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Category Archives: Media Criticism

A Further Thought on the Demise of the New Republic

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Friday, December 5, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Jack summed up well my feelings on yesterday’s news about the New Republic, and I have only two things to add—one of them institutional and one of them personal. On the institutional side, as readers know, Lawfare has had a productive relationship with TNR for a while now, one in which TNR promoted Lawfare‘s content and in which we developed . . .
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On the Sad Collapse of the New Republic [UPDATED]

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 6:21 PM

I’ve read the New Republic since college.  And I’ve read book reviews in the “back of the book,” edited by Leon Wieseltier, most devotedly.  I have always loved the books he chose and the reviews he edited.  Through many different styles of Editor-in-Chief and other upheavals at the magazine over the years, Leon’s book reviews . . .
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Khorasan: Not Quite Out of Nowhere

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 9:31 PM

In a post this weekend, to which both Jack and Ben have already written responses, Glenn Greenwald suggests the Khorasan group is a “wholesale concoction” that appeared “seemingly out of nowhere” in the press in the run-up to the current campaign. In contrast to Greenwald’s claim, the Long War Journal has a series of posts dating . . .
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U.S. News Gets it Wrong on Guantanamo and Foley’s Killer

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:27 AM

If terrorist capture comes, can a debate over Guantanamo vs. federal court be far behind? Apparently not. This time, the debate is coming even before the terrorist’s capture—or even his positive identification. And U.S. News and World Report, at least, is getting the answer wrong. The magazine reports that “Legal experts say it’s possible the jihadist who beheaded American . . .
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The New York Times Equivocates on Ransoms

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Friday, August 22, 2014 at 3:38 PM

“There is no simple answer on whether to submit to terrorist extortion,” editorializes the New York Times today. Actually, there is a right answer—and it’s a relatively simple one. As the editorial acknowledges in the next sentence, “The United States and Britain refuse to pay ransoms, and there is evidence that hostage takers target victims . . .
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Government Protection of Classified Information, August 2014 [UPDATED]

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Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:37 PM

From this morning’s NYT story on the Foley rescue operation: The officials revealed the mission in a conference call with reporters, in which they spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the operation. . . . Two Defense Department officials, who spoke separately [about the classified operation] on the condition of . . .
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Schlesinger v. Cillizza

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Chris Cillizza has a piece in the WP that argues that the world is too splintered and partisan and complex, and communication and persuasion too difficult, for the president of the United States to succeed.  This is an old claim.  John Steinbeck said of the presidency under Johnson: “We give the President more work than . . .
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Barton Gellman on the Washington Post’s NSA Story

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Monday, July 14, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Over at the Washington Post, reporter Barton Gellman has a lengthy article on his (and his coauthors’) reporting methods and ethical choices in their recent story on the large cache of electronic conversations that Edward Snowden gave them. The article is excellent—interesting and illuminating in a number of respects—and I recommend reading it in its entirety. For present purposes, . . .
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A Quick Read of the Post’s Latest NSA Story

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Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 11:14 AM

The Washington Post has a dramatic new NSA story today, one that is qualitatively different from any of the previous Edward Snowden revelations. Written by Barton Gellman, Julie Tate, and Ashkan Soltani, the story describes a large cache of intercepted communications (roughly 160,000 email and instant message exchanges) and the benefits and privacy costs of . . .
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Obama’s Blueprint for Fighting Terrorism Collides With Reality in Iraq

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Friday, July 4, 2014 at 8:42 AM

That is the title of a NYT story this morning by Landler, Gordon, and Mazzetti.  The “Blueprint” they have in mind is the one the President laid out at West Point, which (in their words) “relies less on American soldiers . . . and more on training troops in countries where those threats had taken . . .
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The Atlantic Reports that the ACLU Reports that Glenn Greenwald Will Report Bad Surveillance Stuff

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Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Over at the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf is reporting that Anthony Romero of the ACLU in a speech in Aspen is reporting that Glenn Greenwald someday soon will report that really bad surveillance stuff is happening: Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told an Aspen Ideas Festival panel Wednesday that forthcoming revelations . . .
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The New York Times Editorial Page Discovers Originalism—In Japan

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Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 8:10 AM

The New York Times this morning has an editorial objecting to the reinterpretation of Japan’s constitution to make it a bit less pacifist: Mr. Abe has long argued for changing the Constitution on the grounds that Japan should assert itself as a “normal” country, freed of postwar constraints imposed as a consequence of its wartime . . .
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Double Standard in Publishing Classified Information?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I am struck by the circumspection of the American press in not revealing the name of the CIA Station Chief in Afghanistan whom the Obama Administration inadvertently disclosed over the weekend.  That name will surely come out, if it hasn’t already.  But the episode made me wonder why the press appears to follow old norms . . .
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David Barron, Targeted Killing, and Rand Paul’s Wrongheaded Oped

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Monday, May 12, 2014 at 8:10 AM

“I believe that killing an American citizen without a trial is an extraordinary concept and deserves serious debate,” writes Sen. Rand Paul in an oped in the New York Times this morning. “I can’t imagine appointing someone to the federal bench, one level below the Supreme Court, without fully understanding that person’s views concerning the extrajudicial . . .
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The New York Times on David Barron

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 8:36 AM

This was bound to happen eventually, I suppose: the New York Times editorial page has gotten behind the effort to hold up David Barron’s judicial nomination. Sort of. Calling Barron, whom Obama has nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, “The Lawyer Behind the Drone Policy,” the Times notes that: . . .
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Der Spiegel on U.S.-German Relations

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 7:18 AM

A very interesting article in Der Spiegel about U.S.-German relations, the NSA investigation, and Ukraine in light of Angela Merkel’s recent trip to Washington. The bottom line is that the Ukraine crisis and the resulting need for U.S.-European unity are forcing Merkel to back off both on her demands for changes to the U.S.-German intelligence relationship and . . .
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Hypocrisy Revealed! U.S. Exploits Vulnerabilities, Gathers Foreign Intelligence

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Friday, April 25, 2014 at 8:14 AM

We now know the shocking truth. The FBI has success­fully exploited a software vulnerability to obtain access, through recruited hackers, to networks operated by the governments of Brazil, Pakistan, Nige­ria, and Turkey and—hold your breath—Iran and Syria. Even more startling, especially to those despairing of our government agencies’ ability to cooperate with one another, the . . .
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“The Anti-Democratic, Anti-Transparency Ideology that Prevails at Lawfare”

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 7:06 AM

I learned a lot about Lawfare—and about myself—yesterday from Conor Friedersdorf’s rather bitter critique of my post on the decision to award the Pulitzer public service award to the Guardian and the Washington Post. From the headline (“Exposing the NSA: A Public Service Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize: The national-security state and its apologists don’t see it that way—which . . .
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The Washington Post and Guardian Pulitzers: I Dissent

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 8:30 AM

I know it is rude and churlish to offer anything but warm congratulations when former colleagues win a major prize—much less journalism’s most prestigious award. I know I am courting a barrage of hostile tweets and emails with these words. I know as well that I am on the losing end of elite opinion on these . . .
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NSA Knew About and Exploited Heartbleed—Unless it Didn’t

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Friday, April 11, 2014 at 11:07 PM

The other day, walking out of Aikido class, I was chatting with a friend about Heartbleed. I joked that the latest revelation reminded me of a scene from the classic Martin Scorsese movie, After Hours. In it, the hero, chased by an angry mob, runs up a fire escape, where–by coincidence–he watches a woman shoot . . .
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