Best of the Web

I am increasingly of the opinion that James Taranto's column Best of the Web Today is one of the most important contributions to modern journalism.

Because he draws on contributions not only from a team at the Wall Street Journal, but also on thousands of readers who send him tips (including [full disclosure], on at least one occasion, this columnist), he is able to analyse stories and provide well-researched input very quickly.

For example, a few left-wing websites are trying to stir up interest in the idea of impeaching President Bush. Not, of course, for committing a criminal offence such as perjury or perverting the course of justice, but for authorising warrantless searches and wiretaps. It was in Taranto's column that I first learned that there is a mass or jurisprudence, including a Supreme Court ruling in 1972, backing the use of wiretaps to combat threats from abroad. It is perfectly clear that any American citizen in contact with overseas citizens known to have links with terrorists can be legally wiretapped. Indeed all recent presidents, including Bill Clinton and even the saintly Jimmy Carter, have authorised warrantless searches.

So that about wraps up the serious case for impeachment. But left-wing websites continue to stir up fake grass roots (astroturff) campaigns on this issue. And Taranto can provide links to those websites, too. He is also pretty good at exposing fake letters to the editor that have been cut and pasted from websites.

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