Anyone evaluating the “war” between the administration and the New York Times ought to acknowledge that this battle is not a one-way battle. The Times acts offended that anyone would criticize or question them, as if they are Democracy itself, and attacking them is anti-democratic. (As opposed to anti-Democratic.) When the administration condemns the Times, they are not merely condemning “the press” – they are condemning their partisan political enemies. (Oh, how hard would it be for the president to bring back the words “major league” in passing. We’d enjoy that, big time.)
Bill Keller and the Times arrogantly flounce about as supposedly nonpartisan guardians of the “public interest,” but it should be remembered that just weeks ago, their publisher, the emperor Sulzberger Junior, was displaying how anti-war fervor, cultivated in the “glory days” of Vietnam/Watergate, committed them to the idea that they were supposed to have ended greed, oil, and misbegotten American military interventions by now:
I’ll start with an apology. When I graduated from college in 1974, my fellow students and I had just ended the war in Vietnam and ousted President Nixon [light cheering]. Okay, okay, that’s not quite true. I mean yes, the war did end and yes, President Nixon did resign in disgrace but maybe there were larger forces at play.
Either way, we entered the real world committed to making it a better, safer, cleaner, more equal place. We were determined not to repeat the mistakes of our predecessors. We had seen the horrors and futility of war and smelled the stench of corruption in government. Our children, we vowed, would never know that. So, well, sorry [pause and applause]. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land [louder applause].