The generally liberal bias of the New York Times has long been transparently apparent to everyone except, perhaps, Dan Rather. Despite attacks from the right, this is not necessarily bad; after all, it is human nature to have an opinion on various issues, and newspaper journalists, editors, and publishers have the same First Amendment rights an anyone else. On the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, however, the Grey Lady of journalism stands revealed, not merely as leftist; not merely as liberal; and not even as socialist or Communist; but, in fact, explicitly as anti-American as the wildest-eyed of Middle Eastern lunatics.
It came about in this way. The liberal organization MoveOn.org, which makes no pretense to fairness or even-handedness, wished to purchase a full-page advocacy ad to mark Gen. David Petraeus' testimony before Congress on the subject of the Iraq War. As Gen. Petraeus is the commander of our troops in Iraq, the nature of his remarks could be generally foreseen; as MoveOn.org has opposed the war there, their point of view was equally predictable. The ad they wished to place, however, is of questionable taste at best. It shows a large photograph of the general, above the headline, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"
Bear in mind that Gen. Petraeus is an active-duty military officer serving in a combat role, commanding troops overseas in a war. Can we imagine a similar Times ad in 1943, saying "General Eisenhower, Traitor?" Anyone attempting to place such an advertisement would have been lucky to leave the publisher's office other than on a stretcher, or the city of New York without a visit from the G-men.
Whether or not the editors of the Times supported the war - and their leftist bent goes back a long way - they would have recognized that a certain restraint and decorum is called for on the part of what claims to be the nation's newspaper of record. Accusing active combat officers of treason, without ironclad proof of actual traitorous activities, is, well, bordering on treason.
Yet the Times accepted the ad for publication, and indeed did so. This is, in and of itself, a deeply shameful act on the part of such a publication; but it does at least have the defense that MoveOn.org, for all its vitriol, nevertheless has every right to hold an opinion and to publicise it. Our American men-at-arms are serving to protect these rights, and a right is meaningless if it applies only when you are popular. The French philosopher Voltaire is believed to have said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it;" Gen. Petraeus and his men are living out these sentiments by their actions.
No, the Times' publication of this slanderous ad, while disreputable, is not enough by itself to consign them to the depths. That is accomplished by the news the following day, of the price paid for the ad.
A full-page advertisement in the New York Times, on the day in question, costs $181,692 - no small change. To assist in putting political views before the public, the Times offers a small discount for all advocacy ads, bringing the applicable charge down to $167,000.
The price charged to MoveOn.org was $65,000.
Now, it's possible that MoveOn.org has some bulk-buying arrangement with the Times, leading to discounts. This is very common in the advertising business. Given the enormity of the discount, $102k, we could hold out the possibility that the editors will quickly explain the terms of this package deal over the next few days; there must be many, many other groups in New York who would welcome the opportunity of a full-page ad at such a competitive rate.
In the absence of such an explanation, however, it would appear that the Times paid almost two-thirds of the cost of this ad, an ad accusing a serving, decorated, military combat officer of treason without the slightest shred of evidence of any such thing, themselves.
The New York Times no longer has a place in any American library, office, home, store, or any part of national discourse. They have the right to publish their opinion, just as much as does the Daily Worker, the Una-bomber, and the National Enquirer. And they have exactly the same right to serious consideration - and not one shred more.