Over at CBS’s Public Eye blog, Brian Montopoli takes issue with Spruiell’s earlier post about the Washington Post and WSJ editors declining the opportunity to join Baquet and Keller in their joint op-ed. He writes:
If one reads the article, it becomes clear that the WSJ passed because Managing Editor Paul Steiger felt his paper was in an entirely different position [than] the LA Times or NY Times. […]
And WP Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said he declined to sign on to signal his paper’s independence. […]
Unless you think that Steiger and Downie are trying to mislead about their true intentions here to cover the fact that they were actually trying to signal some sort of disagreement with Baquet and Keller – and I think that’s a pretty tough case to make – then you have to accept that you can’t extrapolate all that much from E&P’s report.
The point Spruiell was making, I think, was that both Steiger and Downie didn’t feel as though the “war against the press” was enough of a war to overrule their reasons for not contributing to the op-ed. If each of them felt that First Amendment rights were being legitimately threatened by the Bush administration, they likely would have joined in. They didn’t.