Glenn Greenwald can dish it out, but he can’t take it.
Meet the Press host David Gregory had the temerity – from Greenwald’s perspective – to ask the Guardian newspaper scribe, blogger and lawyer, “To the extent that you have aided and abetted [NSA leaker Edward] Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"
To this old reporter, that sounded like a fair question. It was tough, but not out of bounds.
Greenwald fired back with a how-dare-you reply, and he all but called Gregory a traitor to the Fourth Estate: "I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themself a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence – the idea that I have aided and abetted him in any way.”
Gregory kept his cool. “The question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you're doing,” he suggested, adding that he was only posing a question other people had asked and was not “embracing anything."
Greenwald makes no bones about embracing Snowden, though the story about him is still unfolding. Most Americans -– myself included -– are clueless about Snowden’s motives and where the story -- and Snowden -- will end up.
After blabbing to Greenwald, Snowden took a powder to Hong Kong and Russia and was supposed to fly on to Ecuador via Cuba .
Dare we think it’s possible that Snowden shared some secrets with his accommodating Chinese and Russian hosts? No way, according to Greenwald.
"I think he is very clear about the fact that he did it because his conscience compelled him to do so just like Daniel Ellsberg did 50 years ago when he released the Pentagon papers and also admits he broke the law," Greenwald told Gregory after conceding that Snowden violated the law.
Of course, Greenwald offered no proof that Snowden leaked classified information because his conscience was digging him.
At 63, I’m old enough to remember Ellsberg. He stayed stateside to face the music. Snowden skedaddled.
True confession time:
- I am a left-leaning, union-card carrying Democrat who voted for the president twice and even chipped in a few coins to his campaign.
- I have no idea what to make of the NSA spying business. I admit I don’t have all the facts (and neither does Greenwald). I want to hear more before I make up my mind one way or the other.
But here’s my question for Greenwald: Is it possible your guy Snowden sang to make the Obama administration look bad?
Even The Huffington Post, which tut-tutted Gregory’s question as “shocking” in a headline -- has reported that Snowden “is a fan of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).” An uber-right-wing libertarian, Paul never misses a chance to demonize the president.
Snowden chipped in $500 to Paul’s campaign in 2012. Paul is reportedly using Snowden to raise money for his Campaign for Liberty organization.
Anyway, in my youth, I was a columnist for a daily paper in my native Kentucky . I didn't do hard news, but I knew news reporters weren't supposed to take sides in stories. There was a wall of separation between news and opinion.
The libertarian, or whatever, Greenwald has breached that wall, like the right-wingers have at Fox News. Greenwald seems to fancy himself an objective sort of reporter. The Fox folks claim they're "fair and balanced." Baloney.
Fox is the GOP's defacto propaganda ministry. Greenwald pushes a point of view; Gregory was on the money in calling him "a polemicist."
For sure, Greenwald is no Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein.
In sleuthing the Watergate scandal, they let their stories speak for themselves. They didn’t advocate; they reported and let John and Jane Q. Citizen draw their own conclusions. We Americans were better for it.
The likes of Greenwald and the Fox propagandists are a throwback to the time when almost all newspapers were unabashedly partisan. There was no barrier between news and commentary. Old time editors and reporters deliberately slanted the news to make their party or their position on an issue look good and the other side look bad. And Jane and John Q were worse off for it.
Monday, 24 June 2013