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The Media, Discretion Standards, & National Security – Should There Be a Connection?

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From a current O’Reilly “Talking Points” topic certain to stir up some compelling conclusions and discussions …

Today, The New York Times ran a story pinpointing countries in Europe that have allowed CIA planes to land on their soil in ongoing operations after 9/11. The story does two things â€â€? gives America’s enemies information, and it could encourage al Qaeda to attack the countries that have helped the USA. That’s speculative, but there’s no question European countries are under pressure not to help the CIA.

So here’s my question. Does that help you and your family? If the world will not cooperate with the Central Intelligence Agency, doesn’t that make it easier for terrorists to operate? Of course it does.

This never would have happened during World War II. Franklin Roosevelt created an Office of Censorship in 1941 and pressure was put upon American news organizations not to publish information “that the enemy might be interested in.”

Now before you started crying “censorship?!?! This is America!”

Let’s look at motivation and purpose when it comes to determining what information is shared with the general public …

Now this is very difficult territory. The American public has a right to know how the Bush administration is waging the war on terror. We have a right to know what’s going on.

There comes a point when the media has to decide if the information they’re disseminating is going to damage the war effort. You know, I don’t have to know where the CIA planes are landing in Europe. Do you? That information is not vital to me. And again, the information hurts the USA and the war on terror.

So we’re appealing to the American press to help fight the terrorists, rather than to use the conflict to promote a political point of view. Let’s do what’s good for the country. Is that is too much to ask? And that’s “The Memo.”

What obligation do you feel the press has in using discretion, especially in the interests of national security, when determining what to and not to publish?