NY Times Published The Pentagon Papers, But Can't Be Bothered To Send Reporter To Bradley Manning Trial

from the not-a-big-enough-story? dept

The NY Times, of course, was the newspaper central to the case of the Pentagon Papers. That involved a huge dump of information concerning a Pentagon study highlighting how the Johnson Administration had lied to the public and Congress concerning Vietnam. The papers were leaked to the NYT by Daniel Ellsberg. The Times proceeded to release excerpts of it along with some reporting, and eventually the entire set of documents was released publicly. Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act -- though eventually all the charges against him were dismissed, in part due to "gross governmental misconduct." The NYTimes was hit with an injunction against publication, and a legal fight ensued, which the NY Times eventually won. There are, of course, significant similarities with Wikileaks. Again, we're talking about a large amount of classified government documents, highlighting lies to the public by the administration, and which were leaked to Wikileaks by Bradley Manning. The documents were, at first, released in excerpts along with some reporting, and eventually the entire set of documents was released publicly. Manning has been arrested and is awaiting trial.

There have been some ongoing hearings, many of which we've covered, but some folks have noticed an oddity. The New York Times did not send a reporter. It merely ran a single AP wire story. Thankfully, the NY Times' own public editor is scolding the paper for its failure here, noting that no matter what you think of Manning or the whole Wikileaks issue:
The testimony is dramatic and the overarching issues are important.

The Times should be there.
The excuse from NYT Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt seems especially weak. Basically, saying there just isn't that much to the story:
We’ve covered him and will continue to do so. But as with any other legal case, we won’t cover every single proceeding. In this case, doing so would have involved multiple days of a reporter’s time, for a relatively straightforward story.
Apparently, when it's someone else, rather than the NY Times itself... it's just a "relatively straightforward story" not worth a reporter's time.

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  1. identicon
    Loki, 7 Dec 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    Governments will always gravitate towards gross misconduct, as power monger will always try to subvert the system in inverse proportion to the level of conscientious oversight by those governed.

    There will, of course, be those who will strive to correct that shift, but as the Founding Fathers clearly state in the Declaration of Independence:

    "accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

    However:

    when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security

    And, in fact, if you really take time to read the whole document, you see that about half of it is really nothing but a very long "laundry list" of abuses and usurpations that have led them to abolish the English governance of them and set up their own.

    If you really sit back and look at it, you can start to compile a similar list for our own government over the past few decades. It's just at this stage of the game those abuses are still sufferable enough that most people are unwilling/unmotivated enough at this point to do much about it.

    But make no mistake, thousands of years of history have shown that such abuses will continue to escalate until enough people are under enough suffrage to do something about it (at which point despotism/tyranny is generally - but not always - to the point a changing of the guard necessitates some level of violent opposition).

    This is, of course, why we are seeing the tactics currently being taken by excessively large corporations and governments to try to gain some measure of control of the internet. The internet allows an ever increasing amount of sharing to the rising levels of abuses, it allows them to be compiled in one place, and it allows fast easy dissemination to an every increasing number of people who may not have the time or ability to discover the increasing nature of those abuses for themselves.

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