Monday, August 19, 2013

When The Goalposts Get Too Constricting -- UPDATE



Just move 'em!

Now that a non-journalist in their employ has apparently been caught couriering stolen, classified national security documents across Europe, the Guardian has quickly moved to redefine the parameters of who gets journalist protection from "journalist" to "anybody".
[David] Miranda's professional status – much hand-wringing about whether or not he's a proper "journalist – is largely irrelevant in these circumstances. Increasingly, the question about who deserves protection should be less "is this a journalist?" than "is the publication of this material in the public interest?"
As I have written before, I have no problem with the parameters for journalism being set to "a pulse, a blog and a POV" as long as we all understand that means everyone from Jeff Gannon to the Weekly World News to Jennifer Rubin to Ann Coulter is now in the club.


However, before we officially sign off abolishing the distinct category of "journalist" altogether in favor of investing the power to decide who gets to legally handle illegally procured secrets directly into the hands of individual media corporations based on their individual definitions of "public interest", perhaps we should pause for just a moment to consider how that exciting new professional standard will be received by Rupert Murdoch and his merry band of phone hackers.

UPDATE:

David Sirota -- who invokes "Obama is History's Greatest Villain!" only slightly less often than 


Walter Sobchak  invoked "Vietnam!"  -- would like you to know (once you are done digesting his screechy headline,)

This cowardly silence is an act of war

that David Miranda is a journalist dammit! 
So, to review: A U.S. media outlet, Guardian America, paid for Miranda’s travel, meaning he was clearly working in some sort of a journalistic capacity — specifically, he was assisting the reporting of Greenwald and Laura Poitras (though even if he wasn’t, would such harsh treatment be any more defensible?)
Which is great and all, except for the fact that Mr. Miranda's partner and the principle reporter of the NSA story -- Glenn Greenwald -- has explicitly and clearly said exactly the opposite:
“This is obviously a serious, radical escalation of what they are doing. He is my partner. He is not even a journalist.”
As I have said before, the only real currency journalists have is credibility.  

And once you piss it away by repeatedly omitting or exaggerating or lying about key elements of a story because they don't fit into your ideological frame, you cannot expect people other than your fan boys to take what you say at face value.

So for the sake of the real and consequential story underneath all the egos and drama, would somebody please get these people a brace of decent, hard-nosed editors!

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Note that the argument for wondering how the opposition might take advantage of the new standard is exactly Greenwald's--with which I disagree--for opposing C.U.N.T., er, Citizens United.

Do you understand what whistleblowing is about? If so, then you'd understand what its abuse would entail. And so if Coulter produced analysis--not likely, but stay with me--based on reams of stupidly classified cover-up of generic government waste and overreaching, you'd be worried? Disappointed?

Anonymous said...

You're upset

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess we should give you a cookie for not calling for a drone strike on Greenwald. Wise up though. Your snark doesn't compute.

Lumpy Lang said...

"Now that a non-journalist in their employ has apparently been caught couriering stolen, classified national security documents across Europe..."

How does Droneglass know the content of the materials confiscated by the British authorities from Miranda? Did he obtain that information with proper NSA approvals?

If not, his supporters don't WANT to know this!!!

Defense of Our National Security requires that Droneglass terminate this blog and turn himself in at once!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Calm down, Lumpifer. Perhaps you should take up knitting. Blogs seem to upset you, as do people who disagree with you.

As has been said, and ignored, many times before (sometimes on this very blog!), calling people insulting names condescendingly is not a very effective way to convince people of your point of view.

gratuitous said...

Hmmm, so a guy just happens to be passing through Heathrow, is detained for the full nine hours allowed under the law as a terrorist, has his property confiscated, and it's the merest coincidence that he's the partner of a mortal enemy of the security apparatus?

Yep, nothing to see here except a bunch of goalpost-moving, hyperventilating, grandstanding poopyhead bitching by a publicity whore.

Lumpy Lang said...

The liberal pro-NSA contortions on display here increasingly remind me of a button I saw people wearing back in the 80s.

"Help the Police - Beat Yourself Up!"

But Droneglass' yearning for blissful ignorance is creepy rather than funny.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the part where he happened to be illegally carrying classified information, gratuitous.

