Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Wall Street Journal: Treasonous?

[For the record, Nitpicker supports crazy, radical notions like Freedom of the Press and that Congress should make no law abridging it, but the right feels differently. They believe in a new Constitution.]

Paul Gigot has been claiming on the Journal's editorial page and on TV that while the New York Times' decision to report on the SWIFT issue was "political," the Journal shouldn't be blamed for reporting on the same issue. He said the paper was "fed" the story because Bushies "wanted to affect the way that this story was portrayed."

In other words, Don't blame us, we're just administration mouthpieces. We don't do "reporting."

Righties, of course, came to the Journal's defense, buying Gigot's b.s.

And b.s. it was. The reporters at the Journal--who actually seem to care about what is true and not true, unlike Gigot--are pissed.
“To have Paul Gigot as our captain is bullshit,” one staffer said. “It’s not for real.”

“I’ve been here 16 years, and in my 16 years, this is something different,” political reporter Jackie Calmes said.

At a July 5 meeting in the Washington bureau, Ms. Calmes urged her fellow staffers to take action in response to the editorial. Currently, the staff is drafting a letter of protest to Mr. Steiger. “It could be one sentence: ‘We object,’” Ms. Calmes said. “It doesn’t have to go into chapter and verse. But I was just throwing it out there. I’m not instigating it. I’m not going to take the lead.”

Neither is Mr. Steiger. A Dow Jones spokesperson said that the paper doesn’t comment on its reporting and editing decisions. In an e-mail, Mr. Steiger noted that the editorial had explicitly not speculated about whether or not the news operation would have held a story if the administration had asked it to. “That said, the edit page is free to comment on anything it wants to comment on,” Mr. Steiger wrote. “The news department is free to write about anything it considers newsworthy, which on rare occasion has included the activities of The Journal’s edit page. The edit pages expresses opinions. The news pages do not.”

Mr. Gigot, meanwhile, has continued pushing his message. On July 9, on Fox News’ Journal Editorial Report, Mr. Gigot repeated the characterization: “[T]he news side was fed it …. The news side of The Journal was given the story because … [the administration] wanted to affect the way that this story was portrayed.”

According to Journal staffers with knowledge of the situation, Mr. Simpson, who is based in Brussels, had been working for months on a story about government monitoring of the international banking system operated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. On June 22, Mr. Simpson was in Washington when a Treasury source tipped him that The Times would be publishing a piece on the subject, according to Journal sources. Mr. Simpson delayed a flight back to Belgium and raced to put out a piece on deadline, posting one online minutes after the Times story went out. The Journal, The Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post all had SWIFT stories in the next day’s papers.
So I guess Michelle Malkin has a new protest to organize...

Update:: A quick reminder:
I'm calling on the attorney general to begin a criminal investigation and prosecution of The New York Times, its reporters, the editors that worked on this, and the publisher. We're in time of war, Chris, and what they've done here is absolutely disgraceful. I believe they violated the Espionage Act, the Comint Act.

This is absolutely disgraceful. The time has come for the American people to realize and The New York Times to realize we're at war and they can't be just on their own deciding what to declassify, what to release. - Rep. Peter King
Then there's King on the O'Reilly Factor.
O'REILLY: All right. So you want Attorney General Gonzales to do what? Charge them with what?

KING: Charge them with violating the Espionage Act and also the comint. The Espionage Act in 1917. And the "comint" of 1950. [Editor's Note: "comint" is jargon for communications intelligence. In 1950, Congress passed a law making such disclosures by a news organization a crime] Both refer to the disclosure of confidential classified secret information. That's what was done here.

O'REILLY: How about the guys in The L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal. Do you want them prosecuted, too?

KING: Perhaps. Again, the only reason I'm — I don't know all the facts about The L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal. I know enough about The New York Times.

For instance, my understanding is that The Washington Post — The L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal only went forward when they had heard The Times had decided to go.

O'REILLY: That's true. That's true.

KING: So that could be a mitigating factor.

Also, as far as I'm concerned, The Times are recidivist. They're serial offenders here.

And again, you know, this is so important to me. You know, Bill, you and I know how many people we lost in our congressional district on September 11. The thought that The New York Times could run the risk of stopping — of preventing a pie in our hands — from preventing another type of attack, to me this requires criminal sanctions, criminal penalties. That's why I'm calling on the attorney general to launch a full investigation and prosecution of The New York Times.


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