Monday, September 28, 2009

Obama & NYT & Congress on Transparency F & F & D-

Secret Agent Editors is the title of James Taranto's satirical putdown of the New York Times and its Ombudsman, who happened to have co-authored a book with Jill Abramson on Clarence Thomas, that trust-fund child of back-country Georgia who was slandered or "borked" by Teddy, thankfully dead and deep in Purgatory or even lower. Here's Jimmy:
Abramson] and Bill Keller, the executive editor, said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies. Keller declined to identify the editor, saying he wanted to spare that person "a bombardment of e-mails and excoriation in the blogosphere."

Heaven forfend that the Secret Agent editor would have to sift through leads that could waste his time while Bill and Jill actually decide what is "fit to print," and more notably in the case of the NYT, what's necessary to omit. James concludes:
The Obama administration, as we noted Wednesday, was supposed to usher in a new era of transparency in government, Instead we find ourselves in a new era of opacity, not only in government but in the media. The New York Times now employs secret agent editors. Hoyt writes, of the sex-slavery sting, that "most news organizations consider such tactics unethical--The Times specifically prohibits reporters from misrepresenting themselves or making secret recordings." True enough. But even James O'Keefe told the Acorn employees his name. At least in that sense, he was more honest with his targets than the Times now is with its readers.

UPDATE Ann Althouse has a BRILLIANT piece on whether it is wrong for her to wait too long to blog about writing about what the NYT public editor has written about why the NYT took so long to write about the ACORN story!?! But the endearing Badger Law Prof is exceeded by a lucid commenter named "William":
"Some facts are more factual than other facts. Malcolm Muggeridge was a reporter for the Guardian in Moscow during the thirties. The Guardian was a liberal British newspaper. Muggeridge was one of the few western reporters who wrote about the Soviet famine. The Guardian printed his articles but they held them back until a day when they could headline some fresh Nazi atrocity and, thus, bury his article inside the paper. During the twentieth century the sins of capitalism and fascism have been covered exhaustively. That's as it should be. But the sins of communism were revealed reluctantly and grudgingly. Worse there seems to be no curiousity on the part of journalists as to why such paragons of the profession as Lincoln Steffens, the Webbs, Theodore White, I.F. Stone. et al. got so many things wrong."

The NYT has perfected putting stories like Van Jones, ACORN, the NEA touting Obama for grants, et al, on p.20 below the fold, but recently they simply ignored them completely.
And as for the fellow travelers like Steffens, the Webbs, White, Stone, they were intellectual cowards, just like each and every one of us at various periods of our existence. I'm re-reading Arthur Koestler's masterpiece "Darkness at Noon" to help my daughter in a Russian history class, and Rubashov comes only slowly to realize the lie that leftism has at its very core. Contrary to leftist dogma, "One cannot do surgery with a dirty scalpel."

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