“Why aren’t there more people who, when presented with evidence of something that they find morally objectionable, disclose it?” Good question, New York Times! Please tell your readers why you don’t do it!
by Lev Tsitrin
The question, posed by Alex Kingsbury of New York Times’ editorial board to Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers fame was clearly intended to highlight New York Times’ high moral compass. Mr. Ellsberg, after all, bravely “copied the military’s secret 7,000-page history of the Vietnam War and gave it to The New York Times and The Washington Post in 1971″ and its sensational publication “produced a wave of anger at the government for having lied about the conduct of the war, which was already unpopular” helping to end it.
Since Mr. Kingsbury posed this question to Mr. Ellsberg rather than the New York Times‘ editorial board to which he belongs, one gets the impression that the reason for the sacristy of similar stories of government malfeasance is caused by the lack of courage in those who witness such outrages but don’t speak to the press — and Mr. Ellsberg plays along nicely, blaming the dearth of disclosures not on the likes of the New York Times, but on those who “fear losing their jobs, their careers, risking the clearances on which their jobs depend.”
But is it all the fault of the reluctant would-be whistleblowers — or is a good chunk of blame falls on journalists themselves, who for reasons of their own choose to stifle inconvenient news? In 1930es, Stalin’s collectivization policies caused several million Soviet peasants to starve to death — but the word of what the Ukrainians called “Hladomor” did not reach the readers of the New York Times, since its editors were concerned with keeping the paper in Stalin’s good graces. Nor did the Holocaust get reported in the paper — because the owners saw stressing the plight of the Jews as parochial, and wanted to avoid the perception of the paper being “Jewish,” — and suppressed the story.
Clearly, the absence of coverage is not just the fault of the witnesses who do not step forward to notify the New York Times‘ editors — but also that of the New York Times‘ editors who do not want to “rock the boat” and give publicity to the outrages that they — for their own, cynical reasons — want to keep under wraps.
My case in point, of course, is judicial fraud. Is the fact that the Constitutionally-promised “due process of the law” does not exist because federal judges don’t feel obligated to follow it, and in fact substituted it by the self-given, in Pierson v Ray, right to act from the bench “maliciously and corruptly,” and instead of adjudicating parties’ argument as the “due process” demands, adjudicate judges’ own, bogus argument, any less important to the country than government’s lies about Vietnam War that were revealed by the Pentagon Papers? Not in the least. And yet, when I bombard the New York Times with e-mails about judicial fraud, all I get back is silence. So please tell us, Mr. Kingsbury, “why aren’t editors of the New York Times, when presented with evidence of something that they find morally objectionable, disclose it?” Or do they not find “morally objectionable” the fact that the full third of US government — the federal judiciary — is, officially and proudly, “corrupt and malicious”?
The even bigger question is, do mainstream journalists have any “moral compass” at all? They proudly tell us that in the “free world,” we have a “public debate” on burning issues. Well, just the other day I tried to participate in such public debate, adding my two cents to a youtube discussion of a deadly drone attack on US troops in Syria by the Iran-backed militias, discussed in an NBC interview with retired Lieutenant General Michael Nagata. The comments were of the usual bland kind, either praising the general, or blaming America’s involvement overseas, so I thought this suggesting would be of help: “Iran’s is an ideological regime; to topple it, Islamist ideology needs to be debunked. Yet we are too politically correct to do it. Surprisingly though, it is easy to do — if we wanted to. Islamists are ultimately idolatrous (it is impossible for anyone to know whether God talked to Mohammed, and unequivocally saying he did without adding “or not” is idol-worship). Point to that — and the regime will collapse. (you may want to check a book on this, “The Pitfall of Truth: Holy War, its Rationale and Folly”)” I checked the next morning for likes — there were none, though all other comment had some. I checked the segment in a browser where I’m not signed in to youtube — and my comment wasn’t there; NBC removed it. (A friend explained to me that removed comments still show to their author — youtube does not want you to be upset that your comment has been deleted. Its not good for business when customers get unhappy!) So much for the “public debate!” To the so-called “elites” in the media, the “public debate” means not that the public is debating the issue, but the “elites” show off their smarts in front of the public. The public’s place in the “public debate” is in the bleachers, not in the field!
But let’s go back to the quote of the day. Mr. Kingsbury’s question of “Why aren’t there more people who, when presented with evidence of something that they find morally objectionable, disclose it?” should be addressed not just to would-be Ellsbergs — i.e., people like myself — but also to the likes of the New York Times — i.e., people like Mr. Kingsbury who shut their eyes and ears to the people like myself. So, tell us, Mr. Kingsbury — on the pages of your New York Times — why is the Hladomor, the Holocaust, and judicial fraud not worthy of being reported on the pages of your paper? And whose fault is it — of people like Mr. Ellsberg and myself, or of the editors of the New York Times — people like yourself, Mr. Kingsbury?
Lev Tsitrin is the founder of the Coalition Against Judicial Fraud, cajfr.org — and an author of “Why do Judges Act as Lawyers? A Guide to What’s Wrong with American Law“