The White House has launched an assault on the New York Times for publishing a story about the administration’s secret program to monitor bank records. Yesterday, President Bush said the paper’s conduct was “disgraceful” and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow implied they were undermining Americans’ “right to live.”
The right-wing echo chamber is taking the argument a step further. Appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball, talk show host Melanie Morgan said that New York Times editor Bill Keller is guilty of treason and that “Keller and his associates” should be thrown “in prison for 20 years. Watch it:
The maximum penalty for treason under federal law is death.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Melanie, do you really mean treason? You mean put them in jail for life? I don’t know what treason carries as a sanction, but I assume the penalties are incredible severe, 20 years perhaps.
MATTHEWS: You are saying to put Bill Keller and his associates in prison for 20 years?
MORGAN: Absolutely. I am absolutely advocating that. What has happened is shameful If he’s the one that is ultimately responsible for making this decision.
MATTHEWS: Well, it’s his call. What about the NSA? Would you do the same in the NSA case?
MORGAN: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely I would.
MATTHEWS: You’d put them in jail for 20 years for that.
MORGAN: Yes, I would. When you break the law, you break the law. And the press, the media in this country have to learn one thing. They have to operate under the same laws and the same rules and regulations that all of the rest of the American people do.