Earlier this week I came across a blog post from Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, titled WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer), which was in response to The Washington Post’s editorial column, No pardon for Edward Snowden.
The title caught my attention immediately and after reading the post, I am a surprised that there hasn’t been more media attention around this (and because of my job I stay pretty up-to-date with what is in the media).
At first glance it appears that Greenwald is simply acknowledging The Washington Post for its actions:
“In doing so, The Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.”
But hold… Greenwald is doing anything but… “But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against the paper’s own source are the claims made to justify it.”…
“THIS HIGHLIGHTS a chronic cowardice that often arises when establishment figures want to denounce Snowden… He did not trust himself to make those journalistic determinations, and so he left it to the newspapers to decide which revelations would and would not serve the public interest.”
Greenwald goes onto bashing The Washington Post stating, “But what makes today’s Washington Post editorial so remarkable, such a tour de force, is that the editors are literally calling for the criminal prosecution of one of the most important sources in their own newspaper’s history. Having basked in the glory of awards and accolades, and benefited from untold millions of clicks, the editorial page editors of the Post now want to see the source who enabled all of that be put in an American cage and branded a felon. That is warped beyond anything that can be described.”
I understand that Greenwald doesn’t agree (and that might be an understatement) with what The Washington Post is stating. But in reflection of the entire situation, it is a very tricky position for a media outlet to publicly call for the criminal prosecution of a source. I can’t help but wonder if it will create hesitation or changes in the way a source is willing to talk to the media.
Will this first-ever event make a source hesitate before bringing it to light?