Friday, January 06, 2006

Media's man of the moment

Thanks to Jon Friedman at MarketWatch for this profile of James Risen, who with Eric Lichtblau blew the lid off a domestic spying program that had operated in secret since weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. There's been some controversy about their report in the New York Times, with slams from President Bush and speculation about why the story was held by the Times until days before Risen's book (right) would hit the stores. Here's Friedman:
During our conversation, Risen only expressed emotion on two occasions. When I asked him to comment on the President saying that Risen and Lichtblau's sources were traitors, Risen said, "That wasn't too nice." Then he said animatedly: "I think they're patriots."

The second time was when he discussed, with noticeable disgust, the media criticizing the New York Times for "sitting on" the Risen-Lichtblau story for about a year before publishing it.

Countering the skeptics, Risen said the Times "performed a major public service." While the Times conceivably could've published it sooner, he said with a shrug, "Who cares? In the end, the important thing is that they published the story." He dismissed the debates as being "inside baseball."
Friedman's Media Web column is here.
If you're interested in the book, here's my favorite bookseller, Books & Books.

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