There has been a lot of important news in America lost amid all the nonsense that’s passing for Presidential election coverage. One small trend that has gone mostly unnoticed is that Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information about illegal U.S. government surveillance programs, is getting more and more support.
A man who was once vilified by so many is suddenly seriously being considered for a pardon by President Obama. According to this fascinating NYT Magazine article about Snowden and the new Oliver Stone movie about him, “former Attorney General Eric Holder, once a fierce critic, has acknowledged that Snowden performed “a public service.” President Obama has called for the reform of phone metadata collection, and last June, Congress passed the U.S.A. Freedom Act, a law that directly resulted from Snowden’s leaks. Snowden has come to be seen as a levelheaded activist.
All of this heartens me, as I am one of those who from the start saw Snowden’s actions, while illegal, as courageous, highly necessary, and important. Maybe calling Snowden a “hero” is going too far, but he certainly deserves major kudos for helping expose vast, vast overreaching by the U.S. government, and his disclosures have absolutely educated millions of us who had no idea how far the NSA had bulldozed our privacy.
So, you know, things have been looking up for Ed Snowden, generally. And then this unprecedented thing happens, and my mouth just about hit the floor. The Washington Post, the newspaper of Woodward and Bernstein for goodness sakes, has done something I’m not sure has ever been done in journalism history: It happily used Snowden as a source for the NSA disclosures, won a Pulitzer Prize for them, and is now saying Snowden should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Specifically, the Washington Post editorial calls for Snowden to stand trial on espionage charges, or accept “a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”
Rather hilariously, or frighteningly, as this Glenn Greenwald column points out, the Post excoriates Snowden for leaking a legal spying program called PRISM. But who was it that happily splashed the leak all across its front page? That’s right, the Washington Post!
This is pretty amazing, coming from a newspaper that lately, in its enabling of Donald Trump in some cases, used to be such a gold standard. Now, a caveat that a lot of non-journalists don’t know: The editorial board of a newspaper is totally separate from the newsroom’s reporters and editors, so I’m certainly not claiming the whole Post staff is behind this editorial.
But it’s just … amazingly hypocritical of the Post, in my opinion. Edward Snowden should be allowed to come home, have a fair trial in his native country, and then the chips shall fall.
But espionage? Come on. But hey, don’t look at me: I’m still waiting when the hell the International War Crimes trials are starting for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush.
**Next up today, a couple of videos that made me happy for completely different reasons. First, my fellow Gen X’ers certainly recall the acting “career” of Corey Feldman, aka one of the Two Coreys, aka Not the Blonde, Cute One. He has entertained us, amused us, and mostly made us feel sorry for him. He’s been a bad actor, a terrible reality TV star (although I did love him so in “The Surreal Life”), and generally a pretty strange dude.
But my friends, you haven’t seen Corey Feldman until you’ve seen him in a black hoodie, singing unintelligible lyrics, with women in angel costumes behind him.
I give you Corey Feldman, on the “Today” show, and you’re welcome. My God, what a glorious three-minute train wreck this is.
**And finally today, a nice palatte-cleanser: I’ve written a lot about legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, because he’s retiring this year and deserves to be feted as much as possible.
I’ve also written a lot over the years about my all-time favorite movie, “Field of Dreams,” because it’s awesome.
So you show me a video of Vin Scully reciting the great James Earl Jones speech from “Field of Dreams,” set over great baseball highlights of the past? Yeah, I’m watching that. Lots of times.
Hope you enjoy.