In an interview with Jane Meyer of the New Yorker, Edward Snowden ridicules the idea allegations by leading members of Congress like Mike Rogers and Diane Feinstein and wonders why and how it is that the media simply allow these people to make such wild allegations without any supporting evidence.
“It’s not the smears that mystify me,” Snowden told me. “It’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.”
Snowden went on, “It’s just amazing that these massive media institutions don’t have any sort of editorial position on this. I mean, these are pretty serious allegations, you know?” He continued, “The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”
The reason is of course that the much of the mainstream media has become used to the idea that their job is to be a platform for the views of major political players, whether those comments are on the record or on anonymous background. They do not see their role as investigating the truth or falsity of any statement made by a public figure. They often will not even challenge it unless they can report on another major political figure challenging it. This is why issues for which there is a bipartisan consensus (going to war, cutting spending on the poor, policies that favor the rich) rarely get closely examined, because no one ‘important’ enough comes out against the consensus.
When they are questioned about their charges, as Mayer did, these politicians then backtrack, hiding behind their spokespersons with evaasions.
Asked today to elaborate on his reasons for alleging that Snowden “had help,” Rogers, through a press aide, declined to comment.
An aide to Feinstein, meanwhile, stressed that she did no more than ask questions. “Senator Feinstein said, ‘We don’t know at this stage.’ In light of the comments from Chairman Rogers, it is reasonable for Senator Feinstein to say that we should find out.”
That is how it works. These people throw out allegations, knowing that journalists will chew on it for days and weeks, fostering the suspicion that there must be something there.