Jul
25
2013

The Whistles That Didn't Blow on the PBS NewsHour

Ray Suarez   (cc photo: Kevin Griffin Moreno)

Ray Suarez (cc photo: Kevin Griffin Moreno)

On Monday night's PBS NewsHour (7/22/13), anchor Ray Suarez signed off with this:

On Tuesday, we talk with two former National Security Agency analysts who blew the whistle on what they say were abuses and mismanagement at the agency.

Sounds intriguing! But there was nothing like that on the Tuesday show. Or the Wednesday show, either.

Now, plans change all the time in broadcast news, for all sorts of reasons. But given that government whistleblowers are by definition people whom the government doesn't want to tell their story–well, it would be good to hear what the reason was in this case.

And it would be even better to see the whistleblowers on the NewsHour and hear what they have to say.

 

UPDATE: On August 1 the NewsHour aired this segment, about half of which was an interview with NSA whistleblowers  (and former NSA employees) William Binney and Russell Tice.

The second part was a rebuttal of sorts. First came comments from Robert Litt,  general counsel with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. And then PBS aired parts of an interview with Joel Brenner, formerly the NSA's inspector general.  Brenner dismissed Tice and Binney, saying that "they don't know what's going on inside the agency." 

He was especially dismissive of Tice:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Another allegation we heard from them, from Mr. Tice, is that back as of the time before he left the NSA in the early 2000s, that there was spying going on, on news organizations, on Supreme Court justices, on presidential candidates, then Senator Barack Obama, on military leaders, top generals in the army.

JOEL BRENNER: Mr. Tice made the allegations you have just indicated having to do with the period before 2005, eight years ago. They're just coming out now. I wonder why.  The farther he gets from the period when he could have known what he was talking about, the more fanciful his allegations have become.

 Actually Tice spoke out right after he left the NSA– he was on Democracy Now! on January 3, 2006.  As for Brenner, his new job went unmentioned by PBS; as blogger and media critic Jon Schwartz noted, he's currently a senor adviser at the Chertoff Group, which is led by former Bush Homeland Security official Michael Chertoff:

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.