by Gareth Porter, Consortium News:
The New York Times has publicly acknowledged that it sent a story to the U.S. government for approval from “national security officials” before publication.
This confirms what veteran New York Times correspondents such as James Risen have said: The American newspaper of record regularly collaborates with the U.S. government, suppressing reporting that top officials don’t want made public.
On June 15, the Times reported that the U.S. government is escalating its cyber attacks on Russia’s power grid. According to the article, “the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively,” as part of a larger “digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.”
In response to the report, President Donald Trump attacked the Times on Twitter, calling the article “a virtual act of Treason.”
The New York Times’ PR office replied to Trump from its official Twitter account, defending the story and noting that it had, in fact, been cleared with the U.S. government before being printed.
“Accusing the press of treason is dangerous,” the Times communications team said. “We described the article to the government before publication.”
“As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns,” theTimes added.
Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 16 June 2019
Indeed, the Times report on the escalating American cyberattacks against Russia is attributed to “current and former [US] government officials.” The scoop in fact came from these apparatchiks, not from a leak or the dogged investigation of an intrepid reporter.
‘Real’ Journalists Get Approval
The neoliberal self-declared “Resistance” jumped on Trump’s reckless accusation of treason (the Democratic Coalition, which boasts, “We help run #TheResistance,” responded by calling Trump “Putin’s puppet”). The rest of the corporate media went wild.
But what was entirely overlooked was the most revealing thing in The New York Times’ statement: The newspaper of record was essentially admitting that it has a symbiotic relationship with the government.
In fact, some prominent American pundits have gone so far as to insist that this symbiotic relationship is precisely what makes someone a journalist.
In May, neoconservative Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen — a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush — declared that WikiLeaks publisher and political prisoner Julian Assange is “not a journalist;” rather, he is a “spy” who “deserves prison.” (Thiessen also once called Assange “the devil.”)
What was the Post columnist’s rationale for revoking Assange’s journalistic credentials?
Unlike “reputable news organizations, Assange did not give the U.S. government an opportunity to review the classified information WikiLeaks was planning to release so they could raise national security objections,” Thiessen wrote. “So responsible journalists have nothing to fear.”
In other words, this former U.S. government speechwriter turned corporate media pundit insists that collaborating with the government, and censoring your reporting to protect “national security,” is definitionally what makes you a journalist.