Mixed Media: When the press keeps secrets


Americans' trust in the press has been slipping for years. Will the disclosure that some 40 news organizations cooperated in hushing up the kidnapping of a New York Times reporter by Taliban militants damage it still further? Or will it help to reverse the trend? Both, probably.

The Times revealed on Saturday that reporter David Rohde had escaped after seven months in captivity in Pakistan. Fearing publicity would add to his peril, the paper refrained from printing anything about his capture, and convinced every other major news outlet that learned of it to do the same. Incredibly, the entities that agreed to respect the blackout included not just other newspapers and TV networks but Gawker, a gossip blog that officially adheres to no ethics but the ethic of the pageview.