I know your griping doesn't hold up if you admit that, but try to be slightly honest.

-- Nonny Mouse

Lumpy Lang said...

"Don't forget the part where he happened to be illegally carrying classified information"

The stated purpose of th[e] law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used "to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."

Miranda was detained under the "Terrorism Act" not the "journalism act" - but I guess that oh-so subtle distinction is already lost on the Droneglass crowd.

mahakal said...

How does it actually matter whether Miranda has status as a journalist while carrying files for journalists when the GCHQ is going straight into the Guardian's basement for some smashy smashy?

And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Seems that even being a journalismy sort of journal doesn't offer much protection. Good thing those Chinese agents didn't capture him.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of missing subtle distinctions, here comes Lumpy.

That they caught Miranda breaking the law more than adequately puts the kibosh on Glenn's assertion that they're just fucking with him.

The UK didn't need the Terrorism act to search Miranda and confiscate stolen goods. They used (and arguably abused) that act in holding him for 9 hours.

Try harder, Lumpy. If you scream loud enough, the world may start to resemble your fever dreams.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I think you need to try changing the subject some more, Mahakal, rather than talking about legality of stopping a mule in an airport.

-- Nonny Mouse

Nick D said...

It's not what he was or wasn't carrying or what his journalism status is. It was that they used a terrorism statute to detain him. Whatever he is, Miranda is not a terrorist.

mahakal said...

Nonny Mouse, if he were a criminal, they would have arrested him. They did not arrest him. He was not a criminal. Thank you for playing.

Anonymous said...

Nick D,

An excellent argument against the UK terror laws. They are too expansive and this episode makes it crystal clear how they can/will be used to harass dissidents.

However...

Miranda's journalism status and what he was or wasn't carrying is very relevant to Greenwald's assertion that Miranda's detention was solely for the purpose of intimidation. If the authorities had cause to suspect Miranda and those suspicions were borne out, then Greenwald is being dishonest - yet again.

I hope you understand why this is an important distinction.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Mahakal, if he was doing what Glenn Greenwald himself claimed he was doing, then Miranda was not stopped for arbitrary reasons. This is not hard shit to understand.

Go back to the mothership to get better talking points.

-- Nonny Mouse

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Go back to the mothership to get better talking points.

LOL.

NM. the talking points are that:

!. Obama sucks.
2. Since GG also thinks Obama sux, than everything GG does is sanctified.
3. Therefore, everything GG does must be defended and excused.

y favorite example of this is the recent attempt to handwave the assholery of sending your partner out to do the dirty work you are unwilling to do, knowing full well it was exposing him to detention and possible arrest; and eventually magically excusing it by saying "he wasn't arrested, therefore he wasn't doing anything illegal".

It's really a lovely train of illogic.

Lumpy Lang said...

Liberals cried foul when it was Bush - but because Obama's doing it, they (or at least a good number of them) are cheering?

Could never quite bring myself to believe that might be all there is to it!

But these people have finally convinced me.

They....really... are... that... stupid.

Pinkamena Panic said...

I tire of our "friend" the racist Greenrube liar. I suggest we ignore him and his constant lies and libels. That he tops himself in trafficking the zombie lie (no offense zrm) of "well if Bush had done this-" should settle the matter.

Lumpy Lang said...

"So for the sake of the real and consequential story underneath all the egos and drama, would somebody please get these people a brace of decent, hard-nosed editors!"

Yaaaa... And until this Greenwald fellow gets his fucking ducks in a row, he and his associates should ALL be dealt with under the "Terrorism Act"! Right Droneglass?

Anonymous said...

Ah, don't lie, Lumpy. You aren't convinced by anything that doesn't get beamed into your metal fillings.

And we're not cheering on Obama, we're questioning the distortions of some of his critics. I know this does not compute in 110% outrage land, but do try to stretch yourself.

-- Nonny Mouse

Lumpy Lang said...

And if one day the jackboots (god forbid) detain Bluegal under a terrorism statute at some distant airport, I should hope Droneglass will conduct himself with the same flawless journalistic detachment he demands of Greenwald,

marindenver said...

