Jonathan Rauch Attempts to Explain What He Got Wrong
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Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?

Ah: Jackson Diehl, Autumn Brewington, Jo-Ann Armao, Robert Asher, Jonathan Capehart, Lee Hockstader, Charles Lane, Ruth Marcus, Eva Rodriguez. Remember those names. In years to come, they will all claim: "No. I wasn't on the Washington Post editorial board in 2007! I held an honorable job--I was working for an insurance company, denying chemotherapy coverage to cancer victims!"

All reporters in America now-a-bed
Shall think themselves blessed that they were not there,
And lucky to still hold their ovaries dear
Unlike those upon the Post editorial board

Here is Glenn Greenwald:

The Beltway Establishment's contempt for the rule of law: The Washington Post's Editorial Page, in the establishment-defending form of Fred Hiatt, today became but the latest Beltway appendage to urge the enactment of a special law providing amnesty to our nation's poor, put-upon, lawbreaking telecoms:

There is one major area of disagreement between the administration and House Democrats where we think the administration has the better of the argument: the question of whether telecommunications companies that provided information to the government without court orders should be given retroactive immunity from being sued. House Democrats are understandably reluctant to grant that wholesale protection without understanding exactly what conduct they are shielding, and the administration has balked at providing such information. But the telecommunications providers seem to us to have been acting as patriotic corporate citizens in a difficult and uncharted environment.

Let's leave to the side Hiatt's inane claim that these telecoms, in actively enabling the Bush administration to spy on their customers in violation of the law, were motivated by the pure and upstanding desire to be "patriotic corporate citizens" -- rather than, say, the desire to obtain extremely lucrative government contracts.... Leave to the side the fact that actual "patriotism" would have led these telecoms to adhere to the surveillance and privacy laws enacted.... Further leave to the side that these telecoms did not merely allow warrantless surveillance on their customers in the hectic and "confused" days or weeks after 9/11, but for years. Further leave to the side the fact that, as Hiatt's own newspaper just reported yesterday, the desire for warrantless eavesdropping capabilities seemed to be on the Bush agenda well before 9/11. And finally ignore the fact that Hiatt is defending the telecom's good faith even though, as he implicitly acknowledges, he has no idea what they actually did...

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