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'Don't Turn Us Into Poodles'

Nick Kristof responds to the right -- again. The fact is, journalists regularly hold back information for national security reasons; I recently withh

Nick Kristof responds to the right -- again.

The fact is, journalists regularly hold back information for national security reasons; I recently withheld information at the request of the intelligence community about secret terrorist communications.

More broadly, the one thing worse than a press that is "out of control" is one that is under control. Anybody who has lived in a Communist country knows that. Just consider what would happen if the news media as a whole were as docile to the administration as Fox News or The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

When I was covering the war in Iraq, we reporters would sometimes tune to Fox News and watch, mystified, as it purported to describe how Iraqis loved Americans. Such coverage (backed by delusional Journal editorials baffling to anyone who was actually in Iraq) misled conservatives about Iraq from the beginning. In retrospect, the real victims of Fox News weren't the liberals it attacked but the conservatives who believed it.

We could, and often do, have a press that reports exactly what the administration wants to see. But, borrowing a page from Eric Boehlert, Kristof explained, "Watchdogs can be mean, dumb and obnoxious, but it would be even more dangerous to trade them in for lap dogs."

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