Our Courtier Press

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

misdirectionWhile the NSA is, perhaps unconstitutionally, intercepting your electronic data, our media is focusing on whether Snowden should be charged with treason. One of reasons Snowden was charged with espionage is so the media would follow that meme. While James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, is getting away with lying to the Senate, our media is playing Where’s Waldo with Snowden. Instead of a debate on the constitutionality of the NSA programs out media is focusing on insignificant details regarding the private lives of Snowden and Greenwald.

One of the most outrageous performances of our lapdog press came on Meet The Press when host David Gregory asked Glenn Greenwald:

Final question for you…. To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

Snowden had passcodes, tank clearances, and thumb drives. To think that Greenwald could have possibly assisted Snowden in removing the classified data is pure fantasy. Nobody’s lapdog, Greenwald responded:

I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I’ve aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the e-mails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies, for working with sources.

In Bartnicki v. Vopper (2001), a 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a radio station was not liable since it did nothing illegal in obtaining an illegally taped conversation. In United States v. Stevens (2010), an 8-1 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Stevens’ selling of dog fight videos should not be added to the list of First Amendment restrictions. Although Senator Dianne Feinstein, in a feat of empty threat misdirection, wants Greenwald prosecuted, the law is not on her side.

As Noam Chomsky reminds us: distract the people by allowing very lively debate on a limited spectrum of issues. So the courtier press will focus on the illegality of Snowden’s actions and not discuss the legality of the NSA’s actions.

The courtier press is also focusing on how the Snowden affair will effect US-Russian and US-China relations. Playing the leads in this drama are Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Secretary of State John Kerry. Schumer’s line was: “Putin always seems almost eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States – whether it is Syria, Iran and now of course with Snowden,” Kerry’s line was “It would be obviously disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane.”

We the people need to know the full extent of our surveillance state to make an informed decision of acceptance or rejection. Is some unverifiable and vague spin about successful preventions enough for us to make a reasoned decision to forfeit our civil liberties? Does the FISA court constitute genuine judicial oversight? Should government agencies be required to obtain a warrant, based on probable cause, before searching a citizen’s phone and internet usage? Does the courtier press serve itself or the people?

H/T: David Sirota, Juan Cole, Erik Wemple, Charles P. Pierce, Alfredo Lopez, John Cassidy, Paul Campos, Orin Kerr.

93 thoughts on “Our Courtier Press”

  1. I am going to write something that may piss people off. It is not my intent to hurt anyone here.

    The administration and its press lackeys are engaging in propaganda because it works. I say this from personal experience in face to face interactions and my experience on this blog. I watched as people whom I believe to be genuinely good people took on all the characteristics of a mob when confronted with uncomfortable truths about Obama.

    People here were easily manipulated by the very thing Chomsky speaks about. For example, there were heated debates on “tea baggers” verses understanding what was really happening in our nation. Mike Appleton wrote an entire post on how tea baggers are a danger to our nation. This was at a time that the govt. itself was so clearly the biggest danger to the rule of law, to Americans and to other peoples of the world that it was difficult for me to fathom how he would even worry very much about “tea baggers”. I could have better understood writing that post if there had also been a real, deep and completely honest accounting of the danger this govt. poses to our society. Mike A. is one of the best writers/thinkers on this blog and I kept wondering why he would not address the crimes of the govt. I consider him to be a person who cares deeply about our nation and the rule of law. I have seen comments from him but not an in depth post on the abuses of the govt. (If I missed that post, I apologize.)

    Propaganda is aimed at and works on all sorts of people. Left wing, highly educated people have been some of the easiest marks for it under Obama. We are still subjected to incredibly sophisticated forms of mind manipulation by this govt. We must all help each other to understand how this works so when it comes at us from the “press” we will know exactly what they are trying to do and why/how they are doing it.

    These are people who know what they are doing and how to do it. I will take all the help I can get in undoing the BS coming my way. I feel I need that help. I wish to see what is going on so I have some chance of joining with others to make this a good society. I am sickened by what has happened. We have so many good people in our nation and I do not want all this harm in the world. People deserve good lives. The earth and its myriad creatures deserve to flourish. We can do this, maybe. I don’t know. It’s what I hope for.

