Why shouldn’t David Gregory be charged with a crime?

The NBC host thinks Glenn Greenwald may be a criminal. Here are 10 items to ponder about this gross double standard

Topics: david gregory, NBC News, meet the press, Glenn Greenwald, Journalism, Media Criticism, perjury, U.S. Constitution, Edward Snowden, Associated Press, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, The New York Times, Kill Lists, Zero Dark Thirty, mark boal, Editor's Picks, James Clapper, Daniel Ellsberg, ,

Why shouldn't David Gregory be charged with a crime?NBC's David Gregory

Two weeks into the hullabaloo surrounding whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, one thing is clear: They did not just reveal potentially serious crimes perpetrated by the government — including possible perjury, unlawful spying and unconstitutional surveillance. They also laid bare in historic fashion the powerful double standards that now define most U.S. media coverage of the American government — the kind that portray those who challenge power as criminals, and those who worship it as heroes deserving legal immunity. Indeed, after “Meet the Press” host David Gregory’s instantly notorious performance yesterday, it is clear Snowden’s revelations so brazenly exposed these double standards that it will be difficult for the Washington press corps to ever successfully hide them again.

The best way to see these double standards is to ponder 10 simple questions.

1. During that “Meet the Press” discussion yesterday of Greenwald publishing stories about Snowden’s disclosures, Gregory asked Greenwald, “Why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Beyond the odiousness of a supposed journalist like Gregory seeming to endorse criminal charges against journalists for the alleged crime of committing journalism, there’s an even more poignant question suggested by Mother Jones’ David Corn: Why hasn’t David Gregory asked reporters at the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News the same question, considering their publication of similar leaks? Is it because Greenwald is seen as representing a form of journalism too adversarial toward the government, while those establishment outlets are still held in Good Standing by Washington?



2. Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation asks a question that probably won’t be asked of Gregory: Should Gregory himself be prosecuted? After all, as Trimm notes, “when interviewing Greenwald, he repeated what government officials told him about classified FISA opinions.” So will anyone of Gregory’s stature in Washington go on national television and ask if Gregory should now be charged with a crime?

3. Later during the “Meet the Press’” discussion of Greenwald’s reporting, NBC’s Chuck Todd demanded to know, “How much was (Greenwald) involved in the plot? … What was his role — did he have a role beyond simply being a receiver of this information? And is he going to have to answer those questions?” Why did Todd not ask that same question of reporters at the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News? Again, is it because Greenwald is seen as representing a form of journalism too adversarial toward the government, while those establishment outlets are still held in Good Standing by Washington?

4. A year ago, the New York Times’ Jo Becker and Scott Shane published a hagiographic article about President Obama’s so-called kill list. This article was based on selective — and potentially illegal — leaks of classified information by White House officials. Likewise, a recent draft inspector general report documented then-CIA Director Leon Panetta’s possibly illegal release of top secret information to filmmaker Mark Boal for his Obama-worshiping film, “Zero Dark Thirty.” Why haven’t Gregory or the Washington press asked whether the Becker, Shane and Boal “should be charged with a crime” for doing what Greenwald did by publishing that secret information?

5. In light of the Obama administration’s decision to prosecute Snowden and other whistle-blowers for leaking, why haven’t Gregory or other reporters asked the Obama administration whether similar prosecutions will soon be forthcoming against the leakers who were the sources of the New York Times “kill list” story and “Zero Dark Thirty”?

6. After an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” former Obama aide and corporate raider Steve Rattner took to Twitter and accused Snowden of being “a criminal, not a whistle-blower.” Such outraged accusations of criminality are more than a bit rich coming from a guy fined by the SEC and banned from the securities industry for pay-to-play crimes. But on top of that, there’s this question: Why didn’t Rattner accuse aforementioned Obama officials who similarly leaked classified info of being criminals, too?

7. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice prosecuted major league pitcher Roger Clemens of perjury before Congress. It was precisely the same kind of perjury that Snowden’s disclosures showed that National Intelligence head James Clapper and NSA chief Keith Alexander engaged in during their sworn testimony before Congress. Why haven’t Washington reporters bothered to ask the administration if it will prosecute Clapper and Alexander on the same charges that the administration aimed at Clemens?

8. On top of exposing Clapper and Alexander’s possible perjury, we also know that according to the New York Times, the NSA “intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress.” Additionally, we now know that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled that at least some of the NSA’s surveillance programs are illegal. In light of that, why do many media outlets still somehow portray the NSA surveillance programs as perfectly legal?

9. Snowden’s decision to flee the United States has often been depicted as an act of treason unto itself. The idea is that whereas Daniel Ellsberg was a hero for blowing the whistle and remaining in the United States, Snowden is a coward for blowing the whistle and fleeing. Left largely unmentioned is the big change between the time of Ellsberg’s disclosures and today: This White House is waging an unprecedented campaign to criminalize whistle-blowing; it sometimes tortures whistle-blowers; and it claims the right to extra-judicially assassinate American citizens who criticize the government but haven’t even been formally charged for a single crime. In light of this, why have most media outlets not bothered to even ask whether Snowden’s location outside the United States is, unto itself, a response to these troubling changes in U.S. government policy?

10. And finally, perhaps the most damning question of all: Why are so many media outlets far more interested in the minute details of Edward Snowden’s life and location than in the potential crimes against millions of Americans that he exposed?

David Sirota

David Sirota is a senior writer for the International Business Times and the best-selling author of the books "Hostile Takeover," "The Uprising" and "Back to Our Future." E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>