Journalism Dies With the Corporate Press
The Washington Post and The New York Times work to out an alleged source to the U.S. federal government
The role of a journalist ought to be to report facts to the public as accurately as they are able to do so, and to protect their sources from reprisal to the best of their ability. Certainly the least that can be expected of them in this regard is to refuse to give up the name of or any other information that could lead authorities to unmasking their source. In 2013, the source behind the many prize-winning stories showing that the U.S. government and NSA were illegally spying on U.S. citizens, and that government officials like James Clapper committed perjury before the Congress in denying that this was happening, decided to publicly out himself. That source was Edward Snowden.
Note that Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who did much of the reporting on the NSA archive supplied by Snowden, and The Guardian, the publication that Greenwald wrote for at the time, did not decide to put Snowden’s name and face out to the public: Edward Snowden made that choice himself. For his courage he was forced to go on the run from the United States government lest he end up like WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning or WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.
The Washington Post and The New York Times have decided to take an opposing view, however. Despite running stories based on information disclosed by a whistleblower showing that the United States was lying about key facts regarding the war between Russia and Ukraine and the U.S. government’s role in that war, both the Post and the Times decided to help the FBI apprehend this alleged whistleblower by tracking them down and exposing them to the public. The Times discusses how they tracked down the alleged leaker for the feds here, and the Post discusses details about the leaker before he was allegedly identified here.
By outing an alleged source so that he could be prosecuted by the government for supplying newsworthy information to be reported to the public, the Times and the Post are no longer pretending to be journalistic organizations, but are openly declaring themselves to be privately-run propaganda institutions on behalf of the United States government. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this is a sudden change in the actual role of these organizations—their role has always been to propagandize the American public—but the mask is dropping even further.
In the 1930’s, American friend and ally Josef Stalin committed genocide in Ukraine and The New York Times and their reporter Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for covering it up, and they’re still trying to claim that this reporting was simply false rather than obviously malevolent. From their “denunciation” of Walter Duranty and his prize-winning reporting for the “Newspaper of Record”:
Duranty’s analyses relied on official sources as his primary source of information, accounting for the most significant flaw in his coverage – his consistent underestimation of Stalin’s brutality.
Duranty didn’t simply rely on official Soviet sources for his reporting, he was an unapologetic supporter and apologist of the Soviet regime. Quoting once again from the Times’s statement on Duranty and the Pulitzer Prize, Duranty wrote from on-the-ground in Ukraine: “Conditions are bad, but there is no famine” and “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Are those the words of a person simply being spoon-fed propaganda and blindly regurgitating it? No, those are the words of someone seeing brutality first-hand and making excuses for it. That the Times is still trying to pretend that this reporting was merely a mistake rather than propaganda is all we should need to know about them.
It’s clear that anything reported by these organizations cannot be trusted in terms of accuracy, and they cannot even be trusted to protect their sources should those sources provide information critical of the U.S. government (Unless of course those sources are high-ranking government officials leaking real or imagined information about Donald Trump). It’s tempting to point out at the Times’s and the Post’s dwindling readership and claim that journalism is a dying industry, but as they do not engage in journalism that would be incorrect; what’s actually dying is the industry that cosplays as journalists while acting as spokespeople for certain sectors of the U.S. government, and that’s something we should all be celebrating.