NYT Finally Apologizes for Throwing Lot in With Terrorists

October 23, 2006


***Late Ad: Michelle Malkin asks the public editor what he meant by the “Vicious Response” here.
Too little, too late? From the
NYT’S Public Editor who’s just figured out that giving details of a program that will help track the terrorists money funneling schemes might help keep us a alive.

My July 2 column strongly supported The Times’s decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program. After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.

Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.

What kept me from seeing these matters more clearly earlier in what admittedly was a close call? I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press — two traits that I warned readers about in my first column.

Vicious criticism?” The NYT’s public editor calls the righteous indignation felt by the government charged with keeping us safe ‘vicious criticism.’ Whose side are these people on?

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com