Government Deals with Embarrassing Information By Targeting Whistleblowers … and Journalists
Time Magazine’s senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald tweeted tonight:
I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out [Wikileaks founder] Julian Assange
What should we make of his statement? It’s not Grunwald as an individual … it’s the mindset of the entire political class.
Under both Bush and Obama, when bad government policy leads to bad results, the government manipulates the data … instead of changing policy.
As part of that effort – on the one hand – “reporters” who never criticize the government in more than a superficial fashion are protected and rewarded. And the government has repealed long-standing laws against using propaganda against Americans on U.S. soil. And the government also manipulates social media. More proof here and here.
On the other hand, the government has taken to protecting criminal wrongdoing by attacking whistleblowers … and any journalists who have the nerve to report on the beans spilled by the whistleblowers.
The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.
And it goes out of its way to smear whistleblowers, threaten reporters who discuss whistleblower information and harass honest analysts.
As we noted last year:
Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange could face the death penalty for his heinous crime of leaking whistleblower information which make those in power uncomfortable … i.e. being a reporter.
Establishment figures – such as Andrew Sorkin and David Gregory – have also called for Glenn Greenwald (the reporter who broke NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s story) to be arrested.
Journalism is not only being criminalized in America, but investigative reporting is actually treated like terrorism.
The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge
After the government’s spying on the Associated Press made it clear to everyone that the government is trying to put a chill journalism, the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek tweeted:
Serious idea. Instead of calling it Obama’s war on whistleblowers, let’s just call it what it is: Obama’s war on journalism.
- The Pentagon recently smeared USA Today reporters because they investigated illegal Pentagon propaganda
- Reporters covering the Occupy protests were targeted for arrest
- The Bush White House worked hard to smear CIA officers, bloggers and anyone else who criticized the Iraq war
- In an effort to protect Bank of America from the threatened Wikileaks expose of the bank’s wrongdoing, the Department of Justice told Bank of America to a hire a specific hardball-playing law firm to assemble a team to take down WikiLeaks (and see this)
And the American government has been instrumental in locking up journalists in America (and here), Yemen and elsewhere for the crime of embarrassing the U.S. government.
Journalists are being killed all over the world for embarrassing local governments.
(Even top U.S. government wonder whether the same thing is happening in America.)
Postscript: Grunwald subsequently deleted the tweet, because it helped Assange’s supporters. But the problem was never Grunwald as an individual … but the commitment of the entire elite political class to silence voices of dissent.
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