|Man Without Qualities|
Friday, February 20, 2004
Hamdi Cert III
When the Supreme Court granted review of an appeal by Yaser Esam Hamdi, the New York Times immediately ran an article by David Stout construing the Court's decision as a slap at the Administration generally - and a personal slap at some of its key officers. Specifically, the Times reported:
The Supreme Court stepped squarely into a momentous debate over national security and personal liberty today by agreeing to consider the case of a man who has been held without charges by the United States military since he was captured in the fighting in Afghanistan. The justices agreed to hear the appeal of the captive, Yaser Esam Hamdi, who is believed to hold both American and Saudi citizenship and who is in a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. The Bush administration had urged the Supreme Court not to hear the Hamdi case, so the announcement today represented a sharp rebuff to the president, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other architects of administration policy.
Mr. Hamdi's case does not float in a vacuum. In fact, the Associated Press reports that Mr. Hamdi's case has a legal companion:
The [Jose] Padilla case is a companion to another terrorism case the court was already set to hear this spring. Together, the Yaser Esam Hamdi and Padilla cases will allow the high court to take its most comprehensive look so far at the constitutional and legal rights of Americans caught up in the global war on terror.
As noted above, the Times "reported" that a Supreme Court decision to review the Hamdi case that the Administration had won in the Fourth Circuit was a great big stick in the eyes of the president, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other architects of administration policy. But Padilla's case has had a rather different course than Hamdi's case. In the words of the same AP article:
A federal appeals court ruled in December that President Bush does not have the authority to declare Padilla an enemy combatant and hold him in open-ended military custody. The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "undermines the president's vital authority as commander in chief to protect the United States against attacks launched within the nation's borders," Olson argued in asking the high court to take the case. Unlike the Padilla case, the government has won its argument in lower courts that Hamdi may be held indefinitely without access to a lawyer or the U.S. court system.
The Times said that the Supreme Court's decision to hear the Hamdi appeal represented a sharp rebuff to the president, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other architects of administration policy. So surely the Supreme Court's decision to hear the Padilla appeal represented a big endorsement to the president, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other architects of administration policy.
Right, Mr. Stout? You're going to write it up that way lickity-split, aren't you? Sure you are.
But what will Linda Greenhouse write? She already wrote an article completely at odds with Mr. Stout's piece - but never mentioned that absurd article at all. Unlike Mr. Stout, Ms. Greenhouse doesn't think that the Court's decision to review the Hamdi appeal meant anything except the prosaic fact that four justices think the case warrants review.
So the Times is on both sides - but doesn't tell it's readers that. How post-modern, post-truth of the Times! Repeated efforts by the Man Without Qualities to contact Mr. Okrent have not yet yielded action on his part - although there have been many e-mails back and forth with his assistant.
Let's be clear about this: Mr. Stout's article was WRONG. It constituted a big PARTISAN, BIASED ERROR. The Times is supposed to correct such BIG ERRORS expressly. Ms. Greenhouse has already contradicted the ERROR - but she won't be explicit. It's Mr. Okrent's job to correct such ERRORS explicitly.
WHY WON'T MR. OKRENT DO HIS JOB, AND WHY WON'T THE TIMES DO IT'S JOB, BY RUNNING A CORRECTION TO MR. STOUT'S ABSURD ARTICLE IN THIS VERY IMPORTANT MATTER, A MATTER IN WHICH THE TIMES EMBARRASSES ITSELF MORE FULLY WITH EVERY PASSING DAY AN EXPRESS CORRECTION IS NOT PRODUCED?
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