The sickening Snowden backlash

Kirsten Powers writes: Hell hath no fury like the Washington establishment scorned.

Since Edward Snowden came forward to identify himself as the leaker of the National Security Agency spying programs, the D.C. mandarins have been working overtime to discredit the man many view as a hero for revealing crucial information the government had wrongfully kept secret. Apparently, if you think hiding information about spying on Americans is bad, you are misguided. The real problem is that Snowden didn’t understand that his role is to sit and be quiet while the “best and the brightest” keep Americans in the dark about government snooping on private citizens.

By refusing to play this role, Snowden has been called a “traitor” by House Majority Leader John Boehner. Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the leaks “an act of treason.” The fury among the protectors of the status quo is so great that you have longtime Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen smearing Snowden as a “cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood.” The New York Times’s David Brooks lamented that Snowden, who put himself in peril for the greater good, was too “individualistic.” It seems that he wasn’t sufficiently indoctrinated to blindly worship the establishment institutions that have routinely failed us. Brooks argued that “for society to function well, there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation, a respect for institutions and deference to common procedures.”

This is backward. It’s the institutions that need to demonstrate respect for the public they allegedly serve. If Snowden or any other American is skeptical of institutional power, it is not due to any personal failing on their part. The lack of respect is a direct outgrowth of the bad behavior of the nation’s institutions, behavior that has undermined Americans’ trust in them. According to Gallup’s “confidence in institutions” poll, trust is at an historic low, with Congress clocking in at a 13 percent approval rating in 2012. Yes, this is the same Congress that has “oversight” of the government spying programs. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “The sickening Snowden backlash

  1. Norman

    The insiders and their sycophantic press people are piling on, because that’s what they do. That the so called watchers, both in & out of government have sold their souls to the “Devil” for those 30 pieces of silver, but the price they have to pay in return, exceeds any benefit they might derive.

  2. BillVZ

    The “best and the brightest” keep Americans in the dark about government snooping on private citizens.
    Snowden at great risk has done a public service by exposing the real issues and igniting a debate about government surveillance. I question that he might have thought in the speaking and publishing of his revelations that the issue of secrecy was to shield incompetence.
    “the function of secrecy, more often than not, is to shield incompetence.” –
    Secrecy itself or what the NSA by snooping on private citizens by their power – behavior that has undermined Americans’ trust in them, are not the real issues? And what Slates tec writer and Washington bureaucrats and their media are doing as they trash Edward Snowden is shielding incompetence?
    Golly, Paul I must be missing something here.

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