In 1971, in what is known as the Pentagon Papers case, the NY Times went to the mat to defend the right of the press to reveal that the government was lying to us about a war. A courageous individual risked everything to bring the “Pentagon Papers” and the information they contained to the public, and the Nixon Administration was trying to stop their publication.
Revealing government lies and corruption used to be an important role of the press.
Times sure have changed. The Times sure has changed. And, as we all know so well, the press and the role they see for themselves sure has changed. Now The Times and others are going to the mat to protect government officials who conspired to make war, and who hurt efforts to stop weapons of mass destruction from reaching terrorists.
A courageous individual named Joe Wilson risked all to reveal to us that the Bush administration was lying about their reasons for starting a war. To punish him, White House officials illegally revealed to reporters the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative. (This also intimidated others in government who might talk to the press.) To make matters even worse, Valerie Plame’s job was hunting down people trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. They not only stopped her from this effort, by revealing her identity they alerted countries and organizations worldwide to look at who she has been meeting with over the years, in case they were informing on them.