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One of NPR’s courtier journalists weighs in on the Snowden affair

Tom Gjelten is an honored member of the courtier journalist class who seems to see his role as to be a press conduit for the US government. I was curious to see how he would report on the Snowden case and he did not disappoint, fully living up to my expectations of him and dutifully playing his role of government propaganda distributor by smearing Snowden.

In his report today he pushed the idea that Snowden is a traitor by uncritically transmitting the views of Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Snowden has committed treason or espionage. Gjelten also quoted a ‘senior intelligence official’ (a source that is identified that way is usually a sign that you are going to get evidence-free government propaganda which is why they avoid accountability by being anonymous) said that there are ‘indications’ that ‘al Qaeda elements’ are changing their communication practices in response to the Snowden leaks and that the Chinese and Russian intelligence services may have even copied Snowden’s computer files. Good work, Tom! In just a very few minutes you hit all the government’s talking points.

What was hilarious (in a grotesque way) was the claim that the Snowden revelations will put a big crimp on US efforts to admonish the Chinese for their cyber-espionage and that this will make the Chinese ‘insufferable’ because they can now accuse the US of using double standards. Yes, isn’t it awful when foreigners lecture the US? Don’t they realize that only the US can lecture other countries on how they should behave and point out their hypocrisies?

Gjelten then does the usual dance of carefully finding distinctions between the cyber spying the US does on others and what the Chinese do and arrives at the satisfying conclusion that what the US does is right and normal and justifiable but what the Chinese do is wrong and unusual and reprehensible. As usual, there is no principle invoked. What is right or wrong depends on whether the US is doing it. Honestly these people are so transparent in their propaganda efforts as to be almost laughable if the issues involved were not so serious.

Meanwhile Trevor Timm writes that in their eagerness to condemn Snowden’s leaks, the government is leaking information left and right, but that is assumed to be just fine since these are leaks that favor the government and are given to the government’s courtier journalists. Timm’s list of officially approved leaks is impressive.

Comments

  1. ACN says

    I listened to this segment on my way into work this morning.

    It was embarrassing. Uncritically repeating whatever garbage a government official tells you is not journalism. It’s shill-ery.

    It’s almost like it’s much easier to be a shill than to do actual journalism…

  2. Chiroptera says

    …there are ‘indications’ that ‘al Qaeda elements’ are changing their communication practices in response to the Snowden leaks…

    If the concern really was al Qaeda, then there wouldn’t have been a “need” to acquire all meta-data from everyone everywhere. As is often the case, most of the problems are being caused by a reaction to the securitie forces’ blatant over reach.

    -

    …and that the Chinese and Russian intelligence services may have even copied Snowden’s computer files.

    But was Snowden allowed to keep his computer after copies were made? ‘Cause if so, then my understanding is that he got off better than a lot of journalists when US customs seize their laptops at the border.

  3. says

    Grotesquely hilarious pretty much covers the whole thing, beginning with the introduction:

    MONTAGNE: Officials in Russia, where he’s believed to be staying, call Snowden a human rights hero.

    GREENE: Propaganda machines are also at work in China and in Ecuador, where Snowden may seek asylum.

    MONTAGNE: President Obama, traveling in Africa, says Snowden should be returned to the United States to face espionage charges.

    GREENE: And officials in Washington say the Snowden leaks are threatening national security.

    Here’s NPR’s Tom Gjelten….

    Propaganda machines, indeed.

  4. says

    ) said that there are ‘indications’ that ‘al Qaeda elements’ are changing their communication practices in response to the Snowden leaks

    If that were a fact, that’d be classified information of the highest order. By repeating such scuttlebutt, Gjelten is doing exactly what he is complaining about except that he’s a coward about his source of classified leaks.

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