THE BLOG
12/01/2006 04:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Times Buries Story About Federal Surveillance on Page A22

Today, the New York Times, in its editorial wisdom, decided to run at the bottom of page A22 the story that the federal government is profiling millions of American citizens regarding their travel habits.

The Times thinks the revelation that for the past four years the government has been running an "Automated Targeting System" that rates citizens in a computer-generated matrix according to the level of "risk" they pose as international travelers so unnewsworthy that it is buried amidst irrelevant puff pieces on politicians' jockeying for 2008.

Apparently, the editors of the Times blandly absorb revelations that faceless federal agents without court warrants have been for years pouring over American citizens' motor vehicle records, travels arrangements, and even their seating preferences on planes.

These are the same editors who in 2004 chose to withhold for over a year the revelation that the Bush Administration was using the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens without first securing FISA warrants (even though Bush publicly claimed he had secured warrants).

These are the same editors who gave Judith Miller above-the-fold front page space to weave whole cloth about Saddam Hussein's "WMDs" based on anonymous sources, which probably did more than any other media outlet to bring us into the current bloodbath in Iraq.

Now, the Times continues this shameless pattern by framing the news of this secret program that has grave civil liberties implications as just another little story. Bush's authoritarianism was repudiated by voters on November 7th, yet the Times continues to shill for the administration. This kind of framing of important civil liberties issues has enabled Bush to abuse his power by rescinding habeas corpus, running CIA secret prisons, and operating rendition and torture operations of prisoners, etc. The "paper of record" is perhaps more to blame for the current state of our eroded civil liberties than even Fox News.