Can you guess which newspaper shared a column with the CIA before it was published?

The New York Times! And it goes from tragedy to perversity: it was caught by a Freedom of Information Act request. [Politico]


  1. Beg pardon, but giving the government a chance to comment and to offer a good reason not to publish (if there is one) *IS* a common newspaper practice.

    Whether one accepts the government’s objections, or goes ahead and publishes anyway with or without those counter-arguments, is a separate matter.

    1. Giving the government an opportunity for comment is not the same thing as leaking a column in its entirety. 

      More importantly, the reporter responsible for the leak was not the reporter who wrote the article. Maureen Dowd, the person who wrote the op-ed column in question, was never notified that her colleague Mark Mazzetti made this leak. Included in the email Mazzetti sent to the CIA was this message: “this didn’t come from me… and please delete after you read.”

      Does that sound like an ethically sound practice to you?

      1. Well, it depends.  It’s a breach of office etiquette, to be sure, but maybe Mazzetti felt it was only ethical to give the CIA a look before publishing and didn’t trust Dowd to do it herself. 

        Ideally, the reason the CIA wants to take a look isn’t to suppress dissent, it’s to make sure the article isn’t going to endanger anyone, directly or indirectly.  Certainly this is not an ideal world, but I can see how Mazzetti might have had legitimate concerns.

        1. You’re making excuses—there is no evidence whatsoever that Mazetti thought Dowd’s article was likely to endanger anyone. His email to the CIA even says as much. Even if he DID believe that, he should have gone to Dowd first, and then an editor if she ignored him.

          1.  Well since you clearly know the two parties on such a personal level, I’ll defer to you.  My impression of Dowd is that she’s a rather rigid-thinker who isn’t very open to criticism, leftist though she may be.  But again, you obviously know way better than I.

  2. [edited]
    I’m confused by the sarcasm I’m perceiving… I thought the NYT was ‘one of the better papers’ as far reporting politically uncomfortable issues though. Didn’t they get some serious criticism from the US Govt. for reporting on drone attacks and on the whole national security letter thing, just to think of two examples? Did I miss some stories where the NYT did bad? I’m not kidding, I thought the NYT was up there as, “best English language news source in the world”, let alone “among print newspapers.” For me this story is surprising and disappointing.

    1. Not the first time they got a little too cozy with the Feds though. Let’s not forget that Judith Miller’s WMD coverage was one of the major contributing factors to the war in Iraq. (Not to mention her role in the Valerie Plame thing.)

      [edited to correct Plame’s name]

    2. The NYT has a great history, but it’s been very guilty of “don’t rock the boat”.  (It’s particularly notable the amazing contortions it went through to avoid saying “torture” about anything that happened to Guantanamo prisoners.  In the NYT, waterboarding is torture… when writing stories about the Japanese in WWII.  But not since.)

  3. When people start emitting nonsense like “The optics aren’t what they look like,” you know their brains are skittering out of control like a running dog trying to turn on a slick kitchen floor. 

    1. Of course the optics aren’t what they look like. We’re on the other side of the looking glass.

  4. The more the papers rely on insiders, and the less the papers rely on their own investigative journalism, the more vulnerable they are to pressure.

    The newspapers had all the info anyone needed to expose the wmd lies as lies, and they didn’t. The people making these decisions were either incompetents or they were crooks. The newspapers held back stories on war crimes, at the request of the administration. They were crooks.

  5. Before clicking, I said aloud: 

    “The Old Gray Lady? The Paper of Record? Bill Keller’s Meal Ticket? The Sultans of Sellout? The Big Ragu? The Pine Barrens? Ike Turner’s Telethon?”

    (OK I started getting carried away with the nicknames)

  6. What I find more scary is how they were able to get this twit to send them the piece.
    How did they know it was coming?
    What sort of pressure was brought to bear and on how many to get the information?

    When the least transparent government in a long time keeps running its shadow operations to make sure they don’t look bad, you would think a paper might start asking more questions and digging harder. 
    They spare no expense trying to make sure no one will question them and what they are doing, and turn each person who does into a poster child. 
    This is how far we are willing to go to ruin your and everyone around you lives if you dare tell the truth about us, because it makes us look bad.
    Look at the little things that have been leaked out so far, one really needs to start to consider how big the rest of the iceberg of bad acts really is for them to flip out over the “small” stuff.

  7. Lots of people have claimed that the CIA has had ringers working at the NYT for a long time. 

    1.  If you, or anyone else reading this thread, seriously thinks that the CIA doesn’t have their bloody fingerprints all over the American media, I know a nice bridge for sale up in Brooklyn. Just spend a little bit of time with anyone who works in a “news” room. It’s common knowledge.

      1. Having had some of the US’s intelligence agencies banging on my door, I can assure you that, though their intent may be malicious, they’re really not very talented at what they do.

  8. Leaked internal corporate document.
    Boingers: “Ah, well that is quite an interesting insight into Apple.  Also, a little creepy”

    Leaked internal corporate news story.
    Boingers: “OMG, government overreach”.

    Was there pressure exerted on the content?  Did they delay the release of the story? Did they threaten the paper?

    Oh, well, no. But the practice is “frowned upon”.  My stars and garters.  As far as I am concerned, it is between the NYT and the leaker. I’m having a hard time mustering my indignation for this particular instance.

    1. This particular story is less “OMG, government overreach” than “OMG, what kind of government-fellating hacks are running the NYT these days?”

      We should be able to expect better from our so-called newspaper of record when one reporter leaks another reporter’s story to the CIA without notifying the author and the newspaper sticks up for the leaker after his actions come to light.

  9. I had to read the headline about a dozen times before I figured out it didn’t mean the Times and the CIA both traded off writing articles in a particular column. Upon first reading, it sure sounded like the Times was being accused of letting the CIA ghost-write articles.

    Anyway, now that I’ve wrapped my head around what it really said, I’m not sure I really see the big deal. It’s not much different from when a security researcher gives a software company the courtesy of advance notice before they publish the details of an exploit. Either way the exploit gets published.

  10. Big media hugs their BFF’s to their chest and agrees:

    Whats good for Big Government and Big Business is good for us.

    I miss journalism.

  11. Eh, you can’t have a malformed and mislead citizenry without the CIA stringing along  this current crop of wannabe nitwit journalists who’ve been educated by wannabe nitwit journalists. The rugged ballsy types who will take on empires hardly exist anymore.

  12. People still need a reason not to read that junky crap? The NYT is the Facebook of newsmedia: They pretend to care about ethics and users/readers but then just do whatever is in their own interests.

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