Washington Post Attacks Washington Post over Snowden NSA Leaks

Saturday, July 06, 2013
Marty Baron, executive editor of Washington Post

The newspaper that exposed Watergate and helped bring down President Richard Nixon has questioned its own reporting that revealed Edward Snowden’s stolen secrets from the National Security Agency (NSA).


In an opinion piece (“Plugging the Leaks in the Edward Snowden Case”), The Washington Post’s editorial board wrote that “the first U.S. priority should be to prevent Mr. Snowden from leaking information.” The board also seemed to have a problem with Snowden’s stealing documents about controversial NSA surveillance—which the newspaper itself exposed along with The Guardian.


“What’s so utterly revealing about this editorial is not merely that it reads like hard-boiled talking points given to politicians by their surveillance-industry campaign donors,” David Sirota wrote at Salon. “No, what sets this Washington Post editorial apart—what vaults it into the annals of history—is how it is essentially railing on the Washington Post’s own source and own journalism.”


Sirota argued that the editorial demonstrated the “Post’s higher-ups are apparently so ideologically committed to subservience and to the national security state that they felt the need to take the extraordinary step of publicly reprimanding their own source and their own newsroom for the alleged crime of committing journalism.”


The newspaper’s board is not alone within the media, as other prominent journalists, including David Gregory, Andrew Ross Sorkin and David Brooks, have taken a negative view of The Guardian’s and the Post’s investigative work.


“Call it Journalists Against Journalism—a group of reporters and pundits who are outraged that whistle-blowers and news organizations are colluding to expose illegal government surveillance. To this club, the best journalism is not the kind that challenges power or even merely sheds light on the inner workings of government; it is about protecting power and keeping the lights off,” Sirota wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Meet the “Journalists Against Journalism” Club! (by David Sirota, Salon)

Plugging the Leaks in the Edward Snowden Case (by Editorial Board, Washington Post)


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