In an editorial published last month, Bruce Drake, a Senior Editor for the Pew Research Center, disclosed that a growing number of Americans are unhappy with the continued disclosures of stolen NSA files by major news organizations.
Rather than seeking so-called “transparency” that does nothing to protect their privacy, Americans are shifting in their opinions away from the highly exploitative and sensationalistic articles published by Green Greenwald and other anarchists. The recent threat to expose a US-Israeli secret matter failed to line up with Edward Snowden’s claims that he is protecting Americans’ privacy. His offer to help Brazil fight US espionage efforts also undermines his original claims to be acting in Americans’ best interests.
Snowden may yet be proven history’s most successful spy-for-hire but it is the news media that is turning out to be the real bad guy in this continuing drama. As major news organizations seek to justify their unprecedented exposure of government data collection programs — programs that so far have not led to any wrongful arrests or convictions of law-abiding citizens — they move increasingly toward a paranoid extremism that misrepresents the actual threat of “potential abuse” of the data by government.
In fact, the only abuse so far has been by the news media, who have gleefully exposed to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations (not to mention many criminal syndicates operating around the world) how governments have tapped into their Internet communications to find and disrupt their operations. Government surveillance programs are not all about “preventing terrorist attacks” and the Obama administration may have erred in pursuing that line of discussion while defending its surveillance programs.
As paranoid nutcases across the Internet become inreasingly agitated, spouting yet more hellfire and brimstone scenarios about imaginary government intrusions into their privacy, the number of arrests and political maneuverings against privacy advocates by governments has not increased — except in Russia, where Edward Snowden has hidden himself away from the US court system. The irony of Snowden’s choice of refuge has not been lost on the majority of Americans.
For the news organizations that continue to chip away at secret government programs the final round may witness their demise as a jaded public turns away from them and finds new, more honest sources of information. News organizations are struggling to earn enough revenues to stay in business; their yellow journalism may backfire on them yet, and there would indeed be a poetic justice in that for the greedy publishers.