How radical is Hollywood? There are two competing movie projects sure to lionize Edward Snowden betraying America’s secrets. Naturally, one of them is helmed by Oliver Stone, who bows to no one in casting America as a global supervillain. See his Untold History of the United States bilge on Showtime.
"This is one of the greatest stories of our time," said the leftist director. "A real challenge." Stone has repeatedly called Snowden a "hero" and slammed President Obama as a "disgrace" for his "Bush-style eavesdropping techniques." A rival Snowden movie based on Glenn Greenwald's Snowden book No Place to Hide is also in the works from Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond movies. Alongside the Brian Williams softball special on NBC, there’s a “Snowden business” emerging:
Even critic Alessandra Stanley at The New York Times criticized NBC anchor Brian Williams for his servile interview with massive-leaker Edward Snowden in Russia.
“I miss Barbara Walters already,” she wrote, as if Barbara was the epitome of hardball interviews. “Brian Williams of NBC News did a good job of letting Edward J. Snowden say what he wanted to say. Someone a little nosier would surely have pressed the exiled National Security Agency leaker on what he held back.” Such as:
During his lengthy interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams found time to ask if the wanted fugitive was an Obama supporter: "Did you vote for President Obama?" After Snowden refused to answer, Williams worried: "Did he disappoint you?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snowden replied: "...whether or not I voted for President Obama, I was inspired by him. He gave me courage, he gave me hope. I really believed that he would be a positive force for the country. And I still hope he will be." Williams added: "You, however, looked at it, you were hoping he would reverse some of the Bush policies. You were quoted as saying you were disappointed that he did not." Snowden noted: "Well, he said he would."
During a live webcast on NBCNews.com immediately following Wednesday's 10 p.m. ET airing of his interview with Edward Snowden, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams wondered why the National Security Agency was not more receptive to Snowden's claims of unconstitutional spying: "Knowing that in war powers times...the Bush administration use of war powers with Bush and Cheney, isn't the general counsel at the NSA a little bit on guard for a perversion, as Snowden put it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That question was prompted by national security analyst Michael Leiter observing: "Imagine you're the general counsel at the National Security Agency and you get an email which says, 'Listen, I think that you're violating the law here, this is unconstitutional.' And the general counsel gets this note and he says, 'Well, gosh, the Congress has authorized this over and over, the FISA court says it's okay.'"
After news broke on Thursday that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams landed an exclusive interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the network began running promos wondering whether Snowden was a "traitor" or a "patriot." First a clip played of Williams observing: "A lot of people would say you have badly damaged your country." A second clip of the exchange feature Williams asking Snowden: "Have you performed, as you see it, a public service?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
With his book entitled No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State set for release on Tuesday, the GQ website posted an extensive interview with radical-left reporter Glenn Greenwald in which he covers a wide range of topics, ranging from his continuing friendship with Snowden to his strong distaste for the presumptive Democratic candidate in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
Hillary Clinton is “banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion,” he told interviewer Michael Paterniti in a move that is bound to diminish his stature among liberal Democrats. However, Greenwald admitted, the "f**king hawk" is going to be the ﬁrst female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy.”
In the textbooks, journalists are supposed to be watchdogs of government – not just government of one party, but both parties. If Edward Snowden’s massive leaks on government surveillance programs (approved by presidents of both parties) win a Pulitzer Prize for “Public Service,” why isn’t exposing President Obama’s scandals like Benghazi and IRS harassment hailed as a public service?
This isn’t just an issue for liberal judges of the Pulitzers and other journalism prizes, but for CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, who on Easter Sunday grilled Sharyl Attkisson about her alleged failures and "conservative bias," and then turned around and treated Pulitzer-winning Glenn Greenwald like he was God’s gift to journalism. David Gregory was "infamous" for challenging his propriety:
On Monday, The New York Times defined as “news” a hard-left award to Edward Snowden. The headline was “Snowden to Receive Truth-Telling Prize.” There was no leftist label as they explained the award came from The Nation magazine’s Nation Institute.
"It's the latest honor for the reporting based on the top-secret material leaked by Mr. Snowden, who was a contractor for the National Security Agency,” Noam Cohen wrote. “While the public and Congress debate whether Mr. Snowden should be considered a hero, a criminal or both, journalism and public policy organizations have heaped praise on the reporting based on the disclosures.”
Leftists and libertarians who join them in their “national security state” rhetoric love Edward Snowden for leaking thousands of classified documents to leftist journalist Glenn Greenwald and to The Washington Post, exposing and compromising U.S. surveillance programs.
On Monday night, the public radio show “The World” – distributed to NPR stations across America by Minneapolis-based Public Radio International – oozed online that Snowden was “bigger than a rock star” in his appearance at an ACLU event at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. That same line was announced by anchorman Marco Werman:
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have so far punted on reporting the strong critique of the Obama administration's "disturbing retreat from democratic practices" with regard to the freedom of the press, according to Reporters Without Borders. The U.S. fell 13 places in the international group's annual "World Press Freedom Index" for the federal government's "increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks."
The organization spotlighted the controversial leaks from Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden as examples, but also included the Department of Justice's seizure of the Associated Press' phone records as a "reminder of the urgent need for a 'shield law' to protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources at the federal level." Fox News' Shannon Bream devoted a brief to the Reporters Without Borders report on Wednesday's Special Report: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
What was the best way for NBC to begin that network's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Have sports anchor Bob Costas host a brief profile on Vladmir Putin in which the Russian president is hailed as a global statesman superior to U.S. president Barack Obama. '
During a video portion of the profile, Costas said that Putin is an accomplished peacemaker, crediting him with preventing an American airstrike on Syria and coaxing the Iranian government to the nuclear negotiating table.
A few weeks ago, PBS host Tavis Smiley got in some hot water for comments he made about Edward Snowden. On January 19, Smiley appeared as a guest on ABC’s This Week w/ George Stephanopoulos and argued that, “Edward Snowden might be on a postage stamp somewhere down the road.”
Despite the controversy surrounding Smiley’s extreme comments, the PBS host took to his nightly program on February 4th to double down and argue that someday Snowden would be viewed not as a traitor but rather an “American hero.” [See video below.]