Greenwald and his critics

Today is the anniversary of the first news report based on the Edward Snowden documents and it is interesting to look back at how perceptions have changed over that time about Snowden and the journalists he used as a conduit for that information. A fascinating aspect has been the reactions of the so-called ‘liberal’ media because they got squeezed between the principle that transparency about how government works is always to be preferred and their desire to protect president Obama and his administration who have been revealed to be liars and law-breakers when is comes to spying on people.
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Is this the secret to trolling?

Some people in the media, especially activists and pundits, feel a compulsion to stay visible in the public eye either because of ego or because that is how they make their living by giving talks and selling books and the like. The way they do that whenever they sense that they are being forgotten is to troll for attention. In an earlier post, I said that it was easy to be a conservative troll. All you had to do was say something outrageous or extreme that would anger or at least annoy and exasperate liberals who would then rise up and condemn you.
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Book review: No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald

I finished the book (its full title is No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State) in two sittings. It is not too long (about 250 pages) and Greenwald has a direct style where he says what he means without weasel words that makes it easy to follow. It describes how Edward Snowden came to gain access to all the materials he chose to reveal, what made him decide to reveal it, the main contents of the revelations, why it is important, and the reactions to his disclosures. (Notes on each chapter, the index to the contents, and many of the source documents from the NSA that are not in the book or are hard to read because of the size of the font can be found here.)
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Disturbing holding back of news

The Cleveland Museum of Art, a magnificent organization, has recently had a troubled time with three directors and four interim heads in the last fifteen years, a high rate of turnover for museums. Yesterday it announced a new director William Griswold but in a long article that had a lot of positive things about him, Plain Dealer reporter Arts reporter Steven Litt inserted this odd and unexplained passage.

Under an accord with the Cleveland museum and the Morgan, The Plain Dealer agreed Thursday not to publish news about Griswold’s impending appointment until 10 a.m. Tuesday — after the Cleveland board of trustees voted to accept the search committee’s recommendation.

The museums said that The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal agreed to the same conditions.

So the papers had the news but sat on it for nearly a week? Why should a news organization agree to such an arrangement? It is not as if there was any investigation going on that warranted secrecy. This is the danger when newspapers don’t face any real competition.

The PD has long been accused of being too cozy with the local elites. Their publisher (Terrance C. Z. Egger) also sits on the board of the museum and was accused of being the reason the paper sat on the story about the last director who resigned after it was revealed that he had been having an affair with a staffer who died under mysterious circumstances and were scooped by the local alternative weekly newspaper Scene. That newspaper also reported on the new director William Griswold and added this last sentence: “The 53-year-old Griswold, for what it’s worth, lives with his partner of 23 years, Christopher Malstead.”

Cleveland elites are a pretty traditional bunch. The fact that they hired an openly gay person to head one of its most esteemed civic gems tells us how far we have come, even if the state of Ohio still bars same-sex marriage.

The New York Times, Jill Abramson, and the NSA

The New York Times has been at the receiving end of much media attention following the unceremonious dumping to Executive Editor Jill Abramson, with all manner of stories being floated as reasons for her canning. Was it due to poor management style? Was it because she complained that she was being paid less than her male predecessors? Was it because those who worked for her were complaining about her? Was it because, as Michelle Goldberg writes, she sent a reporter to London to investigate the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal and the way that the BBC failed to cover it, which might have implicated NYT CEO Mark Thompson who was the head of the BBC at that time? Was it because, as Ken Auletta says, she was planning to bring in a deputy managing editor to work alongside managing editor Dean Baquet, the person who replaced her, and that he was unhappy with this move?
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