Posters at right-wing board threaten to kill Times editors, reporters

Published: Monday June 26, 2006

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Posters at the right-wing Free Republic message board today were roused into a fury of indignation by a news story about the New York Times' revelations of the administration's illegal programs of warrantless surveillance. Posted by an individual calling himself or herself "pissant," the story quoted Vice-President Cheney as saying:

"The New York Times has now twice -- two separate occasions -- disclosed programs; both times they had been asked not to publish those stories by senior administration officials. They went ahead anyway. The leaks to The New York Times and the publishing of those leaks is very damaging."

The thread which followed this provocative statement was almost entirely devoted to imagining ever-more-extreme ways to get back at the Times for what the posters widely considered to be an act of treason. Their recommended responses started out with the relatively mild and legal:

"Sic the AG on the NYT!!!!!"

"Can we have a class action lawsuit against the Slimes [sic] for endangering American lives?"

However, they soon became increasingly vindictive:

"Whoever it is, needs to spend the rest of his pathetic life in the slammer."

"Indictments, arrests and imprisonments are very much in order here. Not to put too fine a point on it, but just how much treason is our president prepared to tolerate?"

The thread quickly took on the quality of a lynch mob, with posters attempting to outdo one another in their level of imaginary violence:

"I can only hope I get to see the video of Sulzberger's beheading! :)"

"If the government won't act, perhaps some private citizens will."

"Tar, feathers? You are the very definition of the term 'restraint'. I was thinking more along the lines of the Muslim solution."

"String em up, right next to Murtha's sad carcass."

"They need to hang for this, but it's not PC for me to type this in RESPONSE to their treason."

The inevitable climax of this rhetoric of hatred was a post declaring the Times to be THE ENEMY, followed by additional responses in which they were described as fair game for private vengeance:

"The Slimes [sic] and its puppets in the MSM ARE THE ENEMY. They simply hate America as it is. They want a socialist-homosexual utopia. Thus, they are simply aiding and abetting their faithful followers abroad and here. They are giving intel to their friends of gee-had. They are the enemy. Problem is, many Americans simply do not know or care."

"Any retired snipers out there?"

"They are, without a doubt our enemy. We need to treat them as such."

"I think it will be dangerous for a Slimes [sic] reporter to step foot out of Manhattan."