Able Danger Blog

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Reporter defends Able Danger blackout

Sylvia Smith was one of the reporters on Washington Journal, who was questioned about the lack of Able Danger coverage - in addition to complaints about the decision by C-SPAN not to cover the hearing at all. Here is her own response:

This anatomy of deciding what’s news is prompted by the dozen or so calls to C-SPAN on Friday when I was one of two journalists whom host Brian Lamb invited on his call-in show to discuss news and the news business.

If the callers are a fair representation of Americans, then a lot of people are convinced that journalists are deliberately ignoring Able Danger/Cisneros/foreign management of U.S. ports. (But how, do you wonder, did they even know about these topics if they were not reported in the media?)

Some of those callers were a wee bit testy about it. I don’t mind that in the least. But I wish I had been able to show them that a newspaper (or TV newscast, for that matter) has finite space. My day doesn’t have 30 hours in it just because I’m a journalist.

I didn’t choose to cover the Souder/Walters hearing so I could not cover something else, such as Able Danger. Covering Souder is my job, as is reporting on the other members of the Indiana congressional delegation. If I were a sportswriter assigned to cover ice skating, would it make sense to suggest there’s a conspiracy afoot because I don’t write about band contests?

Well, that might explain her own decision but what about reporters and newscasts who normally focus on issues of national security?