Jill Abramson’s sad admission: “I don’t think the press, in general, did publish any stories that upset the Bush White House”
Why did the New York Times back down again and again and hold important stories? The reasons are infuriating
There are some singular features of our time — truly the time of the assassins, to take Henry Miller’s phrase. The consolidated surveillance state confronts us. We recommit to honoring will above intelligence at the very moment history offers us an extraordinary chance to turn away from our 20th century lust for power.
Another of these features — or a function of them, maybe — is the assassination of journalism as the essential infrastructure of our public space. I am not much for the “golden age” of anything, however often people get lost in such notions, but we have now not much more than the desiccated remains of whatever our press may once have been.
Prompting these admittedly grim thoughts is a speech Jill Abramson recently gave. Abramson, the executive editor at the New York Times, was canned a couple of months ago and now takes to the lecture circuit before assuming duties as an adjunct in nonfiction at Harvard.
Creative writing would have been the more sensible appointment.
Abramson’s speech was one of several addressing “The Ethics of Privacy” at the Chautauqua Institution, an old convocation of well-intended, ever-concerned self-improvers in upstate New York. Instantly a problem in that she was upside down to the topic. Abramson had little to say about the protection of privacy as an ethical value.