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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Veteran Reporter Blasts NY Times: It's Like Giving Anne Frank's Address to the Nazis

Veteran Reporter Blasts NY Times: It's Like Giving Anne Frank's Address to the Nazis by Rich Noyes on June 29, 2006 - 17:20. Re-ported from News Busters by permission of their terms of use. DISCLAIMER: The different points of views of News Busters are not supported nor do they reflect the views and beliefs of the Bosun Locker or any entity affiliated with the Bosun Locker.

So much for the loopy Olbermann-esque spin that it’s just conservatives hoping to “stoke the base” who are distressed by journalists’ leaking of government secrets. Veteran NBC News reporter Richard Valeriani says the New York Times’s decision to publish a front-page story exposing a classified government program designed to track terrorist financing is “irresponsible,” saying it smacks of “giving Anne Frank’s address to the Nazis.” (Hat-tip to Poynter's Jim Romenesko.)

An excerpt of Valeriani’s June 28 posting on the Huffington Post blog:

As someone who spent most of his adult life as a journalist, much of it covering national security affairs, I find the decision of The New York Times and other newspapers to publish the story about the Administration’s money-tracing program to be really irresponsible.

The fault does not lie with the reporters.

It’s their job to find out such things.

The fault lies with the editors who put what they perceive as their own self-interest or the interest of their newspaper ahead of the national interest.

Where was the so-called “public interest?” There was no compelling need for the public to know about this. The story itself acknowledged there was nothing illegal going on—only an anonymous acknowledgement that there was a “potential” for abuse.

This was show-off journalism, pure and simple....

After the take-over of the American Embassy in Iran in 1979, I found out that six American diplomats had escaped and were at large somewhere in Teheran. The executive Editor at NBC Nightly News wanted to run the story, but fortunately, management was more sensible, and we did not report the story at the time. As someone pointed out, it would have been like giving Anne Frank’s address to the Nazis.

Running the story about the money-tracing program is a version of giving Anne Frank’s address to the Nazis.

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Rich Noyes's blog Categories: NBC New York Times Surveillance War on Terrorism

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