The Press and McCarthyism
- I don't know if anyone caught the Joseph diGenova's
interview of Pulitzer-prize winning jounalist Haynes
Johnson on his new book, "The Age of Anxiety: From
McCarthyism to Terror" which aired on Cspan 2 last
weekend, but I find it very poignant this morning.
Johnson discusses the press then, as he began his
journalism career in 1956, and now, and the
similarities are chilling. The mainstream press found
McCarthy very charming, and were willing to print what
was fed to them without checking the facts, as they
have with our current inhabitant, in his opinion. Now
this from this morning's Washington Post on the New
York Times decision to sit on the story that the
current administration (with Bush's tacit approval)
has been illegally spying on US citizens:
At the Times, a Scoop Deferred
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 17, 2005; Page A07
The New York Times' revelation yesterday that
President Bush authorized the National Security Agency
to conduct domestic eavesdropping raised eyebrows in
political and media circles, for both its stunning
disclosures and the circumstances of its publication.
In an unusual note, the Times said in its story that
it held off publishing the 3,600-word article for a
year after the newspaper's representatives met with
White House officials. It said the White House had
asked the paper not to publish the story at all,
"arguing that it could jeopardize continuing
investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they
might be under scrutiny."
The Times said it agreed to remove information that
administration officials said could be "useful" to
terrorists and delayed publication for a year "to
conduct additional reporting."
The paper offered no explanation to its readers about
what had changed in the past year to warrant
publication. It also did not disclose that the
information is included in a forthcoming book, "State
of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush
Administration," written by James Risen, the lead
reporter on yesterday's story. The book will be
published in mid-January, according to its publisher,
Simon & Schuster.
The decision to withhold the article caused some
friction within the Times' Washington bureau,
according to people close to the paper. Some reporters
and editors in New York and in the bureau, including
Risen and co-writer Eric Lichtblau, had pushed for
earlier publication, according to these people. One
described the story's path to publication as
difficult, with much discussion about whether it could
have been published earlier.
In a statement yesterday, Times Executive Editor Bill
Keller did not mention the book. He wrote that when
the Times became aware that the NSA was conducting
domestic wiretaps without warrants, "the
Administration argued strongly that writing about this
eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues
about the vulnerability of their communications and
would deprive the government of an effective tool for
the protection of the country's security."
"Officials also assured senior editors of the Times
that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that
satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no
legal questions," Keller continued. "As we have done
before in rare instances when faced with a convincing
national security argument, we agreed not to publish
at that time."
In the ensuing months, Keller wrote, two things
changed the paper's thinking. The paper developed a
fuller picture of misgivings about the program by some
in the government. And the paper satisfied itself
through more reporting that it could write the story
without exposing "any intelligence-gathering methods
or capabilities that are not already on the public
Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the Project for
Excellence in Journalism, said it was conceivable the
Times waited to publish its NSA story as the Senate
took up renewal of the Patriot Act. "It's not unheard
of to wait for a news peg," he said. "It's not unusual
to discover the existence of something and not know
the context of it until later."
Yesterday's article was a dramatic scoop for a
newspaper whose national security coverage has been
marked by some turmoil in recent years. The Times
admitted last year that much of its reporting on
Iraq's weapons programs before the war was flawed. The
principal author of those stories, Judith Miller,
later spent 85 days in jail to protect the identity of
an administration source in the CIA leak case.
More recently, the Times has been scooped by the Los
Angeles Times on a story that the U.S. military has
been secretly paying to run favorable stories in the
Iraqi media, and by The Washington Post on the
revelation last month of a secret network of CIA
prisons for terrorism suspects in foreign countries.
The Times announced last week that it was replacing
its deputy bureau chief in Washington, which outsiders
read as a sign of the paper's dissatisfaction with its
The Post was in contact with senior administration
officials before publication last month of its story
on the CIA prisons. But officials did not seek to stop
publication of the article, only to remove information
that could jeopardize national security, said Leonard
Downie Jr., The Post's executive editor.
The story said the officials argued that the
disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in
those countries and could make them targets of
terrorist retaliation. The Post honored one request by
not publishing the Eastern European countries that
permitted the prisons.
It seems possible that the NYT may have lent a
generous hand in Bush's 04 reelection between sitting
on this story and the Judith Miller debacle. For my
part, they will never see so much as a dime from me
for the rest of my life. I can't control how the
editors make decisions, but I can vote with my wallet.
--- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:
>=== message truncated ===
> Abat: Transition gov't in place
> First posted 02:11am (Mla time) Dec 14, 2005
> By Luige A. del Puerto, Fe B. Zamora
> Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the Dec. 14,
> 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
> FORMER Defense Secretary Fortunato Abat proclaimed
> midnight on the eve of Fernando Poe Jr.'s first
> anniversary a revolutionary transition government
> declared himself president in a new challenge to the
> Arroyo government.
