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View Diary: Fox and furious friends wanted DOJ to prosecute the New York Times (45 comments)

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  •  I'm not missing it. (0+ / 0-)

    And that's why I said in my opening sentence that I agreed that what the government is doing is wrong.  My point is that Fox is now complaining about getting the treatment that the network itself has said should be meted out to other journalists.  

    Until this incident, Fox had no problem with the government using its investigative and prosecutorial powers to intimidate journalists.  Indeed, numerous Fox commentators had actually demanded it.  In their view, the government was perfectly right to go after journalists whom Fox viewed as liberals because they had dared publish unflattering material about the Bush administration.  

    As odious as I think Fox is, I don't think even its so-called journalists should be subjected to this kind of surveillance.  But no one should lose sight of the fact that Fox was, until a couple of weeks ago, a strident proponent of what it now claims to find so objectionable.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:00:24 AM PDT

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    •  And as I made clear, I agree with that. (0+ / 0-)

      But you went beyond that with this:

      Besides, I'm not so sure Rosen fits so neatly into the "journalist" category in this case:
      I just think that that's a real slippery slope argument of who deserves media protection and who does not, and I was surprised to see you using it.
      •  It may be a slippery slope. (0+ / 0-)

        But I don't think it's entirely irrelevant to note that Rosen appears to have been actively soliciting classified information for an admittedly political purpose.  It seems like he was looking for this information to serve a partisan political agenda, not because he was trying to uncover some kind of misconduct in government.

        Now, does that mean he shouldn't receive the protection other journalists ought to receive (but currently do not)?  If pressed, I'd probably say no, but I think there are legitimate questions raised by his conduct.  What if he weren't employed by an ostensible new organization and were, say, a Heritage Foundation or American Crossroads staffer who was looking for the same information for the same purposes?  

        I don't think there are easy answers to these questions.  My own personal view is that the government classifies far too much information and that the incessant reprisals against whistleblowers are a threat to democratic governance because they prevent the public from getting information it should know about how our government operates.  

        That said, I agree with News Corpse that there's a difference between a reporter who receives information a whistleblower decides to disclose and one who affirmatively seeks access to classified information in the service of a partisan political agenda.  The former is unquestionably a journalist doing his job.  The latter is more akin to a political operative doing opposition research.  

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Fri May 24, 2013 at 01:36:56 PM PDT

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        •  The problem is who makes those distinctions? (0+ / 0-)

          I can just as easily see someone on the other end of the political spectrum from you and I claiming that Amy Goodman "look[s] for ... information to serve a partisan political agenda."  So while I agree that Fox is more of a partisan hack job than a news organization, ultimately I'd say that there is a difference between them and the Heritage Foundation or American Crossroads.  Especially because if you ask me, and you haven't but I'll answer anyway, sometimes it seems to me that reporters from other, more "acceptable" news organizations, like the New York Times, for example, have their own political agenda as well.

          So yeah, let's point out all the problems with Fox as a news organization, but let's not go down that slippery slope.

          •  Which is why I said . . . (0+ / 0-)

            that if pressed, I'd probably agree that Rosen is entitled to protection.  It's better to be overinclusive than underinclusive in this area.

            Nevertheless, we shouldn't be kidding ourselves about the nature of Fox News or other right-wing media outlets.  They most certainly do have a political agenda, and that political agenda -- not the gathering and distribution of news and information -- is its primary mission, if not its exclusive one.  So if the objective of protecting journalists is to ensure that the public has access to truthful information about the operations of government, that interest is unlikely to be served in this particular case.

            As far as the NYT and other organizations having a political agenda, one might certainly argue that they do.  I just don't think that agenda dictates whether the NYT reports or investigates certain things in the same fashion as Fox's agenda does.  The right-wing media and the left-wing media (assuming the NYT could count as the latter) are not equivalent in this regard.  Rachel Maddow has a definite political bent, but she reports actual, empirically verifiable facts.  The same cannot be said of Fox and other Murdoch properties.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Fri May 24, 2013 at 03:58:01 PM PDT

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            •  See, I would argue that the political agenda (1+ / 0-)
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              of the New York Times is just as blatant as that of Fox, but with a couple of differences: 1. A different in politics (although I'd argue that the Times is not left-wing), and 2. A difference in veneer, in that the Times tries to create the appearance of neutrality, when it really isn't, and Fox doesn't even pretend to be neutral.  And while I agree with your assessment of the difference between the right-wing media and left-wing media, someone on the right who loves their Fox News is probably going to say just the opposite to us.

              Which leads me back to my original comment.  Why even open that door about whether or not Rosen is actually a journalist, when someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum from us could ask the same question about Rachel Maddow or Amy Goodman?  Sure we would say that Maddow and Goodman are real journalists, but it's likely that that person would say the same thing about Rosen.  So to me, it's better to just not go there, especially when the Rosen case isn't an isolated incident but part of a larger pattern.  

              At any rate, I hope all is well.

              •  Facts versus opinion (0+ / 0-)

                That's the difference.  Sure, people on the right would argue that Amy Goodman and Rachel Maddow aren't journalists.  And they'd be dead wrong.  Both Maddow and Goodman report facts.  Fox often does not.  I simply reject any comparison between reporters who are faithful to the facts and "journalists" who aren't.  Maddow actually runs corrections when she's wrong. Do you see that on Fox?

                I agree the NYT isn't liberal and that it seeks to project neutrality, which is, of course, the be-all and end-all of today's journalism. The MSM are far more concerned with being seen as impartial than they are with being accurate.  But all viewpoints are not equally valid. Those that are grounded in verifiable fact are simply better than those that are not. The vice of the MSM is that they treat the Gospel truth and outright lies as equally deserving of attention and credence. Their desire for "balance" impedes the search for truth. It also gives the advantage to whoever is willing to tell the biggest lie.  Dick Cheney knew he'd never be called on his bullshit, so why not claim Iraq had WMD when he knew it didn't?  At most, the MSMwould report his claims with the caveat, "but some Democrats disagree."

                So no matter what people on the right claim, only facts are facts.  A belief does not become a fact merely because it is widely held.  Real journalists dig for facts and report them as accurately as possible.  Propagandists put a factual veneer on their ideology and call it fact.  We may need to protect the propagandists so we can be sure we're protecting the journalists, but we should never confuse the two.

                I'm well, thanks.  Hope you are too.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:11:35 PM PDT

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