It's not often that liberals and conservatives can agree on something, but on Thursday night's "The Last Word" on MSNBC, host Lawrence O'Donnell agreed with us that Edward Snowden showed a very flimsy grip on reality in his "alternative Christmas message" that aired on Britain's Channel 4.
"So, here we have another Edward Snowden statement. And once again, Joy Reid, he says things, every time he speaks, every time, he will say things that are absurdly, wildly overblown." Let's stipulate that MSNBC is "leaning forward" for the Obama administration, and yet reality is reality:
O'DONNELL: He says that the government is, quote, these are his words -- "watching everything we do." That is, of course, impossible. No one is watching everything we do. That capacity doesn't exist. He then says, think what about this means for the privacy of the average person. In fact, for the privacy of the average person, that means absolutely nothing. NSA, these operations aren't interested in the average person.
And then he says kids growing up today will never know of what it means to have a private moment to themselves -- an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. This is so completely impossible. These -- his rhetorical descriptions of scenarios. The manpower, computer power does not exist on earth to analyze everyone's thoughts. Whether they are written or electronically conveyed or not.
And Joy, you know, Snowden lovers object to taking his words literally when he says these things and believes you should just kind of cheer him on. But I find it odd that every time he speaks he says provably untrue things like this.
Reid also laid into Snowden's "made-up horror stories" in his statement: "To say that this is worse than 1984 means you’ve never read 1984. There were no televisions from the government in our homes watching us. They haven't outlawed sex. Has anybody seen 'Wrecking Ball'? They haven't outlawed speaking against the government. Barack Obama, the president, is called everything but a child of God every day. No one is arrested. So, it is absurd because it is in his own mind."
O'Donnell told his other guest, Steve Clemons of The Atlantic, "I do find it odd that someone with his technical expertise has such rhetorical wildness to talk about the government watching everything we do. And those are his words. And that's just provably untrue."
He added that the debate Snowden provoked is "I think, undeniably important. I find it odd that his rhetoric is so wildly overblown because he doesn't need it. He doesn't need to say that the government is watching everything we do. There is enough outrage out there, about what we -- what we have already seen that we know the government is actually capable of doing. And yet, Joy, he continues to overstate it. It is the his rhetoric is just wildly out of control compared to information that is actually been revealed."
He claimed Snowden had one of his assertions right, which sort of conflicted with what he said above about "watching everything we do" being "completely impossible":
And one thing that Edward Snowden said that is absolutely true is that young people, kids -- my youngest, child is 14 of age, will not grow up knowing an unguarded sort of unwatched moment. That is true because every single company that you do business with, every site that you are surfing, Google, and good old Facebook, these companies are making incredible intrusions that people don't even know about into their privacy every single day. What's new here is that they`re also sharing them with the government under warrant. But people need new be concerned about those companies’ access as well.