The Sunday Times' Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst - and Filled with Falsehoods

Greenwalk, Glenn
http://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/14/sunday-times-report-snowden-files-journalism-worst-also-filled-falsehoods/

Publisher:  the Intercept
Date Written:  14/06/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX17580

Western journalists claim that the big lesson they learned from their key role in selling the Iraq War to the public is that it's hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they've learned no such lesson. That tactic continues to be the staple of how major U.S. and British media outlets "report," especially in the national security area.

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

Iraq War to the public is that it's hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they've learned no such lesson. That tactic continues to be the staple of how major U.S. and British media outlets "report," especially in the national security area. And journalists who read such reports continue to treat self-serving decrees by unnamed, unseen officials -- laundered through their media -- as gospel, no matter how dubious are the claims or factually false is the reporting.

...

By definition, authoritarians reflexively believe official claims -- no matter how dubious or obviously self-serving, even when made while hiding behind anonymity- because that’s how their submission functions. Journalists who practice this sort of primitive reporting -- I uncritically print what government officials tell me, and give them anonymity so they have no accountability for any of it -- do so out of a similar authoritarianism, or uber-nationalism, or laziness, or careerism. Whatever the motives, the results are the same: government officials know they can propagandize the public at any time because subservient journalists will give them anonymity to do so and will uncritically disseminate and accept their claims.

At this point, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that journalists want it this way. It’s impossible that they don’t know better.

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