June 28, 2013
The Edward Snowden leaks have revealed a U.S. corporate media system at war with independent journalism. Many of the same outlets â€“ especially TV news â€“ that missed the Wall Street meltdown and cheer-led the Iraq invasion have come to resemble state-controlled media outlets in their near-total identification with the government as it pursues the now 30-year-old whistleblower.
While an independent journalism system would be dissecting the impacts of NSA surveillance on privacy rights, and separating fact from fiction, U.S. news networks have obsessed on questions like:Â How much damage has Snowden caused?Â How can he be brought to justice?
Unfazed by polls showing that half of the American rabble â€” I mean, public â€“ believe Snowden did a good thing by leaking documentation of NSA spying, TV news panels have usually excluded anyone who speaks for these millions of Americans. Although TV hosts and most panelists are not government officials, some have a penchant for speaking of the government with the pronoun â€œWe.â€
After Snowden made it out of Hong Kong to Russia,Â New York TimesÂ journalist and CNBC talking head Andrew Ross SorkinÂ expressed his frustration: â€œWeâ€™ve screwed this up, to even let him get to Russia.â€Â By â€œwe,â€ he meant the U.S. government.
Last time I checked, Sorkin was working for theÂ TimesÂ and CNBC, not the CIA or FBI.
When a huge swath of the country is on the side of the guy-on-the-run and not the government, itâ€™s much easier to see that thereâ€™s nothing â€œobjectiveâ€ or â€œneutralâ€ about journalists who so closely identify with the spy agencies or Justice Department or White House.
The standard exclusion of dissenting views â€“ panels often span from hawk (â€œheâ€™s a traitor who needs to be jailedâ€) to dove (â€œhe may have been well-intentioned but he needs to be jailedâ€) â€“ offers yet another reason why young people, more libertarian in their views, have turned away from these outlets. Virtually no one speaks for them. While aÂ TIMEÂ pollÂ found 53 percent of respondents saying Snowden did â€œa good thing,â€ that was the sentiment of 70 percent of those age 18 to 34.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
I teach college journalism classes about independent media. New developments like WikiLeaks and independent bloggers like Glenn Greenwald may scare the wits out of establishment media, but they sure donâ€™t scare young people or journalism students.
As media employees at elite outlets have grown cozier with their government and corporate sources (Sorkin is famouslyÂ close with Wall Street CEOs), they exhibit an almost instinctual antipathy toward those adversarial journalists who challenge powerful elites day after day.
Look at the reactions of some top mainstream journalists to Greenwald, who built up a big readership as a solo blogger before moving his blog toÂ SalonÂ and then theÂ Guardian, where he broke the Snowden/NSA stories. I know several journalism professors who view Greenwald as one of the worldâ€™s best journalists. Heâ€™s known as accurate, thorough, well-documented and ethical.
It was Sorkin, theÂ New York TimesÂ guy,Â who declared on CNBCÂ that maybe Greenwald should be arrested: â€œI told you this in the green room â€“ I would arrest him [Snowden] and now Iâ€™d almost arrest Glenn Greenwald, whoâ€™s the journalist who seems to be out there, almost, he wants to help him get to Ecuador.â€
If itâ€™s strange for a journalist to suggest another journalistâ€™s arrest, it was almost as strange when Sorkin wrote in aÂ TimesÂ column that he went down to check out the Occupy Wall Street encampment â€œafter getting a callÂ from the chief executive of a major bank.â€ Sorkin concluded: â€œAs I wandered around the park, it was clear to me that most bankers probably donâ€™t have to worry about being in imminent personal danger. This didnâ€™t seem like a brutal group â€“ at least not yet.â€
Another mainstream media star is NBCâ€™s David Gregory (seen literallyÂ dancing with White House source Karl RoveÂ in 2007). Since he interviewed Greenwald on Sundayâ€™s â€œMeet the Press,â€ thereâ€™s been scrutiny of Gregoryâ€™s factually-misleading question: â€œTo the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldnâ€™t you be charged with a crime?â€ And of Greenwaldâ€™s response: â€œI think itâ€™s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies.â€
But Iâ€™mÂ just as bothered by Gregoryâ€™s retort â€“ â€œWell, the question of whoâ€™s a journalist may be up to a debate with regards to what youâ€™re doing â€œ â€“ and the ensuing discussion in mainstream outlets questioning Greenwaldâ€™s bona fides as a journalist.
AÂ Washington PostÂ articleÂ (â€œOn NSA disclosures, has Glenn Greenwald become something other than a reporter?â€) questioned the bloggerâ€™s credentials as a journalist because heâ€™s also an advocate: â€œGreenwald has appeared frequently on TV to plead Snowdenâ€™s case as a whistleblower â€” an advocacy role many mainstream journalists would be uncomfortable with.â€
TheÂ PostÂ article spoke of â€œthe line between journalism â€“ traditionally, the dispassionate reporting of facts â€“ and outright involvement in the news seems blurrier than ever.â€ Libertarian journalist Matt WelchÂ critiquedÂ the article as â€œhistorically illiterate.â€
The truth is that many of the greatest journalists in our countryâ€™s history â€“ fromÂ Ida B. Wells to I.F. StoneÂ â€“ were accurate reporters of fact, but hardly dispassionate. And mainstream outlets have always had hybrid reporter/columnists offering both fact and advocacy; one of the most famous, David Broder, graced the pages of theÂ Washington PostÂ for years, including its front page.
Broder was a reporter, columnist and TV talking head â€” yet no one questioned whether Broder was a genuine journalist. Thatâ€™s because, unlike Greenwald, the reporting and opinions of a David Broder were militantly pro-establishment, pro-bipartisan consensus.
And Broderâ€™s not alone as a hybrid reporter/columnist in the mainstream. Letâ€™s not forget the delightful pundit who wanted to â€œalmost arrestâ€ Greenwald. His officialÂ TimesÂ bio states: â€œAndrew Ross SorkinÂ is aÂ columnist, chief mergers and acquisitions reporter, and editor of DealbookÂ forÂ The New York Times.â€
The reason Glenn Greenwaldâ€™s credentials as a journalist are being questioned by some mainstreamers is not that he blurs the line between journalist and advocate. Itâ€™s because of the anti-establishmentÂ contentÂ of his journalism and advocacy.
This article was posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 9:49 am
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This article originally appeared on: Infowars