I know, we try not to write anything overtly political on this blog because it is our thoughts about writing and life itself. Sadly this is about writing. It is also about all of those posts both past and scheduled where I warn you about the pitfalls writers face. Somewhere someone will pay you to write something which is untrue or unethical and you will have forever sold both your writing credentials and your soul to the devil.
We now have two shining examples of a newspaper which formerly had some level of journalistic integrity selling global security down the river to generate tabloid like sales from sensational headlines and to get all of the other news outlets to backlink to their article increasing on-line ad revenue. Make no mistake, a newspaper or magazine which had journalistic integrity would not have done this.
Our first example is the outing of Israel as the source of the “highly sensitive” intelligence President Trump gave the Russians. I don’t care what anyone thinks about our current President. Just look at it objectively. The guy barely reads the headlines he re-Tweets. There is no way he bothered to read enough of any report to have any idea where it came from. He gives off the impression of a guy who can’t read all the way to the end of a 5 dot point executive summary.
While we are at it, what was this “highly sensitive” intelligence? Something to do with how terrorists are using laptops and other carry on devices as airplane bombs. Less than two weeks before this incident so I gotta wonder just how “highly sensitive” the intelligence really could have been. The general public just needs to know terrorists are doing it, governments need to know how so they can protect airline passengers. Either that or everybody just stops flying.
Trump doesn’t read enough to have known Israel was the source of the intelligence so, in this case, the New York Times spied for Russia. Are you old enough to remember the first Gulf War with Stormin’ Norman? He was holding these press conferences and the press finally asked why he had stopped sharing operational information. He answered “Because of right now CNN is Saddam Hussein’s best source of intelligence.” In one sentence he reminded the press that in an era of 24 hour cable/satellite news and their companies’ own Internet sites, they were a global security risk which could get countless troops killed. There was still a tiny shred of both journalism and ethics in the news world then so they quit pressing for what the general didn’t offer.
Now we have the U.S. media outing the Manchester bomber’s name before the UK police have released it because the police were frantically trying to identify his network and round them up. The New York Times even published forensic photographs of the bomb site which had only been provided to intelligence officials! Is it any wonder that some of the bomber’s network hasn’t been found given a constant warning as to the progress of police investigations?
British officials need to demand those involved at the New York Times be tried at The Hague. This isn’t about “getting the story first.” This is about global security. We can’t round up terrorist networks if news agencies are constantly informing them just how much the police know. To paraphrase Stormin’ Norman
Right now the best source of intelligence ISIS has is The New York Times.
You as a writer, especially if you are a news writer or aspiring journalist need to be aware of this hard line and never cross it. Israel didn’t make waves over the supposedly “highly sensitive” intelligence, most likely because airline officials which serviced their country had already attended DHS meetings on that very matter. Given the meetings had already happened they most likely pulled whatever teams they had “in” out. If they didn’t, the fact the meetings happened and were publicly announced already put any remaining operatives at risk, not that going under cover anywhere in or around a terrorist network isn’t already risky. Passing this information through news channels without the blessing of those who gathered it places an untold number of global citizens at risk because those who escaped as a result of the information will no doubt attempt yet another strike.
This is my opinion as both a writer and a citizen on this planet we call Earth.