January 30, 2006
NY Times Indicts, Prosecutes and Convicts BushBy Noel Sheppard
If there was any doubt that the New York Times thoroughly despised President Bush, the last shreds were erased yesterday. In an editorial entitled 'Spies, Lies, and Wiretaps,' the Times presented a case against the Bush administration with similar gusto as it might attack an organized crime family and it's Mafia Don. Assuming it had already received an indictment, the Times then prosecuted its case, and acted as both judge and jury to seal a conviction.
The piece began with a subtle reference to Woodward and Bernstein's famous Watergate expose All the President's Men, while ignoring the female members of the administration, in particular, the current Secretary of State. Apparently, the opportunity to link the President to Watergate trumps the normal feminist rhetorical orthodoxy requiring recognition of both men and women if even one woman is present in a group:
After these opening remarks, the prosecution built its case. It began by discrediting what it perceived was lie number one committed by the defendant, President Bush:
The prosecution here is either deliberately or incompetently missing a couple of simple facts. First, when defendant's representatives were stating that no one could have foreseen the 9/11 attacks, this was indeed prior to the creation of this terrorist surveillance program. Moreover, once the program was created, as it was secret until prosecution criminally decided to out it, there would have been no strategic reason for the defendant or any of his representatives to hint of its existence. Unfortunately, blind hatred appears to be shielding the prosection from such logic.
The prosecution continued with what it believed was lie number two:
Objection your honor. Prosecution here is trying to enter into the record information emanating from news reports that were not identified during discovery and depositions. As such, we ask that this entire remark be struck from the record, and that the jury be advised to thoroughly ignore it.
The reality is that what the New York Times has reported up to this point has been called into serious question by the defendant and his representatives, including the deputy director of National Intelligence and the former director of the NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, just this past Monday. As such, the Times here is introducing its own opinions as fact.
The prosecution continued with what it believed was lie number three:
The prosecution here is thoroughly ignoring previous administrations that have made exactly the opposite case, including the Clinton administration in Congressional hearings in 1994. Moreover, it is ignoring previous precedents established by courts including the SCOTUS, as well as a key appeal that was filed against the FISA court in 2002 regarding this very subject. Finally, the prosecution is making its case prior to the Grand Jury — in this instance, the Senate that is about to have hearings on this issue — determining such illegality.
Lie number four was filled with nothing but supposition and innuendo:
There is some interesting hypocrisy in this final sentence concerning checks and balances that clearly eluded the prosecution. First, there was Congressional oversight over this program inasmuch as high—ranking members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were apprised of the program's creation by the defendant and his representatives, and regularly apprised of its ongoing activities. Moreover, the next check will come in Congressional hearings on the subject. As such, prosecution is once again trying to convict before a crime has been determined to have occurred.
Moving on to what it believed was lie number six, the prosecution made an interesting contradiction by making a bold Constitutional assumption:
The contradiction here is obvious. On the one hand, the prosecution has been arguing that the defendant has no authority to issue warrantless wiretaps. Yet, it admits that 'The Constitution does suggest expanded presidential powers in a time of war.'
But, prosecution tries to eliminate this power by suggesting that there should be some limit on how long a war ensues. Unfortunately, the Constitution doesn't give us any idea of how many years this should be. As such, it is assumptuous on the part of the prosecution to glean the length of such limit, and preposterous to ask the court to apply one arbitrarily.
In lie number seven, the prosecution commits another interesting contradiction:
Prosecution here, while complaining about being damaged by an omission by one of defendant's representatives, is committing an omission itself. On the one hand, the Times feels that it was inappropriate for said representative to not mention President Nixon in his pleadings. Yet, the Times wasn't concerned about the representative not mentioning what the Clinton administration had to say about the president's 'inherent authority' in such matters. Why is that?
Having presented its case, the prosecution instructed the court — in this case, the Senate that is about to hold hearings on this matter — how it should rule:
Given the specious and groundless nature of the prosecution's pleadings, defendant asks that charges be immediately dismissed, and that the court instruct prosecution that it should follow its own advise and stop betraying the public's trust by continually convicting people in its publication before they've been charged with a crime.
Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer to the Free Market Project. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org. Noel welcomes feedback.