25 Jun 2006

Ethics & the New York Times

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The same New York Times, which on Friday overruled the strenuous arguments of officials of the elected government and proceeded to publish detailed information about a vital program monitoring international transfers of currency;

Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

the same New York Times, which today divulged details of “closely held secret” plans of possible reductions in US forces in Iraq, supplied by “American officials who agreed to discuss the details only on condition of anonymity;”

this same New York Times devoted a front page article in the Week in Review section to a prolonged meditation on the ethics of dining and the fate of the lobster (and a variety of other critters) destined for the dinner table.

Chin-stroking foodie journalist Michael Pollan got himself a Times magazine article, recyclable for his latest book, by purchasing a steer, and following its career on to feed lot and slaughterhouse. Frank Bruni, author of today’s “It Died For Us” lobster article, shares an anecdote of Mr. Pollan’s intended to allow Sunday Times’ readers to chuckle with a sense of superiority,

After the article appeared, Mr. Pollan received appeals from readers willing to pay large sums of money to buy and save the steer. One reader, he recalled, was a Hollywood producer who wanted to let the animal graze on his lawn in Beverly Hills, Calif.

“He kept coming after me,” Mr. Pollan said, describing a crusade that culminated in an offer of a meal at a famous emporium of porterhouses in Brooklyn. “He finally said, ‘I’m coming to New York, we’re going to have dinner at Peter Luger to discuss this.’ I’m like, ‘Excuse me, we’re going to have a steak dinner to discuss the rescue of this steer?’ How disconnected can we be?”

But we are all reading a newspaper guilty of a lot worse than popping a lobster into the cooking pot, or dining on beefsteak.

How disconnected is the Times?

How disconnected are all of us who buy it and read it, as it carries on its vicious partisan campaign against an elected administration, proceeding even to the point of repeatedly compromising National Security and endangering American lives?

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