June 22, 2009, - 10:00 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Whenever the New York Times has a scoop that, if published, will jeopardize America’s national security and the safety and lives of countless Americans, it errs on the side of . . . spilling the beans. Then, the “newspaper of record” spews some boilerplate about “the public’s right to know,” “informing public debate,” blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda.
But, when it comes to the safety of one of its own–a New York Times reporter–well, then, mum’s the word.
That’s the case with New York Times reporter David Rohde, who was captured by the Taliban and held in captivity for seven months (and escaped to freedom on Saturday). The paper was completely silent on the story. No “public’s right to know.” No “informed debate.” No “full information.” None of the usual excuses.
Instead New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller says that the paper had to put the safety of its reporter above all of those usual “interests” about which the Times always pontificates and lectures to us. That, and the fact that the stingy, money-losing NYTimes didn’t want to pay the $25 million ransom the Taliban was asking, another big news story we didn’t hear about because the Times chose to keep it under the lid for the same hypocritical reasons that it put the kabosh on the entire story.
Even more telling is that the New York Times’ buddies at Al-Jazeera, the Terrorist News Network, agreed to the New York Times’ request to also keep silent on Rohde. That should confirm what we already know about the NYTimes–that if even Al-Jazeera is willing to protect the safety of Times reporters and take orders from the New York Times, they have the same interests. Not American interests. Al-Jazeera only protects those it sees as allies of Al-Jazeera’s pan-terrorist interests.
Deciding not to report initially on reporter David Rohde’s capture by the Taliban for seven months was “an agonizing position that we revisited over and over again,” New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said Sunday.
Hmmm . . . if only the paper “agonized” like this on stories about the government tapping dangerous Islamic terrorists telephone calls from abroad, looking into their bank accounts, photos of trumped up “abuse” at Abu Ghraib, and other things that would protect 300 million Americans, not just one elitist snob whose American passport is merely a document, not any allegiance to country. The government asked the NYTimes not to print these stories, but unlike Al-Jazeera and AP (when the NYTimes asked them), the Times couldn’t care less about the safety and lives of those who don’t work for the Times.
“All along, we were told by people that probably the wisest course for David’s safety was to keep it quiet,” Keller said in an interview on CNN.
All along, the U.S. government told the New York Tiems that it was the wisest course for America’s safety to keep national security programs quiet. But the paper didn’t take the same course in those cases. And are we better for it? Not exactly.
The Times reported Saturday that Rohde escaped from seven months in captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan by climbing over a wall on Friday.
Ah, now that the story is over, suddenly the New York Times “reports.”
They all band together for select members of their elitist group. But when it comes to the safety of the rest of us–the little people–well, who gives a darn?
“It was an agonizing position that we revisited over and over again,” Keller said in the CNN interview with Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. “But I also have a responsibility for the people who work for me. I send a lot of people out into dangerous places and their security is also part of my job.”
Yup, but no responsibility for the people who are your neighbors, your customers, your readers, and your fellow countrymen. Our security not part of your concern.
Keller told Kurtz he worried at different points that the story would be leaked, such as in May when Rohde was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Keller said Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera was planning a story on Rohde but agreed to hold it at the Times’ request.
Like I said, birds of a feather . . . .
New York Times . . . Safety and Security for Me, But Not For Thee.