Roy Greenslade of The Guardian calls an anti-Edward Snowden article in the July 1 Washington Post a “surprising editorial” that indicates a difference of opinion between the Washington Post staff and its editorial board. The only thing that’s really “surprising” about the article is that it was so long in coming.
The article in question, “Plugging the leaks in the Edward Snowden case” was written by the Washington Post Editorial Board. According to their website, “Editorials represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the editorial board.”
The Washington Post editorial board feels that the first priority of the U.S. “should be to prevent Mr. Snowden from leaking information that harms efforts to fight terrorism and conduct legitimate intelligence operations. Documents published so far by news organizations have shed useful light on some NSA programs and raised questions that deserve debate, such as whether a government agency should build a database of Americans’ phone records. But Mr. Snowden is reported to have stolen many more documents, encrypted copies of which may have been given to allies such as the WikiLeaks organization.”
The article concludes by suggesting that the best solution would be for Edward Snowden to surrender to U.S. authorities and hope for a plea negotiation. “It’s hard to believe that the results would leave the 30-year-old contractor worse off than living in permanent exile in an unfree country. Sadly, the supposed friends of this naïve hacker are likely advising him otherwise.”
On the one hand, as Greenslade points out, it is surprising that the Washington Post would come out with an anti-Snowden editorial, given the fact that they’ve been right there in the mix with everyone else publishing Snowden’s leaks.
David Sirota of Salon.com, says what’s surprising about the editorial is how it’s “essentially railing on the Washington Post’s own source and own journalism,” and that it represents “the paper’s higher-ups issuing a jeremiad against their own news-generating source and, by extension, the reporters who helped bring his leak into the public sphere.”
On the other hand, the Washington Post article isn’t surprising at all. Under attack for it’s one-sided coverage of the 2008 election, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell ran an article titled, “An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage.”
After looking at the Post’s coverage over the previous year, Howell admitted: “The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts’ views. There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.”
In a follow-up article, Howell said, “I’ll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo.”
So, one can only imagine the terror the Washington Post’s editorial board’s been experiencing since their reporters started publishing Snowden’s information, tarnishing Obama’s public image. They’re no longer simply under the thumb of our tyrannical leader, now they’re on his radar and under his microscope as well.
Here’s hoping their most recent editorial is viewed as sufficient penance by the powers that be and all their reporters take the hint to get back into line and start brushing up on their goose-stepping.