Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When Is It Permissible To Tell Secrets?

The New York Times has an article today about intelligence-sharing between the U.S. and Pakistan. However, when one of their reporters was kidnapped in Afghanistan, the Times worked very hard to keep that quiet.

I understand the Times's desire to keep below the radar horizon the news that one of their reporters had been kidnapped. But that just begs the question: Why does the New York Times get to choose what secrets it will keep and what secrets it will expose? The Times has not done such a stellar job of it this decade, what with their being a willing butt-monkey to the Bush Administration's selling of the Iraq War. The Times "dines out", if you will, on their printing of the Pentagon Papers, but that was over 35 years ago which, in the news business, might as well have been in the Mesozoic Era.

I'm not saying that the government is the best arbiter of what should be kept secret and what should be made public. Recent history shows that government often uses secrecy to cover up its mistakes, misdeeds and outright crimes. Left alone, the government has plenty of incentive to give lip service to democracy and freedom of information while doing everything it can to squash it (I'm looking at you, Dick Cheney).

It is the old question, first raised about the cops, but now applicable to the news business: Who watches the watchers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remain glad you write what you write. As usual, I agree.