msnbc.com
updated 9/27/2006 12:16:15 PM ET 2006-09-27T16:16:15

A New York Times reporter who covers the Supreme Court likened Congress to a “law-free zone” and weighed in on abortion policy at a Harvard University appearance this summer.

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According to National Public Radio, Linda Greenhouse — who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her Supreme Court coverage — told a Cambridge, Mass., audience in June that the U.S. government had “turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other places around the world – (such as) the U.S. Congress.”

A tape of some of her remarks was aired during the NPR broadcast on Wednesday.

She also spoke of a “sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism. To say that these last few years have been dispiriting is an understatement.”

“I said what I said in a public place,” Greenhouse told NPR, when asked about the remarks. “Let the chips fall where they may.”

NPR quoted Daniel Okrent, who served as the Times’ first public editor, as saying he was surprised by her remarks.

“It’s been a basic tenet of journalism ... that the reporter’s ideology (has) to be suppressed and submerged, so the reader has absolute confidence that what he or she is reading is not colored by previous views,” he said.

Okrent also told NPR he had not received a single complaint of bias in Greenhouse’s reporting. However, the New York Times reprimanded Greenhouse when she marched in a large protest backing abortion rights in Washington in 1989.

The New York Times’ 38-page ethics policy bans journalists from owning stock in companies related to their beat, contributing to political campaigns or marching in “public causes or movements.”

NPR said top New York Times editors Bill Keller and Jill Abramson declined to be interviewed.

A Times spokeswoman did not immediately return a call from MSNBC.com.

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