"And if one day the jackboots (god forbid) detain Bluegal under a terrorism statute at some distant airport, I should hope Droneglass will conduct himself with the same flawless journalistic detachment he demands of Greenwald."

I guess it depends on if Blue Gal is actually an innocent tourist passing through that airport or if Driftglass had sent her out to mule stolen classified documents from one party to another. In what kinda, sorta looks like a setup intended to result in exactly what happened. Thus creating additional opportunities for GG and his disciples to rail against The Man.

mahakal said...

The Nonny Mouse: Go back to the mothership to get better talking points.

Another very telling comment from someone who might as well be a professional sock puppet.

This "talking points" tell then gets picked up by Zombie Liar McDonald and turned into a bigger lie, and handed back for more sock puppetry. Very pro work, you guys.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

And if one day the jackboots (god forbid) detain Bluegal under a terrorism statute at some distant airport,

what a peculiar performance.

As I mentioned jokingly, I suspect DG has more class than to use his spouse as a pawn in a self-aggrandizing morality farce.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Another very telling comment from someone who might as well be a professional sock puppet.

This "talking points" tell then gets picked up by Zombie Liar McDonald and turned into a bigger lie, and handed back for more sock puppetry.


well, I guess calling names is actually easier than constructing arguments.

I would rebut your points, but...you didn't make any.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you talk about why my comments are so telling then Mahakal. Let's see how batshit your accusations sound when you try to articulate them.

Zombie and I are the same person? Noooo.

Didn't you already try this dodge once? Trying to change the topic to baseless matters of posting etiquette rather than actually rebutting anything.

Oh well, run to any bolthole when called out on your circular logic. Suit yourself.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

I would not expect that the Zombie Liar and the Nonny Mouse are the same person. A professional sock puppet is someone who works for an employer using a false identity to influence blogs and social media.

There is a very good case to be made that military contractors monitor this and other notable blogs. In the case of conversing with these and certain other characters here, there is an attack on anything resembling the truth (and mockery of the same) along with advocacy of positions and citing of "mil-bloggers" as authorities. It is very telling, I think.

But in any case, it is like trying to have a discussion on Blackfive's comment section. However honest and liberal Driftglass may be, the comment section is right wing sock puppet theater.

mahakal said...

Quoting from the article linked above:

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

Lumpy Lang said...

"an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world."

On the other hand, so many millions of people are now directly or indirectly dependent on the military/prison/industrial complex in general for employment. Add to that the dramatic decline of domestic industry and you have a material base for the liberal police-state mindset so fulsomely represented on these threads.

As Upton Sinclair said: "It is very difficult to explain something to a man, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

As I've said, I have been consistent in my use of this nym for several years, across many blogs both as author and as commenter. The opinions and comments I make are my own.

I am not 'indirectly or directly' dependent on the MPIC unless in your ideological purity you consider ANY job to be part of the Malefactors Of Great Wealth, in which case, how the hell are YOU making a living?

I am a self-employed professional.

So all of your suppositions and name calling are incorrect. They stop short of lying, though, because there is no way you could reasonably have known these things.

However, your frantic hand-waving and scrambling to discredit anybody who doesn't find ideological condescension or undiscerning credulous belief to be concerning, is also very telling.

Lumpy Lang said...

Political opinions mark broader social/economic forces, moods and interests - even when the individuals expressing them are unconscious of it. (Droneglass, for example, clearly isn't cashing in for expounding views on the surveillance state similar to those of Bob Schieffer et al. So much the worse for him!)

Ultimately, the underlying economic and social conditions, terminal decline, putrefaction of U.S. capitalism, are decisive.

No need to wax nostalgic about decades past to see that a qualitative change has taken place in bourgeois ideology. The ruling class has abandoned its former self-identification with the democratic values of Enlightenment Rationalism - or even plain old Yankee common sense - in favor of magical thinking and racist authoritarianism/militarism.

The decay is clinically displayed by many of the comments here, even if not one of the posters is a private owner of the means of prodcution or hireling of the security services.

The fish stinks from the head.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I second what Zombie says.

Just more flailing around from you, Mahakal. Anything to avoid admitting that thinking human beings might see these issues differently than you.

