Dear Aunt Sophie,
I am the editor of an extremely important newspaper. It's always been important, but when I became its executive editor it became the most important institution in America.
Before you take issue with me, let me remind you that we are at war. When your country is at war you can't keep thinking the way you did before. Just to give you an example - you used to be able to walk by the White House and think of it as the place where the president lived. But can you really look at it now without thinking of the 2000 election? In wartime, everything is different.
We've put my paper on wartime footing because it is clearly the only thing standing between that Texan and the average American's civil rights.
Take the matter of the government's "secret" program to collect banking information. Some people are screaming that when we broke this story we helped the terrorists. What a crock! For one thing, I'm still not convinced there really is such a thing as a terrorist -- except in the White House -- but for now, let's say there is. Does anybody really think the "terrorists" didn't already know all about this "secret" program? Of course they did. We didn't tell them anything they didn't already know, but we did perform an incredibly important public service: we published information that the "terrorists" already had so that the average Joe could have it, too. It's called leveling the playing field. If there are "terrorists," you don't want them to have an unfair advantage over Mom and Pop, do you? I didn't think so.
And then there were those phone taps. How could we sit by while the government kept track of what numbers people called, how long they talked, and when they called? Outrageous! Of course, they tried to blow it off by saying it only affected calls from outside the country to certain people in the country, blah, blah, blah.... They figured the average American wouldn't care because he'd think only "terrorists" were being targeted. But we knew what was going on. It was subtle, but it was racism nonetheless. So don't call us disloyal. We're dedicated to protecting the public.
It's time for this country to get over its paranoia. A war doesn't give the government an excuse to spy on people.
I hope I've made our position clear. I'm tired of hearing about how we should be tried for treason or thrown in jail. Hasn't anybody ever heard of the First Amendment?
Please don't print my name. I'm sure they're watching me.
Whew! For a minute there I'd thought your reason for publishing information about secret wartime programs was to damage the Bush administration, but you've made it clear that you place the welfare of your fellow Americans above all else.
You have indeed provided a critical service to a public that had no previous inkling that banks kept records. Most Americans probably didn't realize their banks had their phone numbers, let alone their Social Security numbers. In fact without your paper to clue them in, most people would probably still be under the impression that the letters IRS refer to the Icelandic Ragtime Society.
Your contributions to the war effort are evident on every page of your paper, without which Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe wouldn't know which agency supplies the best nannies, which personal trainer to call to help them maintain their ideal weight, which private school to send the kids to or which limo company to use for their commute, not to mention that they'd be absolutely lost as to which wine goes best with foie gras.
Were it not for your paper the average American would probably believe that nonsense about going to war to prevent more 9/11's, and he'd probably still think the destruction of the Twin Towers was the work of Muslims who got an "Incomplete" on their flight school exams rather than the natural consequence of electing a Republican to the presidency.
And don't let me forget to commend you for publishing the exact location of Donald Rumsfeld's summer home. Everyone has the right to know when someone like that moves in next door.
Keep up the good work. Together we'll win this war.
Good luck and God bless.
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