Thomas Friedman, favorite columnist of President Barack Obama, dutifully took up the White House megaphone today and blared out even more bombastic bloviation than is customary for him.
Here is just one portion of the crime against journalism that the New York Times saw fit to print:
Considering the breadth of reforms that President Obama is now proposing to prevent privacy abuses in intelligence gathering, in the wake of Snowden’s disclosures, Snowden deserves a chance to make a second impression — that he truly is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. The fact is, he dumped his data and fled to countries that are hostile to us and to the very principles he espoused. To make a second impression, Snowden would need to come home, make his case and face his accusers. It would mean risking a lengthy jail term, but also trusting the fair-mindedness of the American people, who, I believe, will not allow an authentic whistle-blower to be unfairly punished.My reply:
Either I clicked on one of those parody sites by mistake, or Thomas Friedman has taken to tongue-in-cheek satire.
Because only from what Frank Rich calls the "stench of the Potomac" could such drivel flow. The funniest part of this piece is that "the American people" have any say over whether a whistleblower is fairly treated. Just take a look at Bradley Manning if you want to know how whistleblowers are not only punished, but tortured through pre-trial solitary confinement and forced nudity. Never mind that this brave young men who exposed war crimes as well as embarrassing the corporate-controlled government is facing life in prison. Take a look at John Kiriakou, imprisoned for blowing the whistle on CIA torture, while the actual architects of torture still roam the earth, protected under the Obama regime -- which has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined.
Snowden did not "dump" his data and flee. He gave his files to reputable journalists so they could use their own judgment over what to release to the public.
Obama, meanwhile, is not proposing any NSA reforms. He is merely appointing a "task force" headed by the very same bureaucrat (James Clapper) who lied to Congress about the government spying on its own citizens. Clapper's job is to figure out more clever ways to make us capitulate to the iron fist of the surveillance-industrial complex, thus ensuring the continuous flow of taxpayer cash to Booz Allen & Friends.Mind you, I wrote my comment last night, before I was informed that Clapper is not actually "heading" the task force, but simply orchestrating it. My bad. At least I was among the million or so other people who'd so totally misinterpreted his actual role (see previous post.)
I imagine that Friedman must have read yesterday's truly excellent Times magazine piece by Peter Maass, and was attempting damage control at the behest of the White House. The corporate press is finally paying attention to the old news that award-winning journalist Laura Poitras, who partnered with Glenn Greenwald in breaking the NSA domestic spying scandal, has herself long been targeted by the USG. And the coordinated government-media effort to denigrate them, as well as Snowden, is losing steam by the day.
Public opinion has escaped, and is running amok.