Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo (6/11/13) wrote about Edward Snowden yesterday in a way that helped make it clear why so many in the press seem upset that the former NSA consultant revealed the extent of U.S. spying programs aimed at the American public. "I'm a journalist," Marshall wrote. And back when I did national security reporting I tried to get leaks. So I don't think leaks are always wrong…. In fact, leaks are an absolutely critical safety valve against government wrongdoing and/or excessive secrecy. But officials who leak classified information are "breaking an oath and committing a crime," [...]
What's the press saying about the Bradley Manning trial? We take a look at a strange CBS Evening News report about a U.S. atrocity in Afghanistan, and David Gregory thinks he found an Obama flip-flop.
NBC's Brian Williams called Bradley Manning "the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden." But giving classified information to the public is something that news outlets–including NBC News–routinely do, and each time they do it they too could be accused of "aiding the enemy."
"USAID Develops a Bad Reputation Among Some Foreign Leaders," read a May 7 Los Angeles Times headline, followed by the subhead: The U.S. Agency for International Development doesn't just offer aid to the poor, it also promotes democracy, which is seen as meddlesome or even subversive. Fighting poverty and spreading democracy–what's not to like? And so, the report seems to suggest, there's something a little off about foreign leaders, nine in recent years, who've expelled the agency. Why else would Bolivian President Evo Morales expel an anti-poverty group from his "impoverished" country, if he wasn't just a little bit crazy? [...]
It's no secret that U.S. media loathed the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Much of that was purely political; sure, Chavez could have given shorter speeches and been nicer to his political opponents–but it's hard to imagine that would have mattered much to, say, the Washington Post editorial board. One thing that turned up constantly in Chavez coverage over the years was his suspicion that the United States government was looking to undermine his rule. As a Washington Post news article (1/10/13) put it: A central ideological pillar of Chavez's rule over 14 years has been to oppose Republican and [...]
New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley–whose work has been regularly featured in the paper's Corrections box–doesn't think much of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange's new TV show, which debuted on the Russian-backed RT cable channel. Stanley takes her shots–the channel has a "zesty anti-American slant," she writes, then crudely notes: "A few correspondents can sound at times like Boris and Natasha of Rocky & Bullwinkle fame." OK. Stanley runs down the various controversies swirling around Assange, then presents his response: "Mr. Assange tells reporters that he is being persecuted for political reasons, which, even if true, doesn't exactly help his case." I'm [...]
The San Francisco Chronicle is apparently in trouble with the White House for posting video of a protest against the White House's treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. The Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead reports: The White House threatened Thursday to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights [...]
The New York Times and London Guardian both published stories yesterday (4/25/11) examining the WikiLeaks documents about the Guantanamo prison. While obviously just a snapshot, it is interesting to see how the papers have headlined their findings. The Guardian: The New York Times: And today the Times stresses the potential danger allegedly posed by those imprisoned there: This is not to suggest that the Times' pieces are particularly bad. But the difference in emphasis is striking–and reminiscent of how differently the papers treated previous WikiLeaks disclosures.
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange believes people are out to smear him and his organization. That much seems clear. Today the New York Times' Ravi Somaiya writes a piece that would seem to confirm those suspicions. Theheadline today: Assange Complains of Jewish Smear Campaign The issue hereis what an editor at theBritish magazine Private Eye says Assange told him–that there is, in the Times' words, "a Jewish-led conspiracy to smear his organization." There's no way for the Times to verify this information, as Glenn Greenwald points out at Salon. So why the definitive-sounding headline? And the background to Assange's "rambling phone call"raises [...]
The long 60 Minutes segment on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from last night (1/30/11) is definitely worth a look. But this set-up from correspondent Steve Kroft was certainly odd: Julian Assange is not your average journalist or publisher, and some have argued that he is not really a journalist at all. He is an anti-establishment ideologue with conspiratorial views. He believes large government institutions use secrecy to suppress the truth and he distrusts the mainstream media for playing along. Assange believes the government keeps important secrets? And that mainstream media play along? That is kooky.