The power, but not the glory

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In a major case commanding national attention, television, oft berated as a "vast wasteland," has shown itself to be the nation's conscience while arguably the most respected newspaper in the land swallowed official dogma.

We refer to the Wen Ho Lee case, in which 60 Minutes played a key role in bringing to public attention not only the facts of the case-or lack thereof-but the conditions under which Dr. Lee was being kept: in solitary confinement, usually in shackles. It was 60 Minutes that kept reminding us of his plight, which extended for nine months.

The New York Times devoted half of its second page (Tuesday, Sept. 26) and the entire editorial section (Thursday, Sept. 28) attempting exculpation: the emperor, naked for all who would see, frantically reaching for fig leafs. It was television, instead, that carried the torch, casting light into dark places, thanks to 60 Minutes.