New York, New York (SatireNewsService) - In a stunning development that would appear to have broad implications for the independence of America's newspaper industry, New York Times Publisher, Edwin 'Pinch' Sulzberger today revealed that longtime President Bush advisor Karl Rove has been secretly running the Times' news and editorial operation for almost four years.
According to well-placed insiders on the Times' Board of Directors, a shaken Sulzberger made that announcement in a hastily convened meeting of the Board of the Times' parent company, The New York Times Corp. Sulzberger reportedly told the board that the discovery was made last week.
"During an internal investigation, we reached the regrettable conclusion that Karl Rove has been running this newspaper since at least August, 2002," Sulzberger reportedly stated. "His intention is clear - to ruin the reputation of the newspaper and the party that our editorial policy supports."
Sulzberger reportedly continued: "I ordered an investigation to determine how the Times had come to publish detailed information about a top-secret government monitoring operation of the international financial transactions of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The publication of this information clearly helps an enemy that killed thousands of people just a few blocks from here. Endangering Americans is something the Times would never intentionally do. Unfortunately this story fits a pattern of publication that has almost ruined the Times' reputation for probity and journalistic honesty as well as causing incalculable damage to the Democratic party that our editorial policy supports."
Edith Steingehirn, the Times' internal investigator who made the Rove discovery, told the board: "Our investigation into the publication of the terror financing story quickly led us to discover other frightening actions taken by our news and editorial divisions during the past four years."
"One example of these actions," said Steingehirn was the paper's disclosure six months ago that, the Bush administration had secretly engaged in eavesdropping on international phone calls and e-mails involving terrorist connections. We published that story just as the successful Iraqi elections were making the news and the Senate was voting to reauthorize the Patriot Act. The timing could not have been better for the Bush administration - it made it look as though the Times would do anything - absolutely anything - to undermine the administration and Iraqi efforts to build a functioning society."
Other examples apparently cited by Sulzberger include the fact that the Times has: 1) run Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prison stories more than one thousand times as often as it has stories about heroic efforts of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens; 2) reported as hard news ad hominem attacks on the president by leading Democrats including statements that President Bush is worse than a Nazi and no better than Saddam Hussein; and 3) published numerous stories of little-known -- though not necessarily top secret -- military and national security information -- thus bringing it to the attention of Al-Qaeda.
Since the Times is closely associated with the Democratic party," said Steingehirn, "these decisions serve to make Democratic leaders seem unserious about terrorism, ungracious toward America's soldiers and sailors, petty about any Iraqi successes in bringing modernity to a backward region, mean-spirited about the President, careless about America's reputation in the world, unwilling to work with Republican colleagues on important legislation and profoundly ignorant about America's history, culture and meaning." said Steingehirn.
Sulzberger was apparently even harsher in his assessment: "Howells, bells!" he is reported to have said to assembled Times staffers. "The things we've done during the past four years make the New York Times appear to be either a treasonous supporter of al-Qaeda or a continuing, theatrical farce of the newspaper business.
"We've had plagiarism and lies from star reporters. We've hired a succession of bungling Executive Editors. We have almost single-handedly wiped out the reporter-source privilege by our incompetent handling of the Plame kerfuffle. The list goes on and on and none of this would have happened without a hidden, guiding hand! And the only hidden hand that is twisted and evil and demented and malicious enough to pull this off is the one attached to the hard right arm of Karl Rove!"
At the White House, Presidential Spokesman Tony Snow stated that he had spoken to Rove about the charges and that Rove is mystified.
"Karl Rove has a whole planet to run," said Snow with characteristic understatement, "he doesn't have the time or inclination to run a parochial newspaper with a declining stock price and diminishing readership."
However, many Times insiders concur with the report. Columnist Paul Krugman stated: "This explains everything. I could never have written - or more to the point - published, so much idiotic crap if Rove had not been in charge."
And columnist Maureen Dowd echoed Krugman's sentiments. "The past few years have been an unmitigated disaster for peace and freedom loving people throughout the upper east side of Manhattan. Only Karl Rove running the Times can explain that!!"
In related stories (see page 14a), executives of both the BBC and CNN have begun internal investigation to determine whether Rove is running their news divisions.