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Category Archives: Media Criticism

Moral Obtuseness, Guantanamo, Boko Haram, and the Media

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 6:18 PM

This morning’s BBC’s NewsHour show opened with a news judgment reflecting a genuinely odd moral calculus. At the end of the show’s headlines section, announcer James Menendez says: “coming up later in the program today, our West Africa correspondent . . . is on the shores of Lake Chad, where survivors—many of them missing family members—have . . .
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There is Nothing Wrong with Comey Criticizing the NYT

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Friday, January 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM

The U.S. government has effectively granted journalists immunity from prosecution for violating the criminal prohibitions on publication of certain classified information, and it has begun to recognize a norm against forcing journalists to disclose their sources.  As I wrote in Power and Constraint, “Underlying this persistent restraint [by the USG] is a recognition—based in part . . .
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Misunderstanding Terrorism: Charlie Hebdo Didn’t Provoke the Killers

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Monday, January 12, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Some commentators who have condemned the Charlie Hebdo killings have, in the same breath, criticized the publication for being unnecessarily provocative. Last Wednesday over at the New York Times, Ross Douthat countered the “unnecessary” half of this characterization, writing: “If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then . . .
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The Intercept Finds an Anonymous Source It Can Trust

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Friday, January 9, 2015 at 4:34 PM

For years, Glenn Greenwald has been railing against against mainstream newspapers for, as he put it just the other day, “as usual—corruptly grant[ing] anonymity to ‘senior administration officials’ to disseminate their inflammatory claims with no accountability.” At last, however, Greenwald’s publication, the always-adversarial The Intercept, has found an organization worthy of trust, one to whose senior officials it can . . .
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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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