Driving Blind: Detain and Hold
The Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, documents the pressure put on him and the paper by UK officials. “A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister,” he writes. “There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.”
One official later chillingly told him, “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.” But Rusbridger goes on to explain why threats from a single country, legal or otherwise, mean so little these days.
Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker on the other hand takes this opportunity to admonish Snowden and his supporters. Looking at what he calls the “real costs” of Snowden’s actions, Toobin writes, “Indeed, for all the excitement generated by Snowden’s disclosures, there is no proof of any systemic, deliberate violations of law.” He adds that the government will now almost certainly have to “spend billions of dollars, and thousands of people will have to spend thousands of hours, reworking our procedures,” as a result of the leaks.
And what about Snowden’s time in two former communist countries? In conclusion, Toobin declares, “There is obviously some legitimate debate to be had about the extent and the legality of American surveillance operations. But there is no doubt about the nature of China and Russia.”
Michael Kinsley of the New Republic has a Q&A with The New York Times executive editor, Jill Abramson. They discuss the current online media landscape, what it’s like to be and old-school reporter in sea of social media driven news, and whether the Homepage is an obsolete construct.
More importantly than anything that was said though was everything that wasn’t, including no discussion of Iraq, Wikileaks, or the role of advocacy journalism.
Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg has a beginners list to events in Egypt and the larger context surrounding them. Goldberg argues that, “The Egyptian military has a better chance of preventing all-out civil war than does the Brotherhood. Best that it does this without mass slaughter, of course.”
And while he doesn’t try to hide what his preferred outcome is, the details as he lays them out certainly don’t lend themselves to any easy answers. The piece ends with an insensitive and indefensible joke, but the rest is still worth reading.
An excerpt from Jesse Walker‘s The United States of Paranoia appears at Salon. Instead of looking at every day conspiracy theories, Walker focuses on “elite panic.” Don’t be afraid of grass roots groups peddling outlandish ideas about faking the moon landing or 9/11 being an inside job. What we should really be afraid of is paranoia that permeates the establishment and then becomes legitimized by it.
For example, Walker writes about when, “The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, a terror-tracking company hired by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security, sent out alerts that subversives were plotting to hold a candlelight vigil, organize a gay and lesbian festival, and screen the anti-fracking film “Gasland.”