Monday, July 03, 2006

‘License for arrogance’

Well, well. It seems the Society of Professional Jackal—er, Journalists (SPJ) is weighing in on The New York Times treason controversy. And guess which side they come down on?

Yeah—can you believe it?—against the Bush administration and for the NYT. Talk about a shocker. We’re still recovering from that one.

Actually, we probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. This is the same organization, after all, that conferred its precious First Amendment Award last fall on the Times’ Judith Miller. That’s the same Judith Miller who spent some time in the slam while she tried to remember who, oh who, might have leaked the name Valerie Plame to her. Now, there’s a real hall of famer for you.

So now, this professional coven of the mainstream mediocracy is officially applauding what they call “news organizations’ decision to expose secret banking surveillance activities” and Americans to the threat of more terrorist attacks. Now, why they’d want to go and do a thing like that is beyond me. I guess you have to live in New York to understand.

It seems they were offended to the point of launching a whole news release because of certain remarks from George Bush, Dick Cheney and Tony Snow, who had the gall to suggest that giving away national security secrets might be illegal. How rude.

This criticism is “a tired, shoot-the-messenger strategy that deflects attention from disturbing questions about the administration’s possible violations of the United States Constitution and American privacy laws,” sniffed SPJ President-Elect Christine Tatum.

We were curious about this Christine Tatum, so we checked around. It turns out she’s an award winner. Yep, she’s won a civil war historian’s “Dubious Quote” award for routinely closing her little talks on freedom of the press with one of her favorite sayings, which she attributes to Abraham Lincoln: “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.” Only problem is—well, you can read all about that here.

Now, you don’t suppose she would have made that up, do you? I mean, you know, being a respected mainstream professional journalist and all. If you like, you can ask her about it at Ask her for, you know, her source.

And there’s more. My, yes. But until next time, we’d just like to leave you with a little quote we kind of like: “Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.”

And, no, that wasn’t from Lincoln. It’s from a little document called the SPJ “Code of Ethics.” Talk about your oxymorons. . .


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