The TV networks’ Sunday talk shows are normally a predictable inside-the-beltway forum for establishment figures to espouse their views, with only token participation by alternative voices. We do occasionally see people like David Corn, Katrina vanden Huevel, or even Rachel Maddow on these shows, but it is with surprise that someone as openly critical of state power as Glenn Greenwald would be invited into this exclusive inner circle.
Last Sunday, as the major media were struggling to stay on top of the whereabouts of Edward Snowden following his “escape” from Hong Kong, Greenwald was invited to appear on Meet the Press. Host David Gregory questioned whether Snowden is actually a whistleblower, and then openly accused Greenwald of “aiding and abetting” Snowden in illegal activity. “Why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” he asked. Watch this video clip for Greenwald’s response (sorry for the commercial).
Greenwald later tweeted, “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?”
The Obama administration’s campaign against anyone who dares to expose secret government wrongdoing appears to be entering a new, and even more aggressive phase. It’s no longer just the whistleblowers who are targeted, but the journalists who rely on them as sources, and publish their leaks. Following revelations that phone records of the Associated Press were seized, it is now widely assumed that the NSA is capturing journalists’ phone records and other communications. As a result, reporters are complaining that their sources are drying up, fearful that the government will find out who they are talking to. The First Amendment guarantee of a free press apparently does not fit in with the security state’s plans to further consolidate its power.
Another disturbing discovery is that the Obama administration has instituted what it calls an “Insider Threat Program” that creates a culture of snitching by threatening to punish federal employees who fail to report suspicious behavior of their co-workers.