I spend considerable time reading Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin and listening to Limbaugh and Hannity when I can. I will take in O’Reilly on occasion. And I also read Krugman, Dowd, Rutten, Alterman and Boehlert (his current book, “Lapdogs” is a must read.
I remember when Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 came out and a number of my conservative friends blasted the film as “full of lies” without having seen the film. This is why I read and listen to and watch conservative media; because you can’t criticize it unless you know it.
A letter in today’s OC Register (a paper that will never be accused of having a liberal bias) from G.W. Carlyle of Newport Beach states:
“The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have failed to enunciate a standard by which to judge when a story involving national security should be published and when it should not be.”
I have to wonder if G.W. reads either paper, because the editors of both papers co-wrote two editorials explaining their decision to publish the banking surveillance story. The program itself isn’t really a secret because President Bush openly discussed efforts to track terrorist financing more than a dozen times dating back to mid-September 2001. Both papers also withhold publication of specific stories based on national security concerns (the NY Times sat on the NSA telephone spying program during the 2004 presidential election). I have to conclude that G.W. didn’t read the paper and didn’t read either editorial.
The banking surveillance story, like the NSA surveillance program, may have overreached. From the a GulfNews.com story about SWIFT: “But privacy campaigners fear that the sheer amount of data submitted to US authorities indicates a massive trawling exercise of financial records across the globe. It means Washington may have access not only to financial data on its own citizens but everyone else’s too. Privacy International, a campaign group, has now filed simultaneous complaints with 33 national data protection and privacy regulators, in an attempt to uncover the scale of the exercise. Simon Davies, the group’s director, said: “We know very little, but it seems that the data are being sent regardless of people’s nationality. If blanket authorisations are being given for millions of records, it would be impossible to separate them out.” Privacy International argues that the monitoring was carried out illegally, and that “the scale of the operation, involving millions of records” showed that it was “a fishing exercise rather than a legally-authorised investigation”.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), current chairman of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security (a post once held by former Rep. Chris Cox), has accused the NY Times of treason by publishing details on this story and believes the editors should be prosecuted under provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act.
The problem with that is in September 2004, Rep. King co-chaired a hearing where U.S. Treasury Department officials explained how Treasury Department programs were driving Terrorists from the banking system. USA Today reported that Terrorists are now financing their efforts largely through cash based transactions.
MSM bashing and accusations of liberal media bias are long standing attack techniques of the right wing. Ann Coulter can attack the Jersey Girls for cutting campaign commercials for John Kerry but President Bush can certainly use 9/11 widows and children in his own ads without a problem. Conservative media bias never seems to be a problem with these people.
Now, more than ever, we need the press to have a strong backbone and truly serve its watchdog function.
From Justice Hugo Black: “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of an informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.”