> At press time, the group was waiting for several
> military officers to come forward and declare
> The retired general also called on the Armed Forces
> and the Philippine National Police to withdraw
> from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and "protect
> the sovereign right of the people."
> Abat, 80, who had been previously slapped with
> sedition complaints filed before the Department of
> Justice, issued the declaration at Club Filipino in
> San Juan while sitting with former Ambassador Roy
> Señeres and former Budget Secretary Salvador
> He spoke before an audience of about 300 people.
> Abat also signed two edicts, one declaring the
> existence of his self-styled government and the
> formation of a transition council "to administer the
> affairs of government."
> "By the authority of the assembled regional leaders
> the Second Malolos Congress, I hereby proclaim the
> establishment of a Kapanalig, Kapamahalaan ng
> Pagkakaisa Para sa Pambansang Kaligtasan (Government
> of Unity for National Survival," Abat said.
> "This proclamation is in exercise of the sovereign
> right of the people to act and do the necessary to
> save the country from a governance which is morally
> bankrupt, distrusted by over two-thirds of the
> citizenry and which is in paralysis, unable to
> effective and competent leadership that will produce
> results for the people."
> In the second edict, Abat promulgated what he called
> "provisional constitution."
> Abat, in an interview, claimed he had military
> but did not say who were actually behind him and his
> Asked if there were political personalities in his
> supposed new government, Abad said there was none.
> Abat said he planned to stay at Club Filipino for 48
> 1 general, 4 colonels
> Earlier yesterday, security officials identified a
> general and four colonels, including two retired
> police officials, as leaders of an alleged plot to
> unseat Ms Arroyo.
> A senior military intelligence official said other
> officers who were implicated also had links to the
> opposition that failed to remove Ms Arroyo with an
> impeachment motion in September.
> "We have some names of the alleged coup leaders but
> can't take action against them because their
> involvement was based on intelligence reports," the
> intelligence official told Reuters.
> "There were no overt moves taken, so they were just
> made to explain by their superiors," he said.
> Rumors of a coup d'état during the weekend had
> the military and police top brass enough to send
> into crisis mode.
> Army chief Lieutenant General Hermogenes Esperon
> he checked with his ground commanders on Sunday to
> assure himself that they were not taking part in the
> rumored coup.
> He said he also checked with his classmates and
> friends in the other major services in the Armed
> Forces, who in turn talked to their own men to get
> their assurance.
> Director General Arturo Lomibao, the Philippine
> National Police (PNP) chief, also said he talked not
> only to his field commanders but also to those
> suspected of being involved in the coup d'état.
> He also convened the PNP crisis committee to deal
> any worst-case scenario.
> Army intact
> "As Army commander, I tell you all these (coup)
> are rumors. I have checked with my commanders since
> Sunday. The Army is intact," Esperon said in a phone
> He said his friends in the Marines, Air Force and
> PNP-Special Action Force whose units were rumored to
> be part of the coup likewise "did not get concrete
> reports (about the rumored coup)."
> "I did not only talk to those who may be involved. I
> talked to all commanders in the field. They are all
> behind the flag and the duly constituted
> Lomibao said at a news conference in Camp Crame
> national police headquarters.
> He did not identify the suspected coup plotters he
> talked to, saying, "I don't like to cause
> within the ranks."
> Intelligence report
> A military intelligence report given to the
> linked two active superintendents in the national
> police force to the alleged plot after four junior
> officers were questioned hours before rogue troops
> supposedly planned to strike early on Monday.
> Details of the report were given to Reuters by a
> government official, who asked not to be identified.
> Two retired police officers -- one chief
> superintendent and the other a superintendent and
> former ally of Ms Arroyo -- were also named.
> The fourth colonel identified in the report had been
> removed from his command last year over charges of
> electioneering ahead of the May 2004 presidential
> The colonel was later cleared of charges of
> campaigning for the main opposition candidate, movie
> star Fernando Poe Jr., who died before the Supreme
> Court could rule on his election protest that Ms
> Arroyo had cheated.
> The legal challenge ended with Poe's death, the
> ruled, but his supporters insist Ms Arroyo stole the
> Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr., the PNP
> deputy chief for operations, said the crisis
> was convened on Sunday, when the military and police
> went on full alert after Ms Arroyo left for Malaysia
> for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
> Military insiders said several senior officers had
> been called by Army higher-ups for questioning.
> none were detained, these officers could likely be
> relieved of their assignments over suspicion they
> involved in the coup plot.
> Esperon, however, insisted no Army officer was
> arrested or brought in for questioning. Reports from
> Gerry Lirio, Dona Pazzibugan and Inquirer wires