Sunday, August 25, 2013


Sour grapes in New York Times story on leaks

by Larry Geller

I detected a strong odor of  sour grapes in this New York Times story: War on Leaks Is Pitting Journalist vs. Journalist (NY Times, 8/25/2013). It’s not even very subtle. The article piles criticism upon criticism onto Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald without even pretending to be even-handed by discussing the revelations they helped bring to public attention.

Those revelations included a video of a US helicopter crew gloating over the killing of unarmed civilians including a Reuters cameraman, and then massacring their rescuers, in the process also hitting children present at the scene. The leaks revealed US torture and complicity in torture, and most recently, exposed massive surveillance of completely innocent US citizens as well as citizens of other countries. The one, short sentence on the helicopter war crime was cursory and incomplete.

But heck, I can understand that they’re sore. They didn’t get any documents this time. Maybe they’ll never get any documents in the future.

As to “journalists vs. journalists,” there’s nothing new in that. The NY Times itself caught well-deserved criticism when it beat the drums for the Iraq war, and for its role in propagating the WMD lies.

When the writer gets into the “lawlessness” of the leakers, or pushes forward negative aspects of Julian Assange’s character, there’s no counter-point. There’s no argument made here (as one can find elsewhere) that there was no legal channel for the leaks to be brought forward. 

As to the writer’s “very proper lunch in the English countryside” spoiled for him by an Assange remark about the lies of the Times, there’s nothing about whether the criticism was factual. In other words, if they did lie, then they might expect a couple of lunches to be spoiled—at least.

If the NY Times never gets another share of future leaks, they probably have only themselves to blame.


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