The New York Times ran a story Saturday on conservative support for a federal media shield bill, “From Places Unexpected, Support for the Press.” Cited in the story as evidence are a conservative judge, Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. John McCain and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN). Pence is the trump card in this hand, being a leader of House conservatives.
The article notes the Bush Administration’s opposition based on concerns about leaks of classified intelligence and national security information.
But yet again, a story in a major media outlet fails to refer to the serious concerns about the legislation expressed by U.S. businesses, who worry that a shield law will protect criminal acts committed against them. (Our earlier posts here and here.)
It’s almost as if the reporters are lobbying for the bill.
A Puzzling Omission: I don’t think it’s a secret that The New York Times tends to be particularly one-sided when reporting on matters of concern to The New York Times. Given that, perhaps everyone expects that a Times story on conservative support for a federal reporter’s privilege is going to be as much a work of advocacy as a work of reporting.
Still, isn’t it a bit odd that Saturday’s story on the reporters’ privilege doesn’t disclose that both of the credited authors, Eric Lichtblau and Philip Shenon, have been personally involved recently in high-profile DOJ leak investigations? Lichtblau was himself a target after he co-authored the 2005 NSA surveillance story. And Philip Shenon was one of the two reporters who had his phone records subpoened in the Valerie Plame leak investigation (the other was Judith Miller). I don’t know the official standards for journalistic ethics, but it seems pretty fishy to me that Lichtblau & Shenon didn’t disclose their background in the story.
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