“Instead of being adversaries to government power ... [the media of Washington, D.C., are] ... servants to it and mouthpieces for it.”
So said the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of Edward Snowden’s disclosure of NSA spying on the American people, after Greenwald’s confrontation with Meet the Press’s David Gregory. Greenwald needn’t have limited his observation to the D.C. media. Plenty of reporters and cable-news talking heads are playing the same role in the NSA drama.
Indeed, if they spent half the time investigating Obama’s Big Brother operations that they spend sneering at Snowden and Greenwald, Americans might demand that the government stop spying on them.
But to much of the mainstream (and not-so-mainstream) media, Snowden and Greenwald — not the NSA, the Obama administration, and the supine Congress — are the story — a story of villainy.
The examples are endless. The day after Snowden revealed himself as the whistleblower, Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman and host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ordered his director to take the image of “that weasel” off the screen. The other day, his sidekick, Mika Brzezinski, asked, “Is there anything we can do to track him down?” (Emphasis added.) She meant the government.
Brzezinski went on to accuse Snowden of taking the job with NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton “to screw over our government.” That’s how one who speaks power to truth spins it. Snowden’s service to the American people is hardly undercut by his having taken the job intending to expose government violations of the Fourth Amendment.
MSNBC’s self-identification as a progressive network is hard to square with its unrelenting assaults on Snowden and Greenwald, and its de-emphasis of NSA surveillance. Andrea Mitchell, who functions as the network’s chief diplomatic stenographer, wondered why the NSA was hiring contractors when it could be recruiting people with the “right value system” from the military. (She's forgotten that whistleblower Bradley Manning is in the military.) Chris Matthews of Hardball says that any foreign government that won't turn Snowden over to the U.S. government is “no buddy of ours.”
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