Every publication makes mistakes. Every major publication has, at some point, botched a story. But the way things are going with The Guardian as it publishes this series of Edward Snowden “bombshells,” we’re well beyond isolated glitches. The publication has botched nearly every story on this beat — arguably one of the biggest stories of the Summer. The ongoing trend of highly suspect coverage of various trespasses orchestrated by the U.S. or U.K. governments continues unabated, and even a cursory degree of scrutiny has revealed vague reporting or self-debunking details, then, after reader outrage has been sufficiently peaked, a slow drip of mitigating information emerges.
Were it not for the melodramatic personal struggles of the reporters and their source, along with the link-bait and bad reporting that constantly demands careful inspection, we might be talking about ways to improve and reform America’s surveillance operations. There’d be heated disagreements to be sure, but no matter where the debaters would sit on the political spectrum, we’d be considerably closer to sharing a mutual understanding of what the government, specifically NSA, is up to. And, gratefully, with the shrieking at a much lower decibel level.
Instead, it’s nearly impossible to settle on the terms of the debate, chiefly due to an ongoing trend of deliberately incomplete bombshell articles combined with short-attention-span readings of hyper-complicated operations. Together, these elements serve to reinforce both confirmation bias and hair-trigger sanctimony. This is what The Guardian is primarily (though not solely) responsible for, and it’s this lens of deception through which we have no choice but to view the latest episode in the saga: The Goon Squad Computer Smash-up Caper.
In keeping with the 24 Hour Rule, Tuesday brought to light a series of new details and raised more questions about how a British intelligence goon squad forced staffers from The Guardian to destroy one or more computers containing Snowden-related documents. First and foremost, and contrary to what was implied in editor Alan Rusbridger’s think-piece, it turns out that the British GCHQ officials didn’t force The Guardian staffers to destroy the computers… [CONTINUE READING]