Greenwald Slams Media for Backing Obama's Domestic Surveillance When They Opposed Bush's

June 16th, 2013 4:36 PM

As NewsBusters has been reporting, it's been a hoot this week watching the same liberal media members that were apoplectic in 2005 when George W. Bush's domestic surveillance program was revealed contort themselves into almost impossible positions defending Barack Obama's far more intrusive scheme seven and a half years later.

Glenn Greenwald, the liberal author who first broke the news of this program, spoke to Howard Kurtz on CNN's Reliable Sources about this blatant hypocrisy (video follows with transcript and commentary):

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: I want to turn to something else you've written this week, actually it's an interview you gave to the Web site "Business Insider" where you were critical of the media and the way -- or some in the media and the way they have handled this. You write about liberal columnists.

Quote, "I'm not surprised at their reaction. I've been amazed and disappointed for a long time at how the most slavishly partisan media Democrats who pretended to care so much about these issues when doing so helped undermine George Bush are now the loudest apologists and cheerleaders for these same very policies."

But why is it an example of hypocrisy if someone criticizes what Edward Snowden did? He acknowledges that he broke the law in doing these leaks without -- and at the same time have some ambivalence about the surveillance programs.

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, remember, Howard, I first started writing about politics in late 2005. I focused almost exclusively for the first year on the NSA scandal back then, which was revealed by "The New York Times" a year late, but better late than never, that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on Americans without the warrants required by law.

And the way that I developed a platform was because almost every progressive liberal, Democratic blogger, media outlet, person with a platform would promote the work I was doing. I was using my expertise as a constitutional lawyer and my interest in these issues. And they were all cheering for the condemnations that I was issuing.

There were all kinds of controversies back then the same as now. Alberto Gonzalez threatened to prosecute "The New York Times" for publishing that story. There were calls for the source that turned out to be Thomas Ham (ph), a midlevel Justice Department lawyer, to be prosecuted.

Uniformly, I bet you cannot go back and find a single liberal, progressive or Democratic pundit back then taking Alberto Gonzalez' side or condemning the source who blew the whistle on that program.

KURTZ: And now you think they have flipped?

GREENWALD: They have completely switched gears.


GREENWALD: Yes, you can even look at polling data. Overwhelmingly, Democrats opposed NSA surveillance programs back in 2006 and overwhelmingly they now favor them because it's a Democrat in power who's doing it rather than a Republican.


I wish Greenwald or Kurtz would have mentioned that the New York Times reporters - Eric Lichtblau and James Risen - who broke the 2005 warrantless wiretap story both received Pulitzer prizes for doing so.

Given the liberal media's reaction to Greenwald's revelations, it seems a metaphysical certitude he won't be winning any awards.

Makes you wonder how any of these folks can look at themselves in the mirror and how anyone on the planet can still think America's media aren't shamefully in the tank for the Democratic Party.