By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

An innuendo-laden attack on Greenwald

Edward Jay Epstein has written an innuendo-laden column for The Wall Street Journal in which he strongly insinuates that filmmaker Laura Poitras and/or journalist/blogger/lawyer Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian criminally assisted Edward Snowden in leaking National Security Agency documents.

Epstein’s toxic brew of archly worded questions leads to the inescapable conclusion that he believes the two journalists ought to be investigated and possibly charged under the World War I-era Espionage Act.

Josh Stearns, who serves with Greenwald on the Freedom of the Press Foundation board, has some thoughts about journalism and the Espionage Act. He writes:

The First Amendment and press freedom questions that haunt the Espionage Act are particularly important right now. Changes in media and technology have put the tools of journalism and media making in the hands of more and more people, challenging old assumptions about who is a journalist and how journalism is done. Increasingly, independent journalists, nonprofit news outlets and citizens are playing critical roles in newsgathering and reporting on the most important issues of our time.

I don’t think Stearns gives sufficient weight to the idea that merely publishing leaked documents is, in fact, a violation of the law, and that investigative journalism depends on the hopeful notion that the government won’t use its authority. Otherwise, though, it’s a useful guide to the issues at stake.

More: Greenwald responds to the Epstein column in this Storify involving (mainly) Jeff Jarvis and Michael Wolff.

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What “special protections” is Carr talking about?

1 Comment

  1. Martin Callaghan

    The Storify is great reading. Who says you can’t debate in 140 Characters or less? But I digress. Having watched this angle of the Snowden story since it began, I am taken aback by the cannibalistic nature of some in the media.

    I get that Greenwald can be off-putting and that some may have questions about the extent of his involvement and when, but why are some of his colleagues is the media asking those questions? Is there really that much elitism in the national media?

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