James Taranto is noticing some peculiar things about the way the Associated Press discusses the federal crime that is the hacking of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s e-mail account.

The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press on Wednesday and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.

The disclosure Wednesday raises new questions about the propriety of the Palin administration’s use of nongovernment e-mail accounts to conduct state business. The practice was revealed months ago–prior to Palin’s selection as a vice presidential candidate–after political critics obtained internal e-mails documenting the practice by some aides.

Taranto observes:

Let’s step back for a moment and consider what this says about the press’s attitude toward privacy. A few years ago, the New York Times revealed the existence of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, a theretofore-secret effort to prevent attacks by listening in on overseas terrorists’ phone conversations. In defense of the Times’s action, we heard a lot of pious proclamations about privacy: George Bush might want to snoop on your phone conversations or emails, and the press was merely being vigilant in protecting your privacy.

Yes, it’s still fresh in my mind. I’m hard pressed to recall a more egregious euphemism than the label of “Ordinary Americans” slapped onto terrorists who’d never been anywhere near, or held anything close to citizenship in, the America they intended to destroy. The democrat party threw it out there, over and over again, as if waiting to be called on it and questioned about it…something that never took place. Ordinary Americans, Ordinary Americans, Ordinary Americans.

Yet the AP, in reporting on its own role in the current story, tells us that it refuses to cooperate with the Secret Service’s investigation of the privacy breach. Granted, the AP probably doesn’t have that much to contribute to the investigation. But the symbolism is telling, and surely deliberate. It suggests the press places a far lower premium on privacy than on its own privileges and its adversarial attitude toward government (or perhaps toward Republicans).

Can’t remember where I saw this, but someone else was comparing this to the Watergate break-in. What a difference 37 years makes, huh? Now perhaps someone older than me and with a better-working memory, or someone with more ambition in the research department, can take on the task of figuring out what the Watergate burglars found. I haven’t got a clue. I heard it was said to be “a portrait of Harry S Truman and a stack of unpaid bills.” But I can guaran-d*mn-tee you this: It’s going to be mighty tough to find any AP stories that say “The disclosure raises new questions about the DNC’s use of the Watergate building to secure their sensitive records.”

But it really doesn’t matter what the Watergate burglars did or didn’t find, if you’re going to compare it to the Palin e-mail hack, for the latter of these was an epic fail. The hackers wanted to find something juicy, and they did not.

The AP’s “questions” are, therefore, rather short-lived. Go out and find something else spooky and ominous to question, AP.

Taranto continues:

Especially telling in this regard is the AP’s reference to the emails as “leaked.” (The Boston Globe uses the verb leak in its headline for the AP report.) Usually this term refers to a government agency or other organization’s failure to keep a secret. A leaker is someone who is authorized to possess information but not to disclose it.

These emails were not leaked, they were stolen. Here we have an actual invasion of an American citizen’s privacy, and what is the press’s attitude? If the AP is representative (and given its organizational structure, it should be), it is to regard “questions about the propriety” of the victim as more important than the invasion of privacy itself.

This is no different than blaming Sarah Palin for walking around the Memorial Pool after dark wearing a bikini and getting raped.

Actually, to make that analogy work, the rapist would have to suffer a sudden attack of erectile dysfunction. But the point stands. Liberal democrats demand the status of aggrieved victim, with truckloads of authority and little or no responsibility — nobody else really knows what to say in response to that, so our tendency is to go ahead and let ’em have it. Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, are treated as aggressors (or practitioners of negligence) in situations in which they really are victims. And that’s not whining, there’s really just no other way to describe it. You can mutter from sun-up to sundown how Palin’s use of Yahoo “raises questions” but if these hackers were so obviously interested in finding dirt while they were snooping around in violation of federal law, and never did find anything, then it simply isn’t a valid concern.

Palin ankle-biters, you are now finishing up your third week trying to find some good dirt. When you finished up your first week, you already looked like the coyote trying to cath the road runner. Now, it’s just getting monotonous. Meep, meep.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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