NBC's batso-nutso marketing machine demonizes Edward Snowden

By Ted Rall , written on May 28, 2014

From The News Desk

"Demonizing the personality of anyone who challenges political power has been a long-standing tactic used by Washington, including by the media," Glenn Greenwald notes in his new book "No Place to Hide."

Confirming this truism out of the gate was establishment hack Michael Kinsley, slagging Greenwald (in a "book review," inexplicably) as a "self-righteous sourpuss" and "a ruthless revolutionary — Robespierre, or Trotsky" as though Greenwald's bromance potential had anything to do with the NSA and its illegal spy programs against Americans.

The Beltway junta's transparent "kill the messenger" campaign of distraction launched with CBS anchor Bob Schieffer's oldsplaining ("just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us") and Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen's trans-baiting ("a cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood").

Now the Snowden-bashing continues with — not a little ironically — NBC's marketing ahead of its Brian Williams interview with Snowden himself last night.

"INSIDE THE MIND OF EDWARD SNOWDEN," blares the peacock's hype machine.

Because you'd have to be crazy to do what he did.

But you know what's really batso-nutso? NBC's cognitive dissonance. As cogs in the machine and sister network to primary Obama media organ MSNBC, the network must rip apart the disgruntled spy (watