L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

26 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

Getting Back at the NY TimesNO New York Times

One of the problems for those of us who support the concept of "Freedom of the Press" is how to sanction the press when it behaves irresponsibly. Over the long term there need not be a problem because in the long term a media outlet that behaves irresponsibly is likely to lose audience share and go bust - as indeed the NY Times appears to be doing - but it can take a while for a previously respected source of information to lose enough of its market. Furthermore, as the NY Slimes demonstrates, unfortunately in their death throes they are likely to perform ever more attention getting stunts which probably include even more irresponsible behaviour.

Part of the problem is that the NY Slimes sees effectively no downside to its acts. It and its journalists are unlikely to be directly affected by terrorists who have evaded the intelligence/security groups that might have been able to track them down had the Slimes not revealed their methods. Moreover, given the fact that we have a free press, outrage won't stop it doing other things because we are the side that doesn't behead the journalists we disagree with. Hence there really doesn't seem anyway to bring home personally to the NY Slimes that, whether or not it is behaving legally, it is behaving irresponsibly. Clearly the government could and should be investigatign and prosecuting their sources and probably subpoenaing and then incarcerating the journalists when they ignore the subpoena, but they'd probably try to spin that as "martyrdom". However while we can hope the government does indeed do this (and US citizens can pressure their elected representatives to help get this process going), what can we as individuals do?

It occurs to me that we could learn from the enemy here and copy the tactics of bozos like the animal rights idiots. In addition to the obvious tactic of cancelling subscriptions, one way to get back at the NY Slimes is to attack their distribution chain by attempting to convince the newsagents, bookshops etc. to stop stocking the paper, and perhaps you could convince the truckers who deliver the paper from the printers to stop doing so. Another legal approach would be to pressure the suppliers of newsprint, ink etc. so that they decide not to sell any to the NY Slimes and the same could apply to the NY Slime's ISPs and so on so that they found it harder to get the word out. It Related but definitely illegal ways would be a campaign to burn the NY Slimes vending machines where ever they may be found and vandalise the printing works. Other illegal harassement options could be possible such as going to the pet cemetary and exhuming Mr Keller's mother or deliberately publishing all the ranting and raving behind the walls of the TimesSelect sanatarium. Unfortunately I feel most of these attacks would only be partially sccessful and would have the unintended consequence of giving the morons publicity and ensuring that the moonbat left lined up solidly with them.

So other ways? one way obviously is to refuse to talk to a NY Slimes journalist or have anything to do with one. Obviously this doesn't work for everyone but there are a lot of people who get calls/interviews from NY Slimes journalists. For those in appropriate positions banning them from any and all press conferences and refusing to grant the NY Slimes any press accredition to events would hurt. Actually getting the organizers of sporting events and pop concerts to do that would probably hurt the NY Slimes more than anything else because it would relegate their high paid critics to the same level as the armchair fans and cut out all the special insights derived from their exclusive interviews with the stars. This would really hurt if many politicians decided to do the same thing but expecting politicians to not talk to the media is like expecting the sea not to be wet so there is no point in hoping for that to occur. Other related actions would involve not buying any advertising in the NY Slimes or sending the NY Times copies of books to review, not taking part in the NY Times bestseller list data and, something that everyone can do, not linking to the NY Times ever again. Link, by all means to commentary elsewhere, excerpt large portions and attribute, but don't actually ever include a URL that contains nytimes in it.

On that note there is the lamentable whining self-justifcation by Bill Keller who seems upset at the response to his recent display of irresponsibility. I'm not going to link to it but it has been shredded by Hugh Hewitt and has produced what may be the longest single post at Instapundit in some time. The only point I wish to add to their admirable efforts (not to mention all the other ones) is to criticise the following:

Since September 11, 2001, our government has launched broad and secret anti-terror monitoring programs without seeking authorizing legislation and without fully briefing the Congress. Most Americans seem to support extraordinary measures in defense against this extraordinary threat, but some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight. We believe The Times and others in the press have served the public interest by accurately reporting on these programs so that the public can have an informed view of them. [...]

It's not our job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal or effective, but the story cites strong arguments from proponents that this is the case. While some experts familiar with the program have doubts about its legality, which has never been tested in the courts, and while some bank officials worry that a temporary program has taken on an air of permanence, we cited considerable evidence that the program helps catch and prosecute financers of terror, and we have not identified any serious abuses of privacy so far. A reasonable person, informed about this program, might well decide to applaud it. That said, we hesitate to preempt the role of legislators and courts, and ultimately the electorate, which cannot consider a program if they don't know about it.

This is completely and surely wilfully missing the point. The NY Times seems to be arguing that somehow it can inform the American public without informing Al Qaeda. This is patently absurd and it is easy to show that absurdity by making a comparison.

Let us assume that instead of tracking down terrorists via banks, the program at issue was being used to track down a gang of murderous thieves who had killed, raped and robbed their way across New England. The FBI has figured out that the gang is going to hit New York next and that they drive a car with a certain number plate. So in order to get the gang the FBI have decided to monitor video footage from the traffic cameras of the freeways leading to New York so they can arrest the gang on one of the bridges or tunnels leading into the city. The NY Times learns that the FBI is doing this, and decides that this is possibly a worry because they might use the same tapes to detect speeders or other dangerous drivers. Do you think they would publish this because "the public deserves to be informed of this invasion of driver privacy?" Obviously not. Or at least if they did and the gang read it and then used a different car to enter NY and commit its crimes, then at least the Slimes would be sued into the ground by lawyers for the victims, assuming of course that a bunch of New Yorkers didn't explain the error in a more direct manner or they weren't prosecuted as an accessory to murder by Elliott Spitzer.

It should be obvious that the public's right to not being killed trumps its right to know, but apparently this is not the case.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin