Accuracy in Media

President Bush has basically accused the New York Times of treason. In his remarks on how the paper disclosed the existence of a program to discover planned Al Qaeda terrorist operations on U.S. soil, Bush said this information was “improperly provided to news organizations,” meaning the Times, and “our enemies have learned information they should not have?” He said “the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.”

Predictably, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek is trying to claim that it’s the president who has engaged in scandalous activity. Alter came up with the name “Snoopgate,” designed to make it seem as though Bush had been caught in a Watergate-style scandal that would sink his presidency.  Alter said the President was acting like a dictator.

Alter claimed, “We’re seeing clearly now that Bush thought 9/11 gave him license to act like a dictator, or in his own mind, no doubt, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.”

Wait a minute. Isn’t Lincoln the beloved president who kept the country together during a terrible period of civil war? Is Bush to be faulted for behaving like Lincoln and trying to preserve the nation? 

Does the public need reminding that Newsweek is the same magazine which published the false Koran-in-the-toilet story? Until Newsweek fires somebody in connection with that story, whose publication provoked the deaths of 17 people, we shouldn’t take Newsweek seriously on national security matters.

The Times based its story on what it said was information provided by “nearly a dozen current and former officials.” Since they revealed classified information, in violation of law, they should be hunted down and prosecuted. But don’t look for the Times to urge the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.

Meanwhile, NBC News came up with its own scoop, alleging that the Pentagon was improperly spying on Americans. NBC obtained a 400-page Defense Department document that described following the activities of some domestic U.S. groups. The NBC News story co-authored by Lisa Meyers said the Pentagon had even been monitoring “peaceful” Quakers in Florida.

Myers, who is usually a solid and careful reporter, was taken for a ride on this one. She was handed the Pentagon document by NBC News consultant William Arkin, whose history of left-wing political activity dates back to his days with the Institute for Policy Studies.

The pages of the document made available by NBC News also included these incidents:

  • “Civil disobedience planned at Three New York City Area Recruiting Stations?”

  • “Possible Violent Demonstration at NYU.”

  • “Direct Action Protest Planned Against Recruiters at UC Berkley.”

  • “US Army Recruiter is assaulted.”

  • “Protests at San Diego Naval Station.”

Does this sound “peaceful?” The terms, “civil disobedience” and “direct action” refer to physical confrontations with U.S. military personnel.  The assault on a military recruiter speaks for itself.

The Quakers, considered peaceful, are some of the most radical people around. The Quaker Lobby, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, gave Rep. Barbara Lee a special award for being the only member of Congress to vote against the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. This is being “peaceful” to the point of committing national suicide. Their “peaceful” approach only invites more violence and terrorism.

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