Monday, February 28, 2011

"We tried our best not to be misleading"

The bigger the story, the more that is at stake, the less believable is the New York Times.  The latest example is the paper's coverage of the CIA/Blackwater spy Raymond Davis' arrest in Pakistan for gunning down two people in cold blood, shooting one of them five times, twice in the back.  It turns out that while the paper was reporting with credulity President Obama's characterization of Davis as "our diplomat in Pakistan," newspapers in the region had already identified him as a CIA agent, and the Times itself knew it as well.

The Times didn't report what they knew about Davis until after the Guardian of London reported it. The Times says they withheld the truth about Davis because the US government had asked them to because they feared for Davis' life in a Pakistani jail.  But as the Guardian's reader's rep wrote over the weekend, everyone in Pakistan already knew Davis was CIA, and the government was taking great pains to protect him in jail. So the only people the Times was withholding information from was its own readers.

Which brings us to the headline of this post. Believe it or not, it comes from the Time's Washington bureau chief, Dean Baquet, who said in the ombudsman's post: "we tried our best not to be misleading." That's quite a slogan for the newspaper of record, and a far cry from "All the news that's fit to print."

No comments: