Exile The New York Times?

Bryan Preston explores the option of voting The New York Times off the proverbial MSM island:

Since the NYT disclosed the classified terrorist finance-tracking SWIFT program we’ve all been debating what the White House should do about it. Should it punish the leakers (assuming it can find them and that they’re within legal reach), or should it also go after the NYT editors and reporters involved in the story? Should it revoke the Times’ press credentials to the White House itself and/or order its staff and members of the executive branch not to speak to Times reporters at all? Would it be legal for the WH to do any of that?

Believe it or not, the issue of limiting a newspaper’s access to elected politicians has been adjudicated in the past two years.

I’ll let Byran finish the rest of this story, but the previous case he provides doesn’t bode well for The Times should the White House decide to pursue this course of action.

And unlike prosecution–which would doubtless play into the hands of the “King George” sycophants–the White House could make a compelling case why it’s in the “public interest” for it to “unofficially” limit the access that The Times currently has the privilege to hold.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,

Comments

  1. sammy says:

    quite amazing…. stuff

  2. Christopher says:

    The President would never do that. If you don’t know that then you don’t know what a good man George Bush is. But…yes, he is human. He is certainly not going to give them preference in a story, and definitely not an exclusive on anything. Deservedly so.

  3. cian says:

    Forgive my naivety, but didn’t I hear somewhere that a guy called Libby, under instruction from the Vice President of America, leaked highly classified information and the identity of a CIA agent to, amongst others, Judith Miller of the New York Times. I imagine Libby did this in the hopes that the NYT would publish this classified information.

    Doesn’t this make the administration’s outrage just a wee bit hypocritical?

  4. legion says:

    Yeah, except the WH would then also have to kick the LA Times and the Wall Street Journal to the proverbial curb as well, since they printed the same friggin’ story.

    Also, they’d have to cut access to many admin officials, including the President himself, who have discussed this so-called “classified” program in the open press multiple times since 2001…

    Oh wait – they don’t have to actually follow laws. I forgot.

  5. Cian,

    Can you kindly point me to where in the special prosecutors reports or filings that the conclusion was reached that the information Libby passed on was classified? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be labeled a liar for repeating untrue speaking points of the left.

    The Maryland case hasn’t gone to the Supreme court, so I wouldn’t rely on it to heavily. It was also specific in nature (two reporters, not all reporters for the paper). I can see that sort of difference being deemed significant by the left side of the supreme court. Further, the reporters for the SUN printed articles contained falsehoods and would have been considered libel if Ehlrich was not a public official.

    On the other hand, the administration (and why not congress passing similar rules revoking press privileges for the NYT to congress) could make a case that as part of securing national security they need this (a much stronger case than Ehlrich had).

    All in all, I don’t think prosecution of the NYT or the individual writers/editors or blanket revocation of press passes is likely to occur. The situation as it stands puts the NYT in an unsympathetic position for the majority of voters. Prosecution would muddy the underlying issue (as it did with Ehlrich). The only potential political downside is if the base decides that not enough is being done.

    On the other hand, an investigation that granted the reporters/editors immunity and then requested the leakers would likely bear fruit. It would be harder to spin as suppression of the press, would likely have a greater chilling effect on leakers and would likely give the base the satisfaction of seeing Keller in jail for contempt of court if he refused to divulge the leakers (which he would likely do). Spend enough time in jail and I suspect that someone in the NYT would crack and point out the leakers.

    I suspect there is already a justice department investigation into the leaks which is likely to produce this result.

  6. cian says:

    Yetanotherjohn,

    Glad to:

    As reported by Murray Waas in the National Journal, Monday July 3rd, President Bush told federal prosecutors that he had instructed Vice President Cheney to disclose highly classified intelligence information. However, he was not aware that Cheney had directed Libby to covertly leak the information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing government declassification procedures.

    Please note what Bush says- He was unaware that Cheney ‘had directed’ Libby. In other words, he now knows that Cheney did instruct Libby to leak classified information.

    Apology accepted in advance.

  7. Cian,

    Could you provide a link to something other than a left wing magazine? I specifically asked for something from the special prosecutor investigation (which in theory should be a bit more authoritative than a left wing reporters opinion).

    If it helps, here is the indictment. I sure don’t see any counts that Libby “leaked highly classified” information. That would be a serious charge. Now the indictment does point out “The responsibilities of certain CIA employees required that their association with the CIA be kept secret; as a result, the fact that these individuals were employed by the CIA was classified. Disclosure of the fact that such individuals were employed by the CIA had the potential to damage the national security in ways that ranged from preventing the future use of those individuals in a covert capacity, to compromising intelligence-gathering methods and operations, and endangering the safety of CIA employees and those who dealt with them.” But since no charge of disclosing classified information is made against Libby, that would seem to argue that in this case Plame was not one of those “certain CIA employees” that required their status to be kept secret.

  8. cian says:

    Yetanotherjohn (or can I call you John?)

    The reason it isn’t in the indictment is because both the president and the vice president have the authority to declassify information. Its a long process however, involving numerous departments who vet the information carefully to ensure national security is not damaged. Far quicker to just leak the stuff and use the president’s authority to cover every ones’ ass.

    So yes, technically you’re right, but morally? They leaked the information but can’t be touched. They leak but condemn leakers. They use the New York Times to spread disinformation, and attack the New York Times for spreading the truth.

    It is the president, not Murray Waas, who says he was unaware that Cheney had directed Libby to covertly leak classified information. It is Libby, not Waas, who says Cheney instructed him to leak the information.

    Murray Waas is quoting from federal prosecutors’ notes taken at a meeting with the president in the Oval office on June 24th 2004.

    Like you, I am a believer in America and the American way. Its just, for me at least, its getting harder and harder to ignore the stink.