You are appalled that I might consult inactive military people to understand the rigors of military life? It is very revealing as you like to hint darkly. What is it about you that makes you afraid to confront conflicting information? Are you so insecure in your own beliefs that you can't handle having them challenged?

No matter -- it is quite obvious what you're up to. I understand that you would like nothing more than to be able to dismiss Zombie and I as agent provocateurs or right-wing trolls. This would free you from the burden of having to engage with conflicting viewpoints.

Tough shit -- that Zombie and I happen to agree about you Glennwaldoes is a happy accident, not design.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

LOL Lumpy.

I actually really like how you guys are getting so high-minded and theoretical with your insults now (Caramelo Clandestine beat you to it, mind you).

I have an alternate observation and it is really quite simple.

A bunch of angry people come onto a blog to argue about something that they really care about. Upon encountering people who don't see things the exactly same as them, or maybe have a few other issues they also care about, the *first resort* of these angry people is to spew personal insults about the character and motives of anyone not on their side. As time goes on, the angry people invent bigger, more creative, more paranoid theories as to why those damned "other" people don't agree with them because naturally it cannot be admitted that they have logical reasons.

All very odd, because it is quite clear that one need not discredit every opposing viewpoint in order to defend the central thesis of their cause; that the security state is out of control, the validity of citizen activism/disobedience, etc. you know, that stuff. But if they admit that their foes have even an iota of a reason for having the viewpoints they do, then the angry people's over the top intolerance starts to look unjustified. Thus, the angry people bend all of their efforts to defending not their cause but their extremism and conceding anything is unthinkable.

I can see why you trolls play this game. It is fun.

So by all means, keep lamenting the decline of these comment threads while continuing your nigh unbroken attempts to impugn the motives and character of anyone with home you disagree. Reading your cut rate attempts at spin is also fun.

-- Nonny Mouse

Lumpy Lang said...

Motives and character don't interest me. That the bulk of the 'left' today competes with conservatives in grovelling at the feet of Moloch is a sad demonstration of the points made above.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

However, your frantic hand-waving and scrambling to discredit anybody who doesn't find ideological condescension or undiscerning credulous belief to be concerning, is also very telling.

That word should have been "convincing", not "concerning"

even commenters need an editor sometimes.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

So, to review: A U.S. media outlet, Guardian America, paid for Miranda’s travel, meaning he was clearly working in some sort of a journalistic capacity

By this logic, the guy who delivers lunch to the Guardian is also a journalist.

As is the guy who drives the bus that brings some of the employees to the office.

Anonymous said...

Then you are saying one thing and doing the opposite, Lumpy, because you and yours spent most of your time speculating about the motives and character of people who disagree with you.

-- Nonny Mouse

Lumpy Lang said...

"...spent most of your time speculating about the motives and character of people who disagree with you"

The assorted liberal Zimmermans 'patroling' this blog interest me only as specimens - not individuals.

Fortunately they are politically unarmed.

Anonymous said...

That was already pretty obvious, Lumpy, though it is gratifying to see you admit that you have no purpose here but to shriek insults at people.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I am horribly disappointed in DG, this is an incredible low for him.

Isn't anyone who carries a copy of the Guardian equally as guilty as Miranda?

Snowden is the leaker. Yet DG really thinks it's okay to lock up (without charge) a man who may be carrying data that has already been leaked by Snowden, and which the Russians and Chinese are already privy to?

I had been feeling guilty about not contributing to DG-BG, but no longer.

If the roles were reversed, and Blue Gal were being held for nine hours without charge in a foreign country without an interpreter, would DG see the same side?

Whatever, DG's not getting any donations from me until he walks this one back. The notion that you can be any kind of liberal while claiming that the no-charges detention of Miranda is OK just because you hate Miranda's husband genuinely sickens me.

They didn't even charge him with any crime, but DG supports the detention anyway. Horrible, and frankly it lends great weight to Greenwald's side of the debate.

Tell me, under the Bush presidency, what instances of no-charges, unexplained detentions of dissidents (or lovers of dissidents) did Driftglass openly support? Did DG openly support the outing of Valerie Plame?

He's making Greenwald's point for him. This is behaviour that DG would never have supported under Bush (I'm open to correction on this if you can cite an example).