There seems to be developing a narrative amongst some media elites that unless you travelled their path then you are no journalist.
The sanctimony and finger pointing is hilarious, then there is the personal animosity if your politics or beliefs or even behaviour don’t match their own.
But if you can’t stand up for the freedoms of your political enemies then who will you stand up for.
Glen Greenwald is suffering from this. Now his politics are not my own, I doubt we’d agree on much and I am unlikely to ever meet him, but he is facing this exact criticism, simply for telling a story, even if it is the story of a traitor.
Among the dozens of reporters, editors, and commentators who have worked on articles sourced to Edward Snowden, just one, Glenn Greenwald, has been subject to a sustained campaign that seeks to define him as something other than a journalist. NBC’s David Gregory¬†asked¬†him why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a felon.¬†Representative Peter King declared that “legal action should be taken against him.”¬†Representative Mike Rogers¬†charges¬†that he is a thief who sells stolen material.¬†The New Republic¬†published¬†a piece¬†alleging that he has a nefarious, secret agenda. Why this unique effort to discredit him in particular?
Countless American journalists have published classified documents in the modern era. All were paid for their work, and in a world with Bob Woodward, it’s unlikely that Greenwald has been paid the most for revelations of classified material. Greenwald isn’t even unique in writing about secrets stolen by Snowden, or in being paid as a freelancer for his work upon the publication of those articles. Nor has Greenwald authored the Snowden articles denounced most bitterly by the national-security establishment. That distinction goes to the talented Barton Gellman.
So what¬†is¬†different about Greenwald?
The news organizations he works with are different. Rather than publishing in the¬†Washington Post¬†or the¬†New York Times,¬†institutions that have particular, unique, and often cozy relationships with America’s ruling class, he started out with a personal blog, later moved to¬†Salon.com, started publishing stories sourced to Snowden at¬†The Guardian’s¬†U.S. edition, and has worked with the foreign press.
His approach to journalism is different. Rather than trying (or purporting) to be objective, he is transparent about his opinions and explicitly argues for their validity. He criticizes fellow journalists for being insufficiently adversarial. Unlike most mainstream-media reporters, he voices contempt for certain American officials. And when he believes that they have broken the law, he doesn’t shy away from urging that they be prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes. It is no accident that there is no love lost for him in the national-security state. ¬†¬† Read more »