Marcy Wheeler finds that the NYT's defense doesn't hold up:
Three years passed before the NYT started balancing those defending waterboarding with quotations calling it torture in less than half of their articles discussing the practice.
So what explains the delay?...It’s possible the formal admission of waterboarding to Congress by Michael Hayden on February 5, 2008 changed things. It’s also possible that John McCain’s presidential campaignheating up in 2007offered a reason to consider calling waterboarding torture okay. Or, it’s possible that the NYT didn’t want to call torture torture until the Iraq war made Bush so unpopular that it became okay to let torture critics have a voice in the paper.
Whatever it is, the NYT’s own narrative about how they balanced their capitulation to the Administration with quotes from torture critics is anachronistic.