From the Desk of Bill Keller
Executive Editor, The New York Times
With my hectic schedule of Pulitzer committees and Columbia Journalism School symposia, I don't always have time to answer my mail as fully as etiquette demands. Lord knows I'll be in the Audi headed to a Friday night ACLU cocktail benefit in the Hamptons when my Blackberry starts beeping and I have to pull over on the Long Island Expressway, and it turns out to be a text message from some idiot in Wistucky bitching about the last Krugman column. But our story about the government's surveillance of international banking records has generated a few questions and concerns that I take very seriously. As the editor responsible for the difficult decision to publish that story, I'd like to offer a personal response. I'll type v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y so you morons with questions and concerns finally understand.
Some of the incoming mail quotes the spittle-flecked words of conservative bloggers and TV or radio pundits who say that drawing attention to the government's anti-terror measures is unpatriotic and dangerous. (I could ask, how does somebody that retarded get my email? Cripes, I'm going to have a long chat with Network Services this week.) Some comes from not-quite-as-stupid readers who have considered the story in question and still wonder whether publishing such material is wise. Hey, go figure. Thankfully some comes from a better class of readers who are grateful for the information, and attach e-Vites to fabulous midweek gallery openings on the Upper West Side.
It's an unusual and powerful thing, this freedom that our founders gave to the press. Who are the editors of The New York Times (or the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Jihadi Accountant and other publications that also ran the banking story) to disregard the wishes of the President and his appointees? I'll tell you who we are, pal. We are journalists - the people whom the inventors of this country specifically appointed to be the protectors of this little experiment we call the "human race" against the privations of out-of-control Texas Oil Nazis. And if you check your Constitution, I don't think you'll see anything in there about the right to clog up the press's inbox with your stupid Rush Limbaugh talking points.
Read the rest...