Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Why the media didn't fact-check Snowden/Greenwald

I see that Edward Snowden is following the lead of George W. Bush in prematurely claiming Mission Accomplished. Someone might want to tell him that it didn't work out so well for the guy who said that last time. But politicians and pundits from all across the political spectrum are lining up to canonize the guy.

All of this totally ignores some very inconvenient facts related to the lies and misinformation that have been spread by Snowden/Greenwald. I might remind you that one of Snowden's opening statements was that he could wiretap the President's phone from his desk if he wanted to. Not true. There was that whole PRISM thing about "direct access" that turned out to be a hoax. Of course there were also the lies of omission. Like the fact that the Snowdenistas have produced zero "revelations" on the NSA's policies - enforced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court - about the minimization procedures that are in place to protect the privacy of Americans. Then there are all the things we still don't know. Like the fact that Snowden admitted he took the job at Booz Allen specifically to steal information and the questions that raises about when/how he first made contact with Greenwald/Poitras. Or what was the significance of Snowden not only fleeing to Russia, but staying in their embassy while in Hong Kong?

Can you imagine how different this whole story might look if the media ever really looked into all that? It might actually resemble how President Obama talked about it at his end-of-the-year press conference. Heaven forbid!

Based on all this, I went to Politifact to see if they've ever fact-checked Snowden/Greenwald. Oops, they don't do that for "whistleblowers" and journalists...only politicians. When it comes to journalists, Media Matters does an amazing job of fact-checking the right wingers. But we've known since the run-up to the Iraq War that there is precious little fact-checking of the MSM.

Snowden/Greenwald have been able to exploit that opening by fueling the media's love of hysterical accusations and blinding cynicism to produce a narrative that paints Snowden as a hero and NSA as the villain. I don't know about you, but my experience tells me that no story is ever that black and white. Silly me...what kind of linkbait is that going to produce?


  1. Amen....The fraud of Snowden/GG continues---and also loved by some on Daily Kos:

  2. The most important thing I took away from this whole Snowden affair was the fact that the very people who were calling for his extradition and punishment were the same people who had fought hard to water down the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court during the Bush administration. Now they were howling because the NSA was accused of overstepping the limits and oversight that Congresses of the past had placed on it.

  3. The NSA has been inexistence since 1952. FISA laws were enacted in 1978. In 2001, the Patriot Act was passed and God forbid anyone who expressed concern about civil liberties was labelled a terrorist sympathizer. Moving right along, in 2003 US invaded Iraq and again, anyone who protested or questioned that was labelled a terrorist sympathizer. Fast forward to 2013. We have an African American Democratic President. The mainslime media, who experienced mediawhoregasms over Bush wanting to invade Iraq and "keep us safe", suddenly decide a Ron Paul hipster aided and abetted by a Cato Institute "civil libertarian" are "heroes" and, OMG, the NSA is evil and our civil liberties suddenly become "sacred". Hmm. And, as you so eloquently point out, SP, the media continue to read literally off of the same script. I've believed from day one this is orchestrated.

  4. The thing that annoys me the most about this story is that there are significant questions that should be asked about the extent of the NSA's grasp and the limits on their power. But those questions are hard to ask in a hurricane of wild accusations and very little actual fact.

    A lot of people seem to think that Snowden should get credit for at least starting the conversation and opening the eyes of the American people (and the world) about just how far-reaching the NSA's powers are. But starting a conversation does no good if the follow through doesn't lead to significant and needed reforms. And it is worse than nothing at all if it provides a smokescreen that just continues to obscure the issue instead of shining real light on it.

  5. NSA had every chance to come clean and tell the whole story. Instead we went to 'we stopped 254 acts of terrorism' to 'maybe we stopped 1 or 2', to a report that said these programs did not stop a single act of terrorism. So who is the one with the real credibility problem?

    The people collecting bulked data and lied about it until they couldn't lie any more or the person who denounced it?

    1. Your questions are housed in exactly the kind of either/or (hero/villain) mindset I was talking about.

  6. I was a bit disconcerted about how sanguine/dismissive Snowden was about threats to privacy from the "private" sector:


    And the whole 'Mission Accomplished' chest thumping does seem quite premature at this point.

  7. Eh, I don't know...a month from now when Snowden needs an attention fix, he'll say something equally ridiculous and all the blogs will examine his every word in great detail and nothing will have changed. Yawn.

  8. Bob Cesca did a great job of covering the scandal, the actual issues, and Snowalden. Those two are libertarian ratf***ers, and they lie like cheap rugs. There is no way Snowden knows as much about the NSA and security--- which our government is obligated to provide--- as he claims to. Most of the documents that Greenwald published didn't actually say what he said they did, and you could read that; but he "couldn't" or just didn't want to understand what the documents really meant. The Guardian screwed the pooch. It floored me that they did not look for other sources to back up or dispute what they were publishing. Now that Greenwald is going to work for a billionaire who has driven who knows how many people to suicide with voracious micro-loans, liberals should have clues enough that he doesn't give a damn about civil liberties or the lives of downtrodden peoples. If he and Snowden cared about civil liberties, they wouldn't be living in Brazil and Russia, respectively.

    We have serious problems with unprecedented wealth disparity, poverty, unemployment, underemployment, job insecurity, food insecurity, racism and the New Confederacy, states giving green lights to whites to shoot blacks in Stand Your Ground states, misogyny, an absolute dismal rate of prosecution for rape in the civilian and military worlds, the erosion of reproductive freedoms, domestic violence and the murder of women, women still making too much less than men for the same work, blacks making less still and suffering a chronically higher unemployment rate, a voracious private prison system, too many people in prison for non-violent drug offenses, public schools in various states of dilapidation and squalor, Republicans trying to give the wealthy more while taking more from the poor and working people; x number of soldiers and veterans who have done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and are suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and/or need physical therapy and prosthesis; neighborhoods and entire towns being torn apart by super-storms and we're not even having a serious talk how long we can just keep bailing out towns and states that aren't addressing these problems in their states, we aren't having the serious talks we need to have about global warming, because people are so invested in their pet issues, imperfections, and bug-a-boos instead of being concerned about the big picture and focusing on what's best for our society as a whole; which means choosing battles wisely and starting with the most glaring injustices, threats, and insecurities, which is not the NSA's capability to find out who a suspected or confirmed terrorist is talking to and getting a warrant to gather more information.

    Poor wittle white men--- they feel entitled to determine that the NSA hasn't produced any helpful intelligence to anyone and it's all just a big scam because Snowden. Greenwald. Hitlerbama.

    Who's a special snowflake? They's a special snowflake--- each special wittle snowflake knows more than the NSA, the FISA court, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the President, etc. ad nausem. Why the possibility of them not having absolute privacy, while they demanding radical transparency is just unthinkable. Tyranny! And anyway, who ever heard of terrorist attacks on American soil or American bases or American embassies or those of our allied countries? Information wants to be free and anyone who would rather the NSA have the capability to find out who known or suspected terrorists have been talking to or e-mailing, than to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks is a pussy who doesn't deserve liberty or security 'cause Ben Franklin. What noble, special, superior snow flakes. I have to wonder what percentage of them clean their own toilet, and suspect it's low.

  9. great comment wiley, absolutely spot on!


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