Posts Tagged ‘Washington Post’

Financial predators and the American press

December 15, 2021

A Secretive Hedge Fund Is Gutting Newspapers: Inside Alden Global Capital by McKay Copplins for The Atlantic.  About the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun.

How Democracy Dies at The Washington Post Editorial Board by Alan McLeod for Mint Press News.

That leaked CIA report on the Russian menace

December 16, 2016

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou made a point about the New York Times and Washington Post reports on a secret CIA report on Russian hacking of Democratic campaign e-mails.

Oh, and by the way – the release of the CIA report, or information from the CIA report, is an act of espionage as defined by the Obama Justice Department: “Providing national security information to any person not entitled to receive it.”  I wonder who’s going to be charged with that leak.  Yeah, right.

Source: CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou

I’ve often thought that the purpose of most government classification of information is to be able to leak secrets to favored people.

Fear and loathing of Bernie Sanders

October 14, 2016

Swat Team: The media’s extermination of Bernie Sanders and real reform by Thomas Frank for Harper’s magazine.  What the Washington Post’s coverage of the Sanders candidacy reveals about the liberal establishment mentality and the future of American journalism.

Highway robbery: Policing for dollars

September 9, 2014

Police are allowed to confiscate money and property they assert are used in drug trafficking, even if the owner has not been convicted of a crime or even charged with a crime.

Reporters for the Washington Post told how confiscations fund a big part of the budgets of some police departments.

Confiscations have become so big a business that there are even paid consultants who advise police on how to spot maximize revenue.

I do think it odd that people would have tens of thousands of dollars in cash in their cars, but possessing large amounts of cash is not a crime.   The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states that “no person … shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, not shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

I used to think that being stopped by police at checkpoints and being shaken down for money was something that happened only in poor countries ruled by corrupt dictators.


Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes by Michael Sallah, Richard O’Harrow and Steven Rich for the Washington Post.


Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to buy Washington Post

August 6, 2013

Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, will buy the Washington Post for $250 million.  I suppose it is not as bad as the Post being bought by the Koch brothers or Rupert Murdoch.  We’ll see.

Bezos’ politics might be described as Silicon Valley liberalism.  He is a champion of gay rights, but not in the right of his employees to decent working conditions.

I worked on newspapers for 40 years, and liked to believe that journalism was a calling and more than just a way for journalists to earn a salary and owners to earn a profit.

Most (not all) of the historically great American newspapers were owned by families who believed in the newspapers’ mission, rather than by corporations whose main business was elsewhere.

Bezos will own the Washington Post as an individual and incorporate it into Amazon, so he doesn’t fall into either category.  It will be interesting to see what his intentions are.


Post reveals more NSA PRISM slides

July 1, 2013

Over the weekend the Washington Post revealed more of the NSA slide presentation on the secret PRISM program.  Click on NSA slides explain PRISM data-collection program for the Post’s report.  Here are the slides, in their order on the Power Point presentation.   I think they make more sense in that order, even though you have to scroll down to see the newly-released slides.   Double click on the slides to enlarge them.

prism-slide-1 (more…)

Thoughts about Top Secret America

July 20, 2010

Some thoughts about the Washington Post’s great series, Top Secret America, which came out this week, about the uncontrolled proliferation of secret intelligence and surveillance agencies.

1.  The series shows the value of traditional newspapers dedicated to journalism as a public service, and of the Washington Post specifically.  There is good journalism on Internet web logs, but none of them have the resources to conduct a two-year effort such as this.  At the same time the Post’s web site provides information that its print edition could not include.

I don’t know whether printing this series contributed to the newspaper’s profitability, compared to alternative uses of its resources.  I suspect that it did not, and I feel sure this was not a consideration going forward.  I don’t know whether you can have good journalism on a pure business model.

2. Back in 2004, there was concern about duplication and lack of coordination in intelligence activities, and Congress created the office of Director of National Intelligence under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.  But because of objections of existing intelligence agencies, the DNI was not given any actual authority to hire and fire or give orders – just to coordinate.  This is another example of how not quite doing the job is equivalent to not doing the job.

On the other hand, a certain amount of redundancy and duplication is a good thing.  Otherwise there is no margin for error and no exploration of alternatives.  It is a question of “how much” and not “whether.”

3.  The question of civil liberties is more important than the question of waste and inefficiency.  Would it be better if intelligence agencies really could keep track of the phone calls and e-mails of every American citizen? The government has virtually unlimited powers of surveillance, plus powers to imprison people without criminal charges, to torture, to assassinate and to silence whistle-blowers to reveal abuses of power.  It is a leap of faith to think that such powers were never be abused either by President Obama or by any President ever to hold office in the future.