July 01, 2006

Overtaken by events

Here's something I was getting ready to post as an over-the-top goof, in response to the following from Dana Milbank's "The Zeitgeist Checklist" in today's Slate (emphasis mine):

Homeland security: It's open season (again) on the press, with Dick Cheney leading the firing squad and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., accusing the New York Times of treason for publishing information about how the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communication is helping to track terrorist finances. Never mind that much of the information had already been in the public domain—it's good politics to blame the media.
Hey Dana, I'll bet you'd like it if the NY and LA Times did a story containing your address, the hours you're not home, your security code, etc. With the headline:

Dana Milbank Sure Does Have a Nice Home Entertainment Center

Why not? Come on, much of that information is already in the public domain.

But that would be ridiculous, right? No credible newspaper would really do something so irresponsible. I was making a joke.

Whoops.

P.S. "Hey, why is Malkin talking about this? She did the same thing!" No she didn't. She posted information from a press release. A press release. In case you don't know what words mean, a press release is a statement released to the press. It is not private information, by definition.

P.P.S. To everybody who's saying the NYT is trying to lead assassins to Cheney and Rumsfeld's cribs, I prescribe the following two-part remedy: 1) Breathe into a paper bag until your head clears; 2) Write the following phrase 100 times on the blackboard: "Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence." Think Inspector Clouseau, not Hannibal Lecter.

P.P.P.S. Not that anybody ever listens to me, but publishing the addresses and phone numbers of journalists is a really bad idea. Their work contact info is fair game, sure, but private information should be off-limits. That's what this is about.

Posted by Jim Treacher at July 1, 2006 01:47 PM