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The New York Times has lost its mind. And by mind, I mean principles and understanding of the First Amendment.
This failure may not be news to you, but take it easy on me - I worked there 10 years, I almost got killed in Iraq for them (yes, true, don't ask details). I'm having a tough time with this betrayal.
You may have heard that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. testified yesterday at a Congressional hearing about censorship.
But unless you read the New York Times, you probably did not see how the Times - the world’s most important newspaper, the outlet that sets the agenda for ALL non-conservative media - covered the hearing:
I barely know how to respond to this insanity. Obviously, the answers to those two questions are:
Yes, “misinformation” is protected by the First Amendment, the government doesn’t get to determine what facts are fit for Americans to know.
Never (unless the “falsehoods” violate civil or criminal statutes, such as laws against securities fraud. In that case, they should be prosecuted or be subject to administrative sanction after the fact and after court or administrative hearings that include Constitutional protections for the defendants, not “tamped down,” whatever “tamped down” means.)
In other words, never.
Yet the New York Times is now on the verge of endorsing government censorship, or at least saying that it shouldn’t be dismissed, that its value is a “thorny question.”
Does the Times even remember what business it is in?
Its guiding principle is that governments and companies DO NOT DETERMINE WHAT IT WRITES, and that, aside from imminent national security risks (and I mean imminent, like the location of a terrorist bomb in Manhattan), it has an absolute right to publish without prior restraint.
That used to be its guiding principle, anyway.
Today the Times prefers to be a quasi-official arm of the biomedical security state.
(YOU KNOW WHO ISN’T AN ARM OF THE BIOMEDICAL SECURITY STATE? THIS GUY! JOIN ME.)
Making matters even worse, the author of the story on the Kennedy hearing, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, is not some woke newbie who graduated from Oberlin two years ago and was a new media producer before getting a byline. She has worked at the Times since 1997. She speaks for the paper.
Does Sheryl Gay Stolberg not remember all the stories she’s written that some company or politician or press secretary called “out-of-context” or “unfair” or "inaccurate” (all old-school words for “misinformation”)? What about all the other reporters at the Times?
Do they not see that they are not merely walking into a censorship trap, they are setting it themselves?
I truly do not understand what has happened to journalism, and the Times in particular. When I was there - and I was there for a decade, not a cup of coffee - investigative reporting was the paper’s highest calling.
The unofficial Marine motto is “Every Marine a rifleman.” The Times version could have been “Every reporter an investigative reporter.”
Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable. If your mother says she loves you, check it out.
We forgot those principles at our peril. The greatest shame at the Times during the decade I was there was not Jayson Blair’s fabrications but Judith Miller’s credulous reporting on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Yet now the Times will not even report on the fact - the black-and-white inarguable fact - that the Biden White House tried to force Twitter to censor one of its own former reporters.
(One really tough question)
Again, for those of you who don’t like the New York Times, who have never liked it, this hypocrisy may come as no surprise.
Bear with me, folks. It’s a surprise to me.
And it hurts.