Steven Rattner (Image credit: Daphne Borowski/Financial Times photos/Flickr)
In statements made on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, former lead auto advisor to Obama, Steven Rattner, said that the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald “is not a journalist.”
Greenwald has been attacked many times in the media and elsewhere over his reporting on the information leaked by Edward Snowden, and there is a possibility that he might testify before the European Parliament on the issue.
The members of the panel on Monday’s Morning Joe were discussing how one might hide from the National Security Agency (NSA). Mika Brzezinski, the host of the show, stated that the story surrounding the NSA surveillance is not black-and-white, though she claims Greenwald believes it is.
“That’s exactly the point,” Rattner said. “First of all, Glenn Greenwald is not a journalist, he’s an activist portraying himself as a journalist.”
“That’s maybe another conversation than what we’re having,” he continued. “But you’re right, it’s not a black-and-white story.”
Philip Bump, writing for the Atlantic Wire, argues that, “The argument is ridiculous, of course. Even conservative Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tacitly acknowledges Greenwald is a journalist, if the media shield law he introduced with New York’s Chuck Schumer is any indicator.”
Of course, Graham is most likely no friend of Greenwald’s.
Bump ultimately argues that Greenwald should be treated as a journalist because “the best of journalism is about seeking reform.”
Indeed, as New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen stated:
Just reminding you that one of the things Pulitzer entries are encouraged to include is changes that followed after the facts were exposed.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) July 29, 2013
We’ve already seen a surprisingly successful, but ultimately failed, attempt to limit NSA surveillance in the House.
Furthermore, a recent Pew poll shows that 56 percent of Americans believe that federal courts do not provide adequate limits on the telephone and internet data collected by government.
Even more notable, however, is the fact that 70 percent of Americans believe that the government uses the data they collect for purposes other than investigating terrorism.
A whopping 63 percent believe that the government is also collecting what is being said in phone calls and emails, with only 18 percent believing the Obama administration’s claims that they’re only collecting metadata.
Perhaps most shocking of all, 27 percent of Americans believe that the government has either listened to or read their emails.
Still, 50 percent of Americans have a positive view of the program overall, though views on the government’s anti-terror policies in general have changed significantly over time.
As Jonathan Weisman reported on Sunday for the New York Times, while opposition to NSA surveillance was “on the political fringes only a week ago [it] has built a momentum that even critics say may be unstoppable, drawing support from Republican and Democratic leaders, attracting moderates in both parties and pulling in some of the most respected voices on national security in the House.”
If this shift can be even partially attributed to Greenwald’s reporting, Rattner’s case would be weak.
Bump pointedly notes, “Rattner may actually be unaware of what journalists do. Perhaps this blind spot is because the journalists he hangs out with work for Morning Joe.”
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