Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Somehow unnoticed by astronomers and other scientists, recently the spinning of the Earth on its axis slammed into reverse. I didn't feel it, although it's true that my head is spinning a bit. You probably didn't feel it either. No special scientific equipment spat out anomalous readings to confirm the event, and even the stars give no telltale clue that the way the world interacts with the universe has undergone a radical shift. However, it must have happened. It must have. Otherwise there is no way to explain the reversal recently made by the ombudsman of the New York Times-- a reversal actually admitting that The Times was wrong and the Bush administration was right about whether it was right for The Times to reveal tactics being used by the U.S. government to track terrorist banking transactions. Think about it. Times wrong. Bush administration right. It is almost beyond reckoning. Such an occurrence can only be the result of a massive realignment in the heavens, or something equally dramatic.

Jules Crittenden, the Boston Herald city editor, examines this turn of events, and what might have brought about Byron Calame's change in direction:

Calame, in the throes of some inexplicable crisis of conscience, has admitted his newspaper was wrong to reveal a secret U.S. government program to monitor bank transactions of terrorists, and that he was not only wrong but hypocritical to defend it. He did not mention hopelessly lacking in perspective, but I’ll get to that.

Calame has acknowledged that the United States government’s Swift program to monitor overseas banking transactions in order to zero in on suspected terrorists was legal, under appropriate oversight, and posed no threat to law-abiding Americans. He acknowledged that, but for his prejudices, he could have arrived at this conclusion upon reading the original article. He acknowledged that it was a bad idea for the New York Times to reveal this program to our enemies, over the objections of our government, four months ago.

Crittenden goes on from here to describe the U.S. media's general role in demoralizing the American people regarding the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, and in the common, though not ubiquitous belief that the President lied to take us into Iraq for his own selfish ends. He's pretty blunt about the media's method, and its effect:
Our media has repeatedly propagated falsehoods about what the administration and the president have said, about what was known and about what in some cases has been borne out about the threats we have faced from al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and others. This has been done to such an extent that reasonable people cannot be blamed for believing their president lied to them before committing troops to battle. To the extent that some seemingly responsible people now question whether we face any threat at all. The history leading up to the conflicts and crises we face has been repeatedly misrepresented, in a manner that undercuts the authority of a wartime president and threatens the credibility of our nation in the world -- the single most important nation in maintaining stability in the world.
Crittenden further examines what the ultimate end to this constant media assault on the veracity of the President, and the necessity for our engagement in the war, could be if their current behavior goes unchecked, and people, especially those in power, continue to believe the line they have spun. It's a decidedly negative result, abandoning the Iraqi people to their fate, and us to our shame in that abandonment. At the same time, he holds out some hope that Byron Calame's one-eighty might be a sign of "an awakening." After all, this is The New York Times, or at least a representative of it, exercising a little confession and repentance--admitting something so momentous as the Bush administration being right, and the Grey Lady being wrong--and even more, acknowledging that it was his own prejudices that made him take the wrong side in the debate in the first place. Someday, maybe science will explain how the Earth reversed her course, and why no one noticed it occurring, but for now, it's enough to know such a thing can happen. Someday, this dizzy feeling might pass as well, but for now, I'm kind of enjoying it.

Hat tip: Instapundit