In “A Note to Readers” Monday, the New York Times explained its reasoning for publishing the newest round of Wikileaks documents, telling readers that the paper’s duty to its readers trumps national security concerns and the illegal means by which the documents were acquired. Yet, merely a year ago, the Gray Lady’s noble standards didn’t seem to apply to a series of leaked e-mails between climate researchers.
Citing their private nature and the fact that they were illegally obtained, former Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin refused to publish the so-called “Climategate” e-mails — an exchange between American and British climate researchers discussing withholding data and employing a “trick” to explain their results — in his Times column, Dot Earth.
While the Times neglected to publish the Climategate e-mails that raised questions about the validity of global warming research — research which would be used, at least in part, to determine public policy and how billions of taxpayer dollars would be spent — the Times explains its decision to publish the new Wikileaks documents by saying Americans have the right “to know what is being done in their name.”
Admitting that “most of these documents will be made public regardless of what The Times decides,” the paper’s “Note” says it has laboriously examined the documents and will publish only about 100 diplomatic cables of the entire 1600 megabytes of sensitive data it obtained.
Revkin, whose Times blog moved from the news section to the opinion section earlier this year, decided back during Climategate to link to other Web sites that had published the 200 megabytes of Climategate e-mails.