This is their idea of a correction?
In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don’t.
I guess nobody troubled themselves to actually read the bill itself, which appears to be written in English.
Rush Holt, one of the authors of the bill:
In his original column, Mr. Klein incorrectly wrote, “Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that – Limbaugh is salivating – would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target’s calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only.” It contains no such provision.
(Also, as someone closely involved in trying to produce a good bill, I cannot figure out what bipartisan House Intelligence Committee effort Speaker Pelosi “quashed” that Mr. Klein could possibly be talking about. Several Republicans proposed something close to last August’s Protect America Act, but that never got anywhere.)
Let me repeat: our bill gives the intelligence community the tools and flexibility it needs to listen to the conversations between those who wish to do us harm. This bill provides exactly what the Director of National Intelligence asked for earlier this year: it explicitly states that no court order is required to listen to the conversations of foreigners that happen to pass through the U.S. telecommunications system. It does not grant Constitutional rights to foreign terrorists.
Time Magazine is in Deborah Howell territory here.
In this twisted view, that is called “balance” — writing down what each side says. As in: “Hey – Bush officials say that there is WMD in Iraq and things are going great with the war (and a few people say otherwise). It’s not for us to decide. It’s not our fault if what we wrote down is a lie. We just wrote down exactly what they said.” At best, they write down what each side says and then go home. That’s what they’re for.
That our typical establishment “journalist” conceives of this petty clerical task as their only role is not news. But it is striking to see the nation’s “leading news magazine” so starkly describe how they perceive their role.
In reality, they don’t even usually fulfill this clerical role fairly or well. After all, Klein’s entire column presented only the lies from the Republicans about this bill as fact, and didn’t even mention that there was another side (just as Time presented only the Bush view to its readers about WMD and didn’t bother to mention that there was another side).
Good for Rush Holt for battling this toxic swill back, but where’s Nancy Pelosi? She got smeared worse than anyone, and it is part of her job to uphold the Democratic brand. Silence in the face of these kinds of false accusations lead low information-types to believe that this stuff is true — and it plainly isn’t.
(graphic by alysheba/millineryman)