Harwood of ‘WSJ’ Raps ‘WSJ’ Editorial Blast at ‘NYT’

By: E&P STaff

After remaining silent for several days, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page on Friday ripped The New York Times for publishing its recent article on the secret banking records surveillance program after being asked by the administration not to do so. The Journal did this, even though it ran its own piece on the same subject just minutes after the Times story appeared.

It defended its story by saying it was “straighter” than the Time piece — and the White House had no problem with it.

The Times’ publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. responded, saying that his paper seemed to have more respect for the Journal’s newsroom than did the Journal editorial page. The many calls from E&P, seeking comment from editors in that newsroom at the Journal, were never returned.

But some insights came on Sunday, when John Harwood, a longtime staffer and senior writer for the Journal, appeared on Meet the Press, with Andrea Mitchell substituting for host Tim Russert, and explained what he found “shocking” in that editorial.

Here is the exchange.

MITCHELL: Let me, let me show you a Wall Street Journal editorial?a very unusual editorial?that was in the paper on Friday. It said that ?The problem with The New York Times is that millions of Americans no longer believe that its editors would make those calculations in anything close to good faith. We certainly don?t. On issue after issue, it has become clear that The Times believes the U.S. is not really at war, and in any case the Bush administration lacks the legitimacy to wage it.?

John, I don?t want to really put you on the spot here, but I am. Your paper?s news columns also ran this story, and here you have this editorial. It really is a really sharp conflict.

HARWOOD: Couple of points on that. First of all, that editorial wasn?t kidding when they said there?s a separation between the news and the editorial pages at The Wall Street Journal.

Secondly, there is a very large gap between the ideological outlook and philosophy of The New York Times editorial page and The Wall Street Journal editorial page. There is not a large ideological gap between the news staffs of those two places, and why would there be? Some of the top people of The New York Times were hired from The Wall Street Journal.

What I found shocking about the editorial was the assertion that The New York Times did not act in good faith in making that judgment. I don?t know anybody on the news staff of The Wall Street Journal that believes that. I certainly don?t.

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