The Times Can’t Define a “Whistleblower,” But It Knows One When It Sees One

The New York Times reports on David Barrett’s investigation into alleged misdeeds by Clinton cabinet officer Henry Cisneros. Barrett’s report will be made public tomorrow, but in the meantime someone leaked it to the Times. The Times’ angle on the story is that Barrett’s eleven-year investigation exemplifies what went wrong with the independent counsel statute, “an important post-Watergate law.” (So important that it has been repealed, to pretty much everyone’s relief.)
What most struck me about the Times story was how they characterized the person who leaked Barrett’s report to them, thereby enabling them to beat most of their competitors to the story:

A copy of the report was obtained by The New York Times from someone sympathetic to the Barrett investigation who wanted his criticism of the Clinton administration to be known.

Isn’t that delightful? This particular leaker was no whistle-blower and no patriot; just a partisan with an axe to grind. But after the Times has printed dozens (hundreds, probably) of stories critical of the Bush administration based on leaks by Democratic bureaucrats, we’re still waiting for the paper to write: “A copy of the report was obtained by The New York Times from someone sympathetic to the Democrats’ position who wanted his criticism of the Bush administration to be known.” The day that explanation appears, Beelzebub will be sending out for mittens and a fur coat.

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