How Bad is the New York Times on Lawfare Issues?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 18, 2011

Benjamin Wittes counts the ways in which the Times has failed us, and sums up the situation as follows:

These sort of mistakes are altogether avoidable. There is nothing about the Times’s normative position against non-criminal detention that requires that it serially publish statements that are not true. Plenty of detention foes manage to express their opposition to the practice without making up facts. And the Times needn’t misinform its readers about basic facts either in order to argue its points. But its editorial writers don’t seem remotely interested in exploring how they can make their points in a fashion consistent with the realities they are supposedly bound to report. A couple of months ago, I wrote a brief email to Andrew Rosenthal, the Times’ editorial page editor, suggesting that his board and I should be in touch on these subjects. “I’m not sure if engagement on detainee, trial, and AUMF issues between your board, on the one hand, and me and my crew, on the other, would be fruitful or not,” I wrote. “But it seems like we at least ought to find out.” I never got a response.

Strangely enough, these and similar acts of journalistic malpractice are not likely to evoke a “why, oh why1038 can’t we have a better press corps” cri de coeur from DeLongian realms.

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