New revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs have divided members of Congress and of the media apart from the normal partisan split.
One person that isn’t surprised about the lack of Democrats and liberals in the media challenging the Obama administration, however, is the man who has broken multiple stories based off leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Greenwald told Business Insider late Tuesday night that he thinks some left-leaning members of the media — such as Time magazine’s Joe Klein and The New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin — have shifted stances on surveillance and civil liberties for “principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic” reasons.
“I’m not surprised,” Greenwald said in an email. “I’ve been amazed and disappointed for a long time at how the most slavishly partisan media Democrats who pretended to care so much about these issues when doing so helped undermine George Bush are now the loudest apologists and cheerleaders for these very same policies.
“If they started a club called Liberal Pundits to Defend the National Security State, no auditorium in the country would be large enough to accommodate them.
“To call them principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic is to be overly generous.”
Greenwald has a long history of reporting on issues relating to privacy and surveillance, and he has been especially critical of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Last week, he said the U.S. wants to “destroy privacy and anonymity” around the world.
The depth of the unusual media divide on the NSA story has been illuminated most clearly with Greenwald, who was a constant critic of the Bush administration. This time, liberal critics have heaped more scrutiny on him.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell challenged Greenwald on Monday night. And before that, “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski and Greenwald got into a testy exchange over the legality of the Obama administration’s actions. At one point, Greenwald accused her of reading “White House talking points.”
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