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The Times Critics Are Off Base

My friend, attorney and Phoenix contributor Harvey Silverglate has another view of the criticism of the Times's handling of the domestic spying story. Here's his passionate email:

Correct me if I'm not seeing this right.
The New York Times has broken an incredibly important story -- a
story that was obviously going to provoke another leak investigation,
only this time a really serious leak investigation because the leaking
of NSA secrets is far more serious than a two-bit hissy fight like
Plamegate. The Times had to think long and hard before breaking this
story, because even though I think that breaking this story is the
highest form of patriotism, it was and is and will remain obvious that
the administration will see breaking the story, and being a leaker for
the story, to be an act of treason. So this is very serious stuff. There
is a federal statute outlawing just about everything, including this
kind of conduct. No wonder the Times hesitated to publish the story
until it became obvious that the story would come out in Risen's book
anyway.
And so what is the reaction of the rest of the news media?
Instead of lionizing the NYTimes for publishing a great, important, and
gutsy story, at considerable risk to the paper (no less -- and probably
considerably more
-- risk, in my view, than the NYTimes, WashPost, and Boston Globe
undertook in publishing the Pentagon Papers), the LA Times and other
media outlets are ganging up on the Times, not because of what it
published, not because of what it omitted at the administration's
request, but because it published it late! This, at a time and under
circumstances where the media should be sticking together, against the
most lawless administration in my memory (far worse than Nixon). The
news media are beginning to act like a herd of animals that eat their
own. It's disgusting.
Am I missing something? Hell, I'm beginning to like lawyers
better than I like journalists, and that's saying a lot.


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