TBC: Morning Musing 6.16.15

Today I have 3 articles on that Sunday Times Ed Snowden hit piece.

First, Glenn Greenwald’s dissection of just how bad it was:


Unless he cooked an extra-juicy steak, how does Snowden “have blood on his hands” if there is “no evidence of anyone being harmed?” As one observer put it last night in describing the government instructions these Sunday Times journalists appear to have obeyed: “There’s no evidence anyone’s been harmed but we’d like the phrase ‘blood on his hands’ somewhere in the piece.”

The whole article does literally nothing other than quote anonymous British officials. It gives voice to banal but inflammatory accusations that are made about every whistleblower from Daniel Ellsberg to Chelsea Manning. It offers zero evidence or confirmation for any of its claims. The “journalists” who wrote it neither questioned any of the official assertions nor even quoted anyone who denies them. It’s pure stenography of the worst kind: some government officials whispered these inflammatory claims in our ears and told us to print them, but not reveal who they are, and we’re obeying. Breaking!


Next, what it would have looked like had the Fourth Estate been doing their job well:

Snowden files ‘read by Russia and China’: five questions for UK government

These are serious allegations and, as such, the government has an obligation to respond openly.

The story is based on sources including “senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services”. The BBC said it had also also been briefed anonymously by a senior government official.

Anonymous sources are an unavoidable part of reporting, but neither Downing Street nor the Home Office should be allowed to hide behind anonymity in this case.

Finally, the “journalist” stepped in it big time too:

Sunday Times Snowden Saga: Journalist Admits to CNN He Has No Clue

He later comments that the story was itself originally picked up from  “an extremely well-placed source in the Home Office,” meaning that the story he presented to the government for confirmation was the government’s own story from the beginning.

The Times reporter also admits he has no idea how the British government would know what was in the files, or even whether the files were stolen or given over willingly by Snowden – a possibility the article dangles at its readers without clarifying or substantiating.

“We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government,” Harper said, immediately sealing his social media doom.

So how you doin’? 😀