Robin Boyd at Newsbusters notes that the Associated Press is playing book publicist for NYTimes reporter James Risen, whose book blabbing about the Bush administration’s classified counterterrorism programs is out today:
The AP has earned quite a reputation of ignoring the positive reports out of Iraq and painting with a broad brush of negativity. They have sunk to a new low by writing a “news” article that is essentially a promotional advertisement for a book. It is just another way for the AP to get a “hit” against the Bush administration. The AP should stick to reporting the news – they have enough trouble with that.
Time magazine’s preview of Risen’s book is only slightly less unbalanced. Romesh Ratnesar concludes:
Risen’s reporting isn’t bulletproof. Like most intelligence reporters, he relies heavily on anonymous sources, and several anecdotes in State of War are attributed to a lone leaker. That makes some of the book’s claims difficult to verify, while leaving Risen open to charges that he is being used by partisan ax grinders. Risen, who is contesting a court order to reveal the identities of sources he quoted in a series of disputed articles about the nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, admits that the book requires readers to make a “leap of faith” and accept the credibility of his sources. But the number of intelligence officials willing to risk their careers and come forward convinced Risen that their critiques have merit. “I got to these people at a good time,” he says. “The frustration over the way things have been going in the Bush Administration had built up within the government. There were a lot of people who were increasingly uncomfortable with what was going on.”
Risen gave his first TV book interview this morning to the Today Show’s Katie Couric (of course!). Channeling Chuck Schumer, Risen cast his anonymous sources as “whistleblowers” motivated “by the purest reasons.” How do we know that’s true? Because Risen says so.
Download video clip #1 (.wmv file).
Asked about the timing of the story, Risen says “it wasn’t my decision” and refuses to “discuss the internal deliberations.” Instead, he pats himself and the Gray Lady on the back for their “great public service” in publishing the story and reiterates his praise of his anonymous sources as “truly American patriots.”
Download video clip #2 (.wmv file).
I guess we’ll see if and how long Risen is willing to stay in jail for his patriotic illegal leakers.
Tim Graham at The Corner:
I do wish Couric and others would push harder on the anonymous-source question: how do we know these sources aren’t members of MoveOn.org? How do we know they aren’t die-hard Hillary Clinton fans, or long-time Bush haters? Just because they’re career government officials tells us nothing about their anonymous motivations.
ShrinkWrapped has an interesting post on the psychology of the Times.
Kobayashi Maru plumbs the MSM franchise, erosion, and backlash.
AJ Strata has a proposal.
So does Tigerhawk, who examines the ethics of journalism and asks: “When did journalists decide that their citizenship did not matter?”
Bulldogpundit at ABP suspects “that the moonbats are counting on Risen’s book to do for them what Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, the Bin Laden tape, “NYTrogate”, Halliburton contracts, the “Jersey Girls”, Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, Christopher Reeve and John Murtha couldn’t do – convince the American people to come around to their way of thinking. Sadly for them, but luckily for the country, this too shall fail.”
John H. at Power Line: The predictable distinction between us and them
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