Friday, December 16, 2005

Full Disclosure

The NYT apparently had a number of reasons for running today's story on increased domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Opposition to the Bush Administration and the War on Terror is a given. And, as Michelle Malkin and others have postulated, the story does a nice job of shifting focus away from Thursday's extraordinarily successful elections in Iraq.

It also turns out that one of the Times reporters who prepared the story (James Risen) may benefit financially from the front-page splash. According to Drudge, Mr. Risen has a book coming out in a few weeks, which will detail the NSA surveillance program and other "explosive, newsbreaking stories" related to the intelligence community and the War on Terror. A page one exclusive certainly won't hurt booksales. According to the Times, publication of the article was delayed more than a year, to allow "additional reporting" on the subject.

To their credit, the TV networks run a disclaimer when reporting on a topic involving another element of their corporation. The Times owes an explanation to its readers as well. Why did the story run now--on the heels of the successful Iraqi election--and why wasn't Risen's book deal mentioned in an editor's note that should have accompanied the article?

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