The New York Times, an organization devoted to gathering and publishing information, doesn’t want people to gather or publish information inconvenient to it.
A group of Trump-supporting operatives has been finding and archiving old social-media postings of Times employees and other journalists for use in the ongoing brawl between the president and the press.
There’s no indication that this is dumpster diving rather than an effort to scour readily available sources for stupid, embarrassing, or offensive things that journalists have said publicly under their own power.
The Times broke the news of the campaign in an alarmed-sounding report. It related that “the material publicized so far, while in some cases stripped of context or presented in misleading ways, has proved authentic, and much of it has been professionally harmful to its targets.”
It’s not clear what makes this different from what happens in our public life … every … single … day. Headhunting based on past offenses, real and imagined, is the norm, indeed one of the Left’s favored forms of ideological combat.
Nonetheless, the press and its progressive allies act as though the First Amendment is being endangered if journalists apologize for past things they’ve written or — depending on the decisions of their own organizations — get cashiered for them.
“The goal of this campaign is clearly to intimidate journalists from doing their job,” thundered Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger, “which includes serving as a check on power and exposing wrongdoing when it occurs. The Times will not be intimidated or silenced.”