NYT Debate: Bill of Rights, Sometimes or Never?

The New York Times has a piece today (3/9/10) with the headline “Experts Urge Keeping Two Options for Terror Trials”–meaning both regular trials under the criminal justice system as well as newly established military tribunals. But who are these “experts,” exactly? Well, they’re “national security officials who served in the Bush administration”–though later on, “national security officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations” are also cited.

Balancing out this “expert” point of view are “conservatives,” “supporters of military commissions” and “the Republican line”–all of which argue that the civilian court system is unnecessary and military tribunals should be exclusively used to try those accused of terrorism.

Conspicuously missing from this framing are those who argue that military tribunals are unconstitutional, and that even people accused of terrorism-related crimes are still entitled to the guarantees of the Bill of Rights–people like Judge Andrew Napolitano and, well, the Supreme Court. But apparently they don’t meet the New York Times‘ criteria as “experts.”

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.