Skip to comments.Sulzberger Responds to 'WSJ' Editorial Slamming the 'NYT'
Posted on 06/30/2006 10:53:12 AM PDT by mathprof
After remaining mum for the past week, even as controversy swirled around newspapers' revealing the banking records surveillance program, the Wall Street Journal editoral page weighed in today. Although the Journal published its own story just hours after The New York Times -- which has taken the most heat -- its editorial defended its own action while blasting the Times.
It even included a personal slam at Times' publisher, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. and said the Times did not want to win, but rather obstruct, the war on terror.
Sulzberger responded this afternoon: "I know many of the reporters and editors at The Wall Street Journal and have greater faith in their journalistic excellence than does the Editorial Page of their own paper. I, for one, do not believe they were unaware of the importance of what they were publishing nor oblivious to the impact such a story would have."
Among other things, the editorial criticized the Times for using the Journal as "its ideological wingman" to deflect criticism from the right. And it pointed out that the news and editorial departments are quite separate at the paper and if given the option the editorial side would not have printed the Times' story.
Finally, it explained how it got its own story, then slammed the Times for a wide range of sins, claiming that the "current political clamor" is "warning to the press about the path the Times is walking."
The Times has defended its reporting, saying publication has served America's public interest. Its executive editor, Bill Keller, said in a statement on Thursday that the paper took seriously the risks of reporting on intelligence.
"We have on many occasions withheld information when lives were at stake," Keller said. "However, the administration simply did not make a convincing case that describing our efforts to monitor international banking presented such a danger. Indeed, the administration itself has talked publicly and repeatedly about its successes in the area of financial surveillance."
Journal editors have not responded to repeated requests from E&P for comment this week.
Here are a few excerpts from Friday's Journal editorial. *
We recount all this because more than a few commentators have tried to link the Journal and Times at the hip. On the left, the motive is to help shield the Times from political criticism. On the right, the goal is to tar everyone in the "mainstream media." But anyone who understands how publishing decisions are made knows that different newspapers make up their minds differently.
Some argue that the Journal should have still declined to run the antiterror story. However, at no point did Treasury officials tell us not to publish the information. And while Journal editors knew the Times was about to publish the story, Treasury officials did not tell our editors they had urged the Times not to publish. What Journal editors did know is that they had senior government officials providing news they didn't mind seeing in print. If this was a "leak," it was entirely authorized....
The problem with the Times is that millions of Americans no longer believe that its editors would make those calculations in anything close to good faith. We certainly don't. On issue after issue, it has become clear that the Times believes the U.S. is not really at war, and in any case the Bush Administration lacks the legitimacy to wage it.
So, for example, it promulgates a double standard on "leaks," deploring them in the case of Valerie Plame and demanding a special counsel when the leaker was presumably someone in the White House and the journalist a conservative columnist. But then it hails as heroic and public-spirited the leak to the Times itself that revealed the National Security Agency's al Qaeda wiretaps.
Mr. Keller's open letter explaining his decision to expose the Treasury program all but admits that he did so because he doesn't agree with, or believe, the Bush Administration. "Since September 11, 2001, our government has launched broad and secret anti-terror monitoring programs without seeking authorizing legislation and without fully briefing the Congress," he writes, and "some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight." Since the Treasury story broke, as it happens, no one but Congressman Ed Markey and a few cranks have even objected to the program, much less claimed illegality.
Perhaps Mr. Keller has been listening to his boss, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who in a recent commencement address apologized to the graduates because his generation "had seen the horrors and futility of war and smelled the stench of corruption in government.
"Our children, we vowed, would never know that. So, well, sorry. It wasn't supposed to be this way," the publisher continued. "You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights," and so on.
Forgive us if we conclude that a newspaper led by someone who speaks this way to college seniors has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it.
The Times has defended its reporting, saying publication has served America's public interest.
Mr. Sulzburger, a couple of questions.
1. Who determines what is in America's public interest?
2. What public interest was served?
I have seen no public outcry that the Government reveal all the details of how it is tracking and capturing terrorists. Indeed, the only outcry we see is that the government be successful.
It is CLEAR, beyond a reasonable doubt clear, that you think you, the New York Times, are more capable of determining what is in the public's interest than the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury, elected members of congress, and the chairmen of the 9/11 commission.
That sir, is the height of arrogance.
"some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight."
Now We're getting some where! Could We please have a list of those individuals.
Maybe I"ll subscribe to the WSJ sometime in the near future. The enemy of my enemy is my friend,,,right?
Oh, isn't it now?
You've got some new words! Nice.
I concur. I understated a little. :-)
I think NYT's slide into irrelevancy is the best thing to happen in a while. It is long overdue. I also think the people at helm at NYT should stay on for as long as possible till the NYT is on the same level as the Village Voice or worse. I am of the opinion that we don't need one "Newspaper of Record" - better to have mutiple newspapers of record or sources.
I'm renewing my WSJ subscription. It took courage to run that editorial.
They've got us dead to rights on this one...
Kudos. Great. Luvvvv it. Best I've seen in a while.
Thanks for the tip. I don't follow the WSJ much, so I would not have known that.
So Pinch and Keller are crying wolf , huh? Let Congress name the Times' of both coasts and see how they cry then. Without naming the Times' two, the Congress clouded the issue. It took the WSJ to put it out in the open.
Nope. Not later either.
the enemy of your enemy is your friend
and that is what the lamestream media and the democrats do not understand
they are allied with al qeada when they are against bush
they have the same talking points
See post #35 for link.
I would love to see Pinch lose his head.....literally!
What the old saying?
The New York Times is for people who want to run the world.
The Washington Post is for the people who think they run the world.
And the Wall Street Journal is for the people that do run the world.
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