    1. “I watched as people whom I believe to be genuinely good people took on all the characteristics of a mob when confronted with uncomfortable truths about Obama.”


      Don’t start this crap again. I knew exactly who I was voting for with Obama. Had he lost would things be any better, since Romney’s team were from PNAC?

  2. G.Mason 1, June 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Snowden is a TRUE PATRIOT.

    Think of it as such. What did he possibly gain? He has walked away from a lucrative career, a beautiful woman to live a life in fear.

    If he was a traitor he would have simply sold information to China and Russia.

    Another point, the information that he has passed on to us was already known by the Chinese, Russians and informed American people.

    Let’s continue to inform one another, because we can not stop them.

    History says they will destroy themselves, taking many of us with them.

    Then we rebuild, hopefully with a better structure this time.

  3. RTC:

    I don’t think the question was prescreened.

    It was an impertinent question, and was retorted with a quiet vitriole questioning the questioner’s status as a journalist.

    Both those q’s I believe were too strong to have been rehearsed.

  4. RTC, Interesting. and kudos to your brother-in-law and wife. I am a firm believer in real world info and experience. It is the real world where most of us reside. However, in watching the good HBO flick about Sara Palin, it was clear she was unfocused and didn’t want to do her homework. Her handlers were prepping her on questions TO EXPECT. And yes, the MSM is quite predictable. However, saying guest are given the questions would be the ultimate scandal and you are not even close to making me suspect of that occurring, much less convinced.

  5. Snowden is a TRUE PATRIOT.

    Think of it as such. What did he possibly gain? He has walked away from a lucrative career, a beautiful woman to live a life in fear.

    If he was a traitor he would have simply sold information to China and Russia.

    Another point, the information that he has passed on to us was already known by the Chinese, Russians and informed American people.
    The only ones who did not know this information were the American Media and the American people as a whole.

    He has merely turned the spot light on the cockroaches.

    The true traitors are those who work AGAINST the US Constitution. Undermine it. Weaken it. Destroying the Bill of Rights.

    Who is attacking the Constitution in spite of their oath to ‘uphold and defend it” ?

    That would be the NSA. Our Congress. Our President. They are actual TRAITORS.

    It is time to drive them out of our government and hold them accountable for their treason to the Constitution.

    It is time for a Revolution.

  6. Nick-

    My brother-in-law was a reporter for CNN and then an ABC affiliate in Texas, and his wife is a producer. His proudest moment came when he interviewed Reagan in the Oval Office. They both insist the media is controlled by liberals, although all their media friends are staunch, well-paid conservatives, so over the years I’ve read a number of books about the media in order to research holiday talking points. Mostly, I suppose I was looking for “buttons” to push.

    There was a good deal of discussion about this process in connection with Sarah Pallid’s disastrous meltdown interview with Katie Couric. Staff members have since revealed her refusal when they tried to prepare her for that interview.

  7. Greenwald’s new release will inform us that the military NSA can store a billion cell phone calls a day:

  8. RTC, What is your source for pre screened questions. I loathe the press but I doubt that is a regular occurrence. I can see someone like Hillary getting royal treatment, but only in “I don’t want this question,” not being given a list of questions.

  9. Nal, You usually lead off the weekend and you’re the perfect lead off hitter. Whether it’s lighthearted or serious, it gets us going every weekend. Of course, I’m a notorious, “ass kisser” so take it this kudo as you will.

    Glenn Greenwald has been part of my reading rotation for several years. I read ALL types of columnist, bloggers, etc. He’s more left than me, but I don’t allow that small potatoes stuff bother me. I look for honesty, integrity, intellectual honesty, etc. and he almost always cut the mustard. I was watching the Howdy Doody Show when Greenwald came back @ Howdy w/ both barrels. I literally stood up as if I were watching a sports game and yelled “Yes, sir!” My wife was reading the Sunday paper and I scared the shit out of the poor woman. Politics, journalism, hell even sports to a great degree has become sycophantic. But, it’s all on the fringes. Regular folks don’t believe pols, press, and have come to see professional sports is just biz w/o an ounce of loyalty.

  10. Yikes, sorry Mr. Drumm. I attributed this column to the Prof. by accident The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. BTW, I miss the tunes.

