Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guarding The Guardsmen

Let's have something out in front of us before we begin: Barack Hussein Obama is an aspiring tyrant, and the Executive Branch has followed his lead. Given the behavior of the IRS, the NSA, the EPA, the DOJ, the BATF, and quite a few other alphabetic combinations, this strikes me as irrefutable. Throw in the Obamunists' relentless demonization of anyone who dares to criticize his regime, and it takes an idiot -- or a willful liar -- to imagine otherwise.

But it's a truism of government, at least up to this point in history, that whether formally invoked or not, every government must have the implicit consent of the governed to remain in power. That consent must remain in place between elections, or the government will fail of its objectives regardless of legislative or executive exertions. How to keep it in place has been a study of would-be tyrants throughout Man's history.

In these United States, one of the most important factories of implicit consent -- it would not be amiss to translate that as "submission" -- is the "Fourth Estate," a.k.a. the Main Stream Media.

We've seen the extent to which the media are willing to go to protect The Won. That was to be expected; after all, he's their creation. They've concealed important facts, misdirected the public's attention, and framed critical stories in an openly tendentious manner. What's been done on editorial pages is still worse, but they're recognized as fora for opinion. But as the damage from Obama's policies has mounted, a few brave journalists have dared to break free of the prevailing lockstep support of the regime, at least on one or two topics of interest.

The outrage stimulated by the wiretapping of James Rosen and a gaggle of Associated Press reporters has taught the regime that direct action against "dissident" journalists is as likely to work against it as for it. But the Fourth Estate is critical to Obama's prospects for an attractive "legacy," to say nothing of his quest for total power. So a disciplinary mechanism by which to lasso the wanderers and drag them back onto the left-liberal plantation is required.

And indeed, one has emerged:

On Sunday’s "Meet the Press," NBC News host David Gregory conducted an informative and provocative interview with Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has broken much of the recent material on National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance. Gregory pushed Greenwald for details on where his source, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, was headed; on secrecy and accountability; on whether Snowden had broken the law. And, finally, on whether Greenwald himself had broken the law:
GREGORY: Final question for you…. To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

The media has taken to policing itself. No, not for failures of objectivity or accuracy, or for some sort of lapse in "journalistic ethics," but for daring to assist a designated enemy of the regime in any way.

Greenwald, to his credit, replied with a blistering return of service:

GREENWALD: I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I've aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the e-mails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies, for working with sources.

If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information, is a criminal. And it's precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. It's why The New Yorker's Jane Mayer said, "Investigative reporting has come to a standstill," her word, as a result of the theories that you just referenced.

Later on, Greenwald emitted a pithy tweet:

Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?

And in a later exchange directly with Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, Greenwald expanded most piercingly:

Some of what is driving this hostility from some media figures is personal bitterness. Some of it is resentment over my having been able to break these big stories not despite, but because of, my deliberate breaching of the conventions that rule their world.

But most of it is what I have long criticized them for most: they are far more servants to political power than adversarial watchdogs over it, and what provokes their rage most is not corruption on the part of those in power (they don’t care about that) but rather those who expose that corruption, especially when the ones bringing transparency are outside of, even hostile to, their incestuous media circles.

They’re just courtiers doing what courtiers have always done: defending the royal court and attacking anyone who challenges or dissents from it. That’s how they maintain their status and access within it. That’s what courtiers to power, by definition, do.

So yes, some establishment journalists have been hostile to our reporting, usually by ignoring the substance in favor of personalized attacks (is Snowden a narcissist? Am I engaged in “advocacy journalism”?). But truly: if I weren’t upsetting the David Gregorys and Andrew Ross Sorkins of the world, I’d be very alarmed, as it would be proof that I wasn’t engaging in meaningful adversarial journalism against their political and financial masters.

The incident, however it may run from here, speaks of a perception of urgency among the Obama regime's media backers. Greenwald has dared to remain undistracted by the Administration's attempt to demonize Snowden and has focused instead on the substance of his revelations. Therefore, Greenwald is off the reservation and must be either hauled back or delegitimized. Accusations of criminal conduct, unsupported by theory or evidence, have served that purpose in the past.

It will be fascinating to watch as other major media figures and institutions decide where they stand on the Snowden disclosures. Some will probably do as Gregory tried to do. Some, more aware of the threat to their occupation and the evanescence of political favor, will stand with those colleagues who focus on the revelations of NSA's pervasive data gathering.

We may be sure that the Obama White House will show one group a friendlier face than the other. What's less certain is whether the Main Stream Media, which have slumbered innocently in the path of the truth-averse Juggernaut of politics in our time, will awaken as a body in time to save accurate, incisive, investigative journalism from extinction.


furball said...

I've been reading the Honor Harrington series of books by David Weber. Late in the series, he discusses the Solarian League's government. It is based on "Old Sol" (the original Earth) and is run by entrenched bureaucrats who hold the empire by custom with little regard for the centuries-old Constitution.

The self-serving, Ends-justifying-means, bankruptcy of morality of those bureaucrats is so much a mirror of the United States federal government that I'm surprised the series is so popular and yet we voted for Obama twice.

At one point, he even has a rather evil group represented with the initials, SEIU. Is this cognitive dissonance or what?

All I have to do is walk into my wife's bedroom and watch Rachel Maddow on TV to realize the media is la-la land, anymore. She may be insightful; she may be smart; but she sure as hell isn't casting a light on this administration.

That said, I'm not real enamored of Fox, either. They seem a little too cutesie and soft to be believable.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be an arguement that the 1st amendment was only for journalist. I disagree and believe all the constitution is for all citizens of this country. A journalist should recieve no special treatment and a simple citizen should not be prosecuted for somnething a journalist can get away with. If Greenwald commited a crime I want to see him punished. I also am looking forward to seeing Snowden get a life sentence.