The New York Times seems to be doing everything in its power to uncover concealed information– information that would help terrorists more than it would protect Americans. This raises the issue again of just what do we expect from the media.
To a degree, we want the media to examine the government. We want them to inform us about what the government is doing, about possible corruption, about how our money is being spent. We want media to be somewhere that we can’t be or don’t choose to be. We want them to have information that we can sit and digest. We want some opinion because we don’t always have one well formed.
Part of the problem may be that the current environment that the media is in is one that celebrates the scoop. To a degree this has always been the case, but not really to the extent that it is today. This is why you have news organizations rushing on Election night to declare a winner. You have different news magazines trying to find an angle you haven’t read before.
So, what’s a news organization to do? Well, one option is to get more risque or show people’s dark side. So you have Cops shows and newsmagazine nights devoted to online predators. Then you have those that push to find secrets or secret names, and then pass judgement on whether those things should actually be secret.
This is where the Times made their mistake. They should not have published (or continue to publish as you would have it) secrets that could be used against us. It doesn’t matter if “the terrorists are aware of this and have adapted” or not. The point is that it is a way to track some of this and if it gets us even one terrorist captured then it is worth it.
Tony Snow described the great lengths Congress and the Administration went to explain to the New York Times why they shouldn’t publish this information. He details the reasoning, and explains that there was no reason this should have been published. I tend to agree with the National review that the Times should have its credentials to the White House withdrawn as a symbol of protest. If they are out to get this administration, or just out to get a scoop, they need to be shown that this kind of leaking will not be tolerated.