The Corner

Presumptuous Gray Lady

My column yesterday was about Wikileaks and the question of whether there really is a public “right to know” — the vaunted rationale the New York Times trots out whenever it publishes sensitive information the disclosure of which harms U.S. interests. (“As daunting as it is to publish such material over official objections, it would be presumptuous to conclude that Americans have no right to know what is being done in their name.”) I’ve had some interesting feedback, which I’ll get to in a subsequent post. For now, I am just annoyed — as I am each day when Best of the Web arrives in my in-box — that I’m not as smart as James Taranto.

On Monday, James featured this gem, contrasting the Times’s explanations, almost exactly one year apart, for (a) why it was refusing to publish the Climategate emails that revealed the fraudulence of global warming (or is it “climate change”?) activists, and (b) why it was only too happy to aid and abet Julian Assange’s cyber-war against America:

Two Papers in One!

“The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.”–New York Times, on the Climategate emails, Nov. 20, 2009

“The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. . . . The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.”–New York Times, on the WikiLeaks documents, Nov. 29, 2010

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