  11. Greenwald’s response to David Gregory’s question is interesting, but so is the question itself, and I’m not so sure it’s as Prof. Turley seeks to portray it. Gregory might have been functioning here like a criminal defense attorney who asks a defendant on the stand, “Did you kill the butler?”

    Usually, the questions for these interviews are prescreeened; in other words, NBC submits the schedule of questions it wants to ask and the interveiwee can strike any question they won’t answer. Often, the interviews are contingent on questions the subject would rather not answer – after all, there needs to be some fireworks, but if they don’t want to answer, they don’t get the interview, and with it, the opportunity for other necessary messaging so useful to one’s agenda or career. This kind of back and forth negotiation goes on all the time. As with the case of a criminal defendant, knowing a question is coming allows for a prepared response. Glen Greenwald is savvy enough to demand the question schedule up front in order to formulate his answers, and perhaps even suggested this question by mentioning Senator Feinstein’s remarks during the pre-interview process.

    I’m no fan of David Gregory, I have long viewed him as lazy, but he knows how to play the message game inside the Beltway; everyone has a message to spin and he is a facilitator. In asking why Greenwald shouldn’t be charged with a crime, he was essentially giving him the roundabout opportunity to respond to Sen. Feinstein, and control his message in a high profile public forum. I’m merely speculating that Gregory may have purposely given Greenwald the opening to remind everyone in the court of public opinion that journalists have a duty to perform in a free society.

  12. Great job David. It is amazing that the main stream media is trying as hard as they can to get the American people to “ignore the man behind the curtain”. I guess when one considers who controls the main stream median, it isn’t so amazing after all.

  13. Let’s hope that the Snowden case, as it will likely be at some date, reflects the highest in reasoned application of the Constitution by the Nine Justices sitting at that time. Surely it will be the cornerstone for the US going forward, perhaps a make or brake as to whether the focus on rights by the crafters (not mere drafters) of the Constitution is maintained, or we as a nation turn the corner to the chicken shit side control. There’s more, but I bet you get it.

  14. Great article, keep the message alive. Mike, great comment.

    Remember all this in November 2014. Do not vote for a sitting Congressman/Senator that has voted to take your rights away. Give a third or fourth party a chance. Can they do worse?

  15. First of all, this is a very good topic and the article is well written. The theme courier press is perfect. I do have issues with reference to “lapdog press”. Feinstein is off with huspandpoo buying up closed U.S., Post Offices. Al Franken went South. No one in the Congress is speaking out about our privacy. Our privacy rights have constitutional grounding in several provisions of the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment right of privacy is just one provision that can be involved. But we are not talking about abortion here. We are living with a government that reads your emails and other computer transgressions. Obama is in the Horn of Africa and the media is weenie as can be. The future for liberty will rest on computer blogs. The media is all owned by Rupert Murdoch and his type. Our right to get together here on the blog is grounded on the right to assemble prong. Our right to speak freely is based on the free speech clause. Our right to petition our government for redress of grievances is grounded on that prong of the First Amendment. What we have here is similar to the round up of the American citizens who were of Japanese descent back in 1941. Each of us has standing to sue the government actors who are stealing our rights to free speech et al and right of privacy. The ACLU case in the SD of NY is well composed but they omit the 5th Amendment and the 9th. The one in DC district court seeks damages and will get a jury. We should report in on legal developments daily. In the ACLU suit they are suing as an organization which has been violated. They use Verizon. The dogpac is thinking of litigation in the international Court. Take it to Den Haag. Nuremberg revisited. Whitney Harris is up their in heaven rooting us on. Snowden ought to get to Den Haag and seek refuge in the International Court.

  16. David,

    Thank you for this important piece. “Courtier Press” is a perfect appellation for those who speak for and control our Nation’s news media. They are “courtiers” to the new “American Nobility” which consists of the most wealthy among us. They are as one with our “Courtier Congress”, “Courtier Presidency and of course “Courtier Supreme Court”. One has only to watch the Washington Press Corps dinner to understand this. The G.W. Bush bit where he was pretending to look for weapons of mass destruction, under tables and chairs, was greeted with uproarious laughter by all present. That many had died because of the lies about weapons of mass destruction justifying the Iraq invasion, was immaterial to the people there, when outrage should have been the reaction. For people like Gregory, Friedman and their ilk disgust is the only emotion the rest of us should feel.

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