A lot of folks on the right side of the blogosphere are up in arms this week over the New York Times' disclosure of a legal and effective money trail surveillance program aimed at finding terrorists. They should be mad; it's wonderful when you're battling America to have America's own national media serve as an arm of your intelligence services.
The reaction I've seen has been umbrage over the Times' insistence that this was in the "public interest." I say "Hooey." In fact, it was for a different reason and all of the bloggers just helped the cause of the New York Times, in my opinion.
Newspaper readership has been in decline for quite some time. But not at the New York Times. They have a winning formula. It's called "sensationalism." Here's the formula:
Write an article that is not quite as titillating as, say, Brangelina's latest escapade. Instead, write about something that skirts the edge of national security and gossip and everyday Joe concerns. An example is trending phone records for terrorist activity. Remember that one? Yep, the Times broke that too. An article like that gets the New York Times web site traffic meters humming because everyone on all sides of the blogosphere links to it. Especially those on the right. Which is perfect for the Times. This has nothing to do with reporting and journalism. It has everything to do with revenue. It is, after all, a business. And the righties help them out with furious and passionate links to the New York Times.
Me, I ignore the Times. No link from me. Why help them?
I know that attribution is important, but seriously - why help the New York Times and reward them with traffic for doing the wrong thing?