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Edward Snowden, Media Critic | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Edward Snowden, Media Critic

Edward Snowden

A bus passes by a poster of Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA). (Reuters)

Whatever you think of Edward Snowden, you have to admit that he hit the nail on the head when, in this week’s New Yorker, he criticized media coverage of the latest charges, coming from top leaders in Congress, that he “may well” have been working for the Russians, or got help from them, when he nabbed all those NSA docs.

From Jane Mayer’s article:

On Sunday, the “Meet the Press” host, David Gregory, also asked Mr. Rogers’s Senate counterpart, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, whether she agreed with his suspicions that Mr. Snowden had been helped by the Russians. She replied: “He may well have.”

Mr. Snowden criticized news organizations for treating such remarks as newsworthy. “It’s not the smears that mystify me,” Mr. Snowden told The New Yorker, “it’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.”

“This Russian spy push is absurd,” he added, via an encrypted line. If he was a Russian spy why did he get stuck for 40 days at the Moscow airport? “It won’t stick…. Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”

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Yet the media—Gregory, as usual, particularly guilty in this regard (see his Meet the Press questions for Rogers and Feinstein)—promote the charges without demanding evidence. At least Mayer followed up and got this:

Asked today to elaborate on his reasons for alleging that Snowden “had help,” Congressman Rogers, through a press aide, declined to comment.

An aide to Senator Feinstein, meanwhile, stressed that she did no more than ask questions. “Senator Feinstein said, ‘We don’t know at this stage.’ In light of the comments from Chairman Rogers, it is reasonable for Senator Feinstein to say that we should find out.”

What a shock. Mayer continues:

Snowden went on to poke fun at the range of allegations that have been made against him in the media without intelligence officials providing some kind of factual basis: “ ‘We don’t know if he had help from aliens.’ ‘You know, I have serious questions about whether he really exists.’ ”

Snowden went on, “It’s just amazing that these massive media institutions don’t have any sort of editorial position on this. I mean these are pretty serious allegations, you know?” He continued, “The media has a major role to play in American society, and they’re really abdicating their responsibility to hold power to account.”

Read Next: ‘New York Times’ Pleads for Justice for Edward Snowden—and Calls Government Officials Criminals.”

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