Banking Backlash Heats Up

Howard Kurtz today looks at the scrutiny the New York Times is coming under from all angles in the wake of the banking story. Both journos and pols alike are questioning the credibility of the decision and the publication.

“Despite the stories that appeared in competing papers, the New York Times is still bearing the brunt of the criticism at the White House, on Capitol Hill and throughout the media world.”

Executive Editor Bill Keller “acknowledged, as did the Times article, that there was no clear evidence that the banking program was illegal.” But, he said, “there were officials who talked to us who were uncomfortable with the legality of this program, and others who were uncomfortable with the sense that what started as a temporary program had acquired a kind of permanence. … I always start with the premise that the question is, why should we not publish? Publishing information is our job. What you really need is a reason to withhold information.”

NRO’s Stephen Spruiell told Kurtz there was a good reason for the comparatively muted reaction to the telephone eavesdropping story. “The divisive nature of that program tempered some of the criticism,” he said. “Because the [banking] program is so defensible, you’re seeing a much more vocal response.”