The Day After The Snowden Interview
Like many Americans, I watched the NBC hourlong show about Brian Williams‘ interview of Edward J. Snowden from last week in Moscow with great intrigue. For almost a year now, we’ve heard him being defined by others (In public relations and political campaigns that’s something you never want to let happen) but last night’s interview basically amounted to this–he handed President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the NSA, White House officials and members of Congress who have tried to characterize him in whatever bad ways they could their asses.
I remember years go listening to Rush Limbaugh and him talking about the shock that Ross Perot had from doing a network interview and thinking it was going to be fair going and coming out on the other side with Perot’s ass being handed to him. Before watching last night, I wondered if the same thing wasn’t about to happen to 30-year-old Snowden.
Remarkably, however, he got almost an hour of prime time to say what he wanted to say, and calmly, collectively, dissecting what’s been said about him and then launching an all out offensive attack on those who have sought to demonize him. And you could tell, what he said affected Brian Williams and the confidence of Snowden in the interview I have no doubt affected how NBC portrayed it last night. In other words, Snowden gave them little opportunity to tear him down with what he said. He was holding court and all the cards.
I saw the huff and puff interview that Secretary of State Kerry gave about how Kerry should come home and “face the music.” NBC chief political reporter Chuck Todd said he was “Angry.” If you think about it, it plays like President Bennett, played by Donald Mofatt in Tom Clancy‘s movie Clear and Present Danger telling Jack Ryan “How dare you come into this office and bark at me like some little junkyard dog? I am the President of the United States!” Mr. Kerry’s comments almost sounded the same way, same voice, same words. Except to me, if Mr. Kerry is angry, he needs to step up the intensity of it.
The Problem In Deciding Who Is Right
Here’s where I’m presently with all of this.
The government says that Snowden has jeopardized all sorts of assets, systems and people because of what he’s done. Yet Catch 22 says they can’t say exactly what because it’d further compromise national security, but then again, would it? We just don’t know. We can’t know.
Snowden says the government can do things like turn your phone on when it’s off and listen to and watch what you’re doing thru the microphone and camera on it. But he hasn’t cited any examples, (at least none have been released) that they’re actually doing that on any regular basis to random citizens. There are accounts where the FBI has done this in drug and conspiracy cases, but that’s different than saying they can do it to anyone. If I own a gun I can shoot someone with it, too. That doesn’t mean that’s what I’m doing with it day in and day out.
Response In Washington
I noticed that The New York Times buried the story about Williams and Snowden way down on their front web page today. CNN is back to MH 370. The Washington Post has a photo of Snowden and Williams and a story, but it’s not lead. The LA Times is worried about greenhouse omissions. The Dallas Morning News‘ website’s top story today is a column and a story about when a man should pay when going on a date.
So either the White House has launched a highly successful suppression campaign, other networks don’t want to hype what happened on NBC and not their air, or the Snowden story isn’t that important.
And that’s a shame because this is something that has an impact on all of us. And we all know Washington politicians aren’t going to do a darned thing unless their phones start ringing.
The other thing I was glad about last night is that the focus didn’t get to be about Glenn Greenwald and just his book. Can you imagine how he must feel, ego aside, he flew again all the way to Moscow to be on TV for 20-30 seconds, maybe a minute. That’s not a great use of time to be running around selling his book….