A New York Times Exclusive?


Today's New York Times reports something no other media outlet seems to have mentioned in its coverage of the conviction of Pvt. Lynndie England on several counts of abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, in a story as related by David S. Cloud, its own staff member.
Cloud ends his article with this unusual paragraph:

"But jurors seemed more interested in whether commanders at the prison had ordered the abuse or issued rules barring such treatment. In questions passed to the judge, they asked repeatedly about the direction that superiors at the prison provided to guards."

None of the other major newsgathering organizations make mention of any such thing; this is strictly a Times claim —— and one which raises questions about how Cloud would have access to confidential communications between the jurors and the judge. One might also wonder about the agenda being served by this seemingly gratuitous speculation (no sources or explanation are offered). Apparently the assertion was intended to add to the paper's longtime and extensive blaming of the President and his administration for the individual behavior of a few psychopathic individuals involved in the scandal.
Even Lynddie's own defense lawyer expressed a sense of concurrence with the narrowness of the verdict:
The Associated Press  reports:

Asked for comment after the verdict, defense lawyer Capt. Jonathan Crisp said, "The only reaction I can say is, 'I understand.'"


[Lead defense lawyer Capt. Jonathan] Crisp countered that England was only trying to please Graner. "She was a follower, she was an individual who was smitten with Graner," Crisp said. "She just did whatever he wanted her to do."    "She was a follower, she was an individual who was smitten with Graner," Crisp said. "She just did whatever he wanted her to do." 

Among other newsgathering organizations whose reports did not contain one single word reflecting the Times's allegation about the jury:
Bloomberg News
ABC News
CBS News

... and a host of other domestic and international news services, as can be easily checked via a search in Yahoo News.
Did the New York Times have exclusive access to information unavailable to the world's major news services? Or is this still another case (see today's begrudgingly weak apologies for deliberate misreporting of an incident involving Geraldo Rivera and a knowingly inaccurate report implying wrongful political influence by several contractors helping to repair the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina) of Pinch's Propaganda Patrol manipulating the "news" to suit the paper's political agenda?

Richard N. Weltz   9 27 05