The Press Lumps Ed Snowden And Chelsea Manning In With Mass Murderers, Actual Spies

from the all-the-same dept

Many in the press still seem to have difficulty recognizing that a whistleblower, even one disliked by the government, isn't somehow an automatic pariah to society. Instead, they like to lump them in with actual law breakers. Here are two recent examples. First up is the Washingtonian, who seems to think that Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning should be viewed in the same light as actual spies -- people who famously chose to sell secrets to our enemies or to help those enemies against the US. Lumping Manning and Snowden in with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Benedict Arnold, Aldrich Ames, John Walker Lindh and others suggests a profound misunderstanding of what Snowden and Manning did: releasing evidence of significant wrongdoing by the US government to the press. You would think if anyone could understand it, it should be the press.
Still, I can understand how some confused people still want to argue that there's at least a continuum between some of those folks and Manning and Snowden -- even if I disagree wholeheartedly -- simply because of the releasing of classified information. I think it's very different to give that info to the press, which is then able to go through it and report on the stories (as both Snowden and Manning did) than giving it to a foreign power, but some people don't seem to get that distinction.

Either way, even if you think the above chart is okay, the following one is simply outrageous. As pointed out by the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, Time Magazine has put together a graphic comparing Snowden and Manning to mass murderers Nidal Hasan and Aaron Alexis.
Yes, the argument they're making is that these are all examples of "missed signals in our government-clearance system." And we've certainly discussed how terrible the process is for getting top secret clearance these days. But, even so, lumping those four together is crazy. There's nothing about what Manning or Snowden did that should have set off alarm bells during the clearance process. They were people who loved America and then realized that the government was secretly doing things that they believed to be fundamentally anti-American, and they set out to try to fix that by alerting the public. That's pretty damn different than going someplace and shooting it up.

These are both subtle ways in which the press is trying to smear Snowden and Manning, by lumping them in with crimes of which they are not guilty.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 7:52am

    To be fair, that is, strictly-speaking, correct.

    The problematic part is the inference the article wants you to make.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Propaganda machine in full effect.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    I love how the "Leakers" are centred in the first image in an eye-grabbing red box, as if they're the worst of the worst when it comes to people who have handled intelligence in ways the government doesn't like.

     

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    arcan, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    i think james clapper should be on those charts as well for doing his best to break the constitution.

     

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    Namel3ss (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:21am

    Hatchet jobs!

    Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood mainstream media!

    But first, a word from our sponsor: the US government.

     

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    peter, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    In the minds of the public,
    Ed Snowden = Murderer
    Chelsea Manning = Actual Spies

    Government "Mission Accomplished"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Ugghhh don't you get it? Some of the mass murders are FRAME JOBS. They are the same in the respect that the gov WANTED to get those people and then lied to the public. Snowden and Manning just managed to get good press during their smears.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Not Jonathan Pollard?

    No mention of Jonathan Pollard in their news? The spy who spied on Americans for Israel?

    Oh right...NSA spies on Americans and hands the data to Israel. Yeh I can see the problem with writing a propaganda piece mentioning pollard.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Johnny Appleseed and Typhoid Mary both travelled around giving people things. Doesn't mean they shared anything else in common...

     

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    Roman, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    The press

    The press is so pro-Obama they'll support his administration even if it does the same things it hated about the previous Bush one.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:15am

      Re: The press

      Or the journalist assumes that bipartisan = cannot be wrong. It is the easy way out, you know. No conspiracy, just lazy journalists taking in unverifiable materials from other people and publishing it as the whole truth so help them god! It is an epidemic btw. if you look at the echoes getting repeated in the media.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 11:20am

      Re: The press

      The press is pro-government period. You don't need to qualify that shit.

       

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      Hephaestus (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 7:44pm

      Re: The press

      The press would spin Obama rounding up people and baking them in ovens as making pot pies.

       

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        Niall (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 4:34am

        Re: Re: The press

        Your damn pro-government press spun Bush invading irrelevant countries as "rah rah rah". There is no pro-Obama bias in them other than a failure to be as rabidly anti-Obama as Free Republic or the Tea Party.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    It's most hypocritical when you see just how well many in the media still speak about Daniel Ellsberg as a hero, for... leaking secret pentagon documents about the Vietnam war.

    Also, the evidence against Mrs. Rosenberg being a spy is actually pretty flimsy, she was never even given access to US Nuclear secrets by the government. The government just charged her initially in an attempt to push her husband to confess to the crime to save her, which failed. Then they decided not to drop the charges against her. The evidence against Mr. Rosenberg however is much more damning.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    But, even so, lumping those four together is crazy.

    I don't know, it seems to me that the US government is looking for untrained lap dogs for employees now. Anyone that dare might be intelligent enough to decide on the right or wrong of their actions are automatically considered terrorists, thus they can now lump them together.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    It is useful to consider the very real possibility that "Slipping through the cracks" is nothing more than pointing out deficiencies in background checks in advance of receiving a security clearance.

    As for the "whistleblowers" and the release of information to foreign governments, the fact many of these documents are published is a release of information to foreign governments. Much has been made here that some kind of a vetting process is being applied before information is published. Likely so, but then again it must be asked what particular expertise and insight the vetters have enabling them to determine what is OK to publish and what is not?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      It is useful to consider the very real possibility that "Slipping through the cracks" is nothing more than pointing out deficiencies in background checks in advance of receiving a security clearance.

      Yes, that's clearly what they're saying *as we said in the post*. But I'm curious how you consider giving Manning and Snowden clearance an example of problems "slipping through the cracks" or how they can be compared to the two mass murderers?

      As for the "whistleblowers" and the release of information to foreign governments, the fact many of these documents are published is a release of information to foreign governments.

      No, it's a release to the public. Yes, foreign governments can also read it, but the focus is on the public. You do understand the difference, right?

      Much has been made here that some kind of a vetting process is being applied before information is published. Likely so, but then again it must be asked what particular expertise and insight the vetters have enabling them to determine what is OK to publish and what is not?

      Really? Just a warning: you don't want to go down the path you're starting now, because you're going to look even more ridiculous than you usually do. Because you appear to be starting to argue that the press shouldn't be allowed to report on secret government programs unless they have secret clearance themselves. If you had even the slightest experience with these matters, you'd know what a ridiculous suggestion that is. I know that you're a government apologist, but really, this takes your apologism to new levels.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

      Re:

      In this, Snowden and Manning are different. Snowden made sure that the data couldn't get into "enemy" hands. Your argument is the modern-day equivalent of "But you're PEONS! You're not supposed to kill US!" in response to an uprising.

       

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    FM Hilton, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Toeing the line

    One thing you have got to remember when you're reading this stuff is that the print media is owned by the same people who kiss the ass of the government every single day. They're the ones who own 90% of the media, with 6 companies ruling over all of it.

    That means the propaganda filter is on "low" and usually the government's opinion is going to rule the message.

    Ordinary people are to be indoctrinated into the message that nobody has the right to have a conscience and everyone is a potential traitor if they do.

    Of course there is a clear red line between actual traitors, spies, terrorists and the likes of Manning and Snowden. But do not inform the government or the media about this, because it will cause them a nervous breakdown.

    Some of the worst traitors like Pollard were in place for decades and never detected until someone investigated them due to basic suspicion. Otherwise, they would have kept on spying until they died.

    That says a hell of a lot about the security of our actual real secret stuff, and it's not good.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    News flash to Mike: problem is a FEW BIG corporations.

    I'm SURE you all know this, but Mike seem always astonished to find dishonest corporations, so it's just for him:

    Who Owns the Media?

    Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read. In many cases, these companies are vertically integrated, controlling everything from initial production to final distribution. In the interactive charts below we reveal who owns what.

    http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart

    This one lays out a bunch of numbers:

    http://stateofthemedia.org/media-ownership/

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:38am

      Re: News flash to Mike: problem is a FEW BIG corporations.

      I know you can't read, but you should try it anyway, at least once.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:04am

      Re: News flash to Mike: problem is a FEW BIG corporations.

      And to think you were doing so well before. Well, so much for that.

      Have a DMCA vote.

       

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    identicon
    FM Hilton, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Thanks, OOB!

    I was going to put in some links for that, but you beat me to it.

    Makes the point I was addressing all that much clearer.

     

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    identicon
    Stuart Gray, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Wrong Name

    Bradley, Bradley, Bradley!
    Gender is not a choice. I do not get to demand that people call me Hillary Clinton. He can live however he wants. I do not judge people on what clothes they choose to wear or who they can and can not have sex with.

    But I will not call Bradley by some girls name just because.

    And ... Prince was never just some symbol either.

     

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      icon
      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:46am

      Re: Wrong Name

      So you believe that nobody should be allowed to change their name? An odd stance.

      I do not get to demand that people call me Hillary Clinton


      That's just silly. Of course you get to demand this -- and even make it all legal -- if you want to.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 11:26am

      Re: Wrong Name

      Even if you don't think gender is a choice why don't you think names are? Legal name changes are a thing. I don't like that nickname please don't call me dick is a thing. If what you're saying is true and she can live however she wants then what difference does it make to you what name she wants to go by? You don't have to think of her as being female to let her be.

       

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      JMT (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

      Re: Wrong Name

      "I do not judge people on what clothes they choose to wear or who they can and can not have sex with."

      Yeah, you do. You won't admit it to us, and maybe you even have difficulty admitting it to yourself, but you do. Your little rant makes that pretty clear.

       

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    identicon
    V, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    The fact that the Washingtonian includes Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino tells me that their article is completely worthless.

    From Wikipedia:

    The U.S. military detained Toguri for a year before releasing her for lack of evidence. Department of Justice officials agreed that her broadcasts were "innocuous". But when Toguri tried to return to the US, a popular uproar ensued, prompting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to renew its investigation of Toguri's wartime activities. Her 1949 trial resulted in a conviction on one of eight counts of treason. In 1974, investigative journalists found that key witnesses claimed they were forced to lie during testimony. Toguri was pardoned by U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1977.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Rose

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Mentioning Pollard would cast Israel in a bad light. The Jewish controlled media in this country will have none of that. They fought hard to rewrite history regarding the USS Liberty, and further back, the downplaying of the introduction of terrorism to the world. Thanks you bloody morons... all that to justify your religion and the stealing of a nation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    this has been done to simply sensationalize a story to try to sell more copies. what is a shame is that the person(s) concerned cant be subjected to prosecution for printing such bullshit, knowing full well it isn't true!!

     

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    limbodog (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    So is it time to round up Bob Woodward and Mark Felt and throw 'em in jail, and write an apology to Richard Nixon?

     

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    Tehrm (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Category Error

    Philosophers and Logicians call this a category error: "Ascribing one kind (or 'category') of thing to another kind". It's like petty a dog while saying "Nice kitty."

    Category errors pervade political rhetoric. Pick apart the next article you read on 'terrorists' and 'terrorism' and consider whether the actions and actors in the story have been appropriately categorized.

    Sadly, this verbal sleight of hand passes by most people pretty easily. Whether by inherent bias, intellectual laziness, or inattention, such disingenuous category errors are committed constantly.

    However, instances like these (from the articles in Mike's post) are excellent opportunities to point out the abundant, willful fallacies bandied by [insert person to blame]. I don't think any one group or person is to blame. It seems that too many people in just the right positions are terribly clueless, unthinking, solipsists disconnected to the affects of their actions.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    When did they find Ed Snowden guilt?
    What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    In the title and in the article you refer to "the press". Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black. It seems that you lumped all of the press together. Did you do just as much digging to find members of "the press" that were not lumping these traitors together? Wait, you were just trying to tell one side of the story. The one that fits your mold. Nothing new here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    They are both criminals

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    History lesson

    I find it interesting that they decided to lump on Iva Toguri D'Aquino in as well, given that she did not really have a choice but to participate in the propaganda braodcasts and the she used what little money she was paid to feed POW's. Plus she was convicted because the government coerced witnesses into purjuring themselves on the stand in order to have them give damaging testimony against her.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    Mirror's Edge nailed it...

    "It's not news any more. It's advertising."
    ~Chapter 1

     

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    identicon
    Jonathan Toth from Hoth, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:30pm

    Shit is dumb. When truth is akin to murder, you have murderers running the country.

     

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