all missing the big picture here and that is that right now the Right and Left hate each other so much that no conspiracy theory is too small or to big.

No one is retracting anything because the general atmosphere is one of hatred and mistrust on both sides. So maybe this time they over reacted, but there is still a feeling that the NY Times is a tool of the left and they are hoping to make anyone on the Right look bad with every article.

Thats not gonna change anytime soon, unless both sides start learning to bridge the gap.

9:56 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


I think we're all missing the big picture here and that is that right now the Right and Left hate each other so much that no conspiracy theory is too small or to big.


That's a fair assessment. But still, it doesn't justify the retaliatory move on the part of some bloggers of posting names and addresses of Ny Times employees in response to a perceived motive that simply wasn't there.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Chaim said...

You are 100 percent right. People should never let it get to the point where someone could get hurt. Michele Malkin and everyone else on the Right that went nuts should apologize, but that wont happen.

The fact still remains that people are very upset and especially on the Right, people are sick and tired of the NY Times. So the Rumsfeld home thing, for once, wasn't a real attack, but the paper has long ceased being a legitimate and unbiased news outlet for all Americans.

The stakes are very high on both sides, and I've read some stomach turning things on sadly more than a few large blogs on the Left. The language being thrown about on both sides is getting to a boiling point. It's only turning off moderate people and mainstream America. Less people want to get involved every day.

People on both sides have stopped acting rational and it seems with every passing month, inching closer to the midterm elections and then the '08 election things are only going to get worse.

Right now, this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed in this country.

We all need one major time out.

10:15 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

We all need one major time out.

Well said.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

"there is still a feeling that the NY Times is a tool of the left and they are hoping to make anyone on the Right look bad with every article."

A 'tool of the left' really isn't exactly right. 'A tool of it's left wing publisher' is more like it. But who cares? It's their paper and they can slant it any way they want. Like any newspaper, network, blog, whatever.

'it doesn't justify the retaliatory move on the part of some bloggers of posting names and addresses of Ny Times employees in response to a perceived motive that simply wasn't there.'

What's wrong with publishing their addresses and the like? Are they special?

Since it's Independance Day I figured I'll flip through the Constitution and see where reporters, or anyone else, has a right to privacy as to their address.

It's okay for a paper to print the name, picture and home address of anyone merely accused of a crime and drag their name through the mud, as long as most of the facts are seem right at the time. If the charges are dropped the paper has no duty to report on that if it doesn't serve their interests

I assume there must be some special provision in the constitution that prohibits the reporting of the names and addresses of other people, who are "accused" of being employees of 'a tool of a left wing publisher'. The search may take a while, so if someone else finds the "right to a secret home address" first, let me know ;-)

10:33 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

sfunny i had seen a piece on the picture of the camera at rumsfelds house and thought nothing of it - then i see the blogs and now this it is truly laughable.

this wh campaign to demonize the times is funny altogether. they constantly need to find something to be bad in order to look good - yet there have been stories recently where of course, information was leaked on purpose to the time to make them look good.

10:40 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

GG:
Constituionally allowed or not, it soesn't make it right to do something in a retaliatory fashion over what has now been proved to be a complete misjudgement.

Free speech is covered by the constitution as well, yet we in the blogosphere spend many minutes every day parsing what is acceptable for people to express in public discourse, and what is not. This is not an issue of legality, so much as a question of whether a response is appropriate.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

People should never let it get to the point where someone could get hurt. Michele Malkin and everyone else on the Right that went nuts should apologize, but that wont happen.

I agree. But that said, the errors of the right and left are instructive. The right errs because they attempted to protect, too zealously, the V.P. and Rumsfeld. The left errs in an attempt to aid and comfort enemies of the United States.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'feeling that the NY Times is a tool of the left '

Those of us on the Left see it as a tool of the Right for keeping Judith Miller on the payroll as a shill for the Bush administration.

Personally, I have no sympathy for the conspiracy theories of either the Left or the Right. A plague on both their houses!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

The NY Times is a tool for the Right? That the NY Times is a tool for the left is deemed a "conspiracy theory?"

You're a droll fellow, Charlie.

11:29 AM  
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