My July 2 column strongly supported The Times’s decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program. After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.
So, why has he changed his mind?
Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.
But it was all Bush’s fault so no one should blame anyone at the NYT.
What kept me from seeing these matters more clearly earlier in what admittedly was a close call? I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press — two traits that I warned readers about in my first column.
This is so typical of the way the left operates — page one stories about all the evils of the Bush administration, then when facts prove otherwise, if we are lucky, we get a buried admission months later, after the accusations and allegations have been accepted as conventional wisdom. It is predictable, but effective.
Update II: La Shawn Barber thinks Calame should resign.