For an American, the traditional home for the kind of story Snowden was planning to reveal would have been the New York Times. But during extensive interviews last week with a Guardian team, he recalled how dismayed he had been to discover the Times had a great scoop in election year 2004 – that the Bush administration, post 9/11, allowed the NSA to snoop on US citizens without warrants – but had sat on it for a year before publishing.
Snowden said this was a turning point for him, confirming his belief that traditional media outlets could not be trusted. He looked around for alternative journalists, those who were both anti-establishment and at home with blogging and other social media. The member of this generation that he most trusted was the Guardian commentator Glenn Greenwald.
~ from Edward Snowden: How the Spy Story of the Age Leaked Out by Ewen MacAskill ~
When I was growing up, the most trusted newsman in America was the venerable Walter Cronkite. I don't know if he truly deserved this designation during his broadcast career at CBS News, but he sure was a progressive stalwart once he retired!
These days there simply aren't that many traditional journalists that deserve much trust. All too often, their reporting is lazy and they too easily accept whatever the government feeds them.
But I can tell you one thing. If I had my hands on some potentially explosive information -- particularly the kind that points to wrongdoing in the US government -- there is no journalist I would feel more confident in handing over the information to than Glenn Greenwald. I have followed his columns and reports for over three years. As readers know, I quote him extensively. He strikes me as a man of integrity, principle and dedication. In a word, Glenn Greenwald is my hero!!
I don't use that word lightly. Greenwald embodies the kind of attributes that a good reporter should. If you read his columns, it is more than obvious that he digs far below the surface of the topic he is reporting on. He makes well thought out arguments and he presents them in a point-by-point methodical manner. Most importantly, unlike so many of his brethren these days, he understands that the journalistic profession is an adversarial one. It is the job of journalists to take nothing the authorities say at face value.
This is not to say that the competent journalist should automatically assume that public officials or corporate bigwigs are lying. What it does mean is that you listen to the "official" pronouncements and then you set out on a journey to try to discern if those pronouncements are true or not. If after doing your research you determine the statements to be true, you report that. On the other hand, if your research indicates the statements are not true, then you report that.
It really is quite simple. It's too bad that Greenwald is the exception, not the norm.