Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The passing of a generation - from the Pentagon Papers to Wikileaks

I suspect that if I were to ask several Tea Party people to reveal their opinions of the New York Times, they'd state that it's a communist-dominated enemy of America. (Then again, some of these Tea Party people would say the same about Fox News, but that's a whole different story.)

The New York Times' reputation among the right is partially because of the Pentagon Papers episode, an incident in which Daniel Ellsberg obtained secret Pentagon documents which were then published by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Ellsberg's name has recently appeared in the news in relation to another leak:

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, lashed out together on Saturday at the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of whistle-blowers, including those responsible for the release of secret documents on the Iraq war....

Mr. Ellsberg, who said he had flown overnight from California to attend, described Mr. Assange admiringly as “the most dangerous man in the world” for challenging governments, particularly the United States. He said the WikiLeaks founder had been “pursued across three continents” by Western intelligence services and compared the Obama administration’s threat to prosecute Mr. Assange to his own treatment under President Richard M. Nixon.

This article, by the way, appeared in the New York Times. But apparently the Times is not regarded so well in this latest episode, at least by Glenn Greenwald at salon.com:

To supplement my post yesterday about The New York Times' government-subservient coverage of the WikiLeaked documents regarding the war that newspaper played such a vital role in enabling, consider -- beyond the NYT's sleazy, sideshow-smears against Julian Assange -- the vast disparity between how newspapers around the world and The New York Times reported on a key revelation from these documents: namely, that the U.S. systematically and pursuant to official policy ignored widespread detainee abuse and torture by Iraqi police and military (up to and including murders).

Greenwald then shows pictures of online coverage from several media sources, most of which state that the US ignored Iraqi torture. The Times headline? "Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands." Greenwald also notes that the Times dutifully ignored the T-word.

Actually, when you get into the heart of Greenwald's article, it's more of an attack on American coverage of the leaks in general (the Washington Post is also mentioned), along with an attack on American elites:

The last thing American political and media elites in general want is a discussion of the legal obligations to investigate torture and bring the torturers to legal account....

Hmm...attacking the elites? Glenn Greenwald's sounding like...Richard Nixon.
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