The Spectacle Blog

Destinations of Choice for Whistle Blowers

By on 6.10.13 | 3:56PM

From time to time for decades now, whistle blowers have divulged to the press information on what they perceive to be abuses of power by government agencies and officials. Generally they have made disclosures to leading media institutions, presumably because they trust the reporters to protect their identities and confidences, to play by whatever “off the record” rules are agreed upon.

Thus, during the Vietnam War, RAND Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg made secret disclosures of what came to be known as “The Pentagon Papers” to New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan.

Similarly, a confidential source for decades known only as “Deep Throat” provided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein information critical to their articles on the “Watergate” scandal.

Today, however, the giant scoop involving NSA data collection excesses belongs to American Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper, the Guardian.

Edward Snowden, the whistle blower who is already being targeted for prosecution (like Ellsberg before him), chose not to contact the New York Times or the Washington Post.

I wonder if that’s because those papers have demonstrated little interest in informing the public of the Obama administration’s willingness to intrude on individual liberty in pursuit of its political objectives. Perhaps Mr. Snowden believed he could not trust the Times or the Post to honor whatever confidentiality demands he might make, or to follow through on the story as he envisioned.

In any event, our “leading” mainstream media publications have been missing in action when it comes to informing the public about this administration’s misdeeds.

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