Defence not required

The press has a responsibility to tell the truth in times of war, no matter the pressure from governments or critics. The New York Times has recently been accused of treason for daring to report on Bush administration attempts to source “terrorist” funding.

The editor of the LA Times and executive editor of the Times have written a response to critics that attempts to explain their behaviour, defends the right to publish and be damned and ensures doubters that they really are on “our” side in the “war on terror”:

We, and the people who work for us, are not neutral in the struggle against terrorism.

Both men aren’t past ignoring the elephant in the room (namely pushing bogus WMD claims before the Iraq war):

In recent years our papers have brought you a great deal of information the White House never intended for you to know — classified secrets about the questionable intelligence that led the country to war in Iraq, about the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, about the transfer of suspects to countries that are not squeamish about using torture, about eavesdropping without warrants.

As Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor of The Washington Post, asked recently in the pages of that newspaper: “You may have been shocked by these revelations, or not at all disturbed by them, but would you have preferred not to know them at all? If a war is being waged in America’s name, shouldn’t Americans understand how it is being waged?”

The article is a fascinating examination of the mindset required to maintain elite media. One major question remains, however. What stories did the papers refuse to run, and why?