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Chris Field is Editor of Human Events Online [go to Field index]

Not All "The News That's Fit To Print"
If They're Not Biased, How Did the Times Miss This?...

[Chris Field] 7/26/04

For years, conservatives have been decrying the liberal bias of the "mainstream" media, with the New York Times often cited has the most offensive perpetrator. Of course, denials of such bias fly out of the Times' newsroom, but are their cries anything more than complete and utter nonsense? No.

What the Times doesn't understand about their reputation as a liberal rag is that reputations are, quite often, earned -- whether they are positive or negative. And in their case, the Times has not only earned the proper reputation but also is actively living up to it.

This time, the so-called "Newspaper of Record" buried what was arguably the biggest story last Tuesday.

If you paid attention to the news at all Tuesday morning, you heard or read that Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security advisor and an "informal advisor" for John Kerry, is the subject of a federal criminal investigation for removing highly classified documents from the National Archives.

But if your only source of news was from reading the pages of the New York Times, you could very easily have missed this (not-overly-surprising) story that a Clinton official did something seemingly underhanded. In this case it was the taking of documents which the AP said "were highly classified and included critical assessments about the Clinton administration's handling of the millennium terror threats as well as identification of America's terror vulnerabilities at airports and seaports."

The AP also reported that "some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of al Qaeda terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing."

What was Berger's response to questions about documents that are still missing? Said the former Clinton advisor: "When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had except for a few documents that I apparently had accidentally discarded."

So, how did the New York Times treat this major story? They buried a small, six-paragraph, 220-word story in a box at the bottom of Page A16 -- without a picture -- with the title "Clinton Aide Took Classified Material." Notice the Times didn't mention Berger's name or position in the title; instead, they simply called him an "aide" -- as though he worked for the Clinton White House as a secretary or a staff researcher. The Times article goes on to omit the fact that Berger "accidentally discarded" some highly classified documents -- documents critical of the Clinton Administration.

Exactly what news is considered "fit to print" by New York Times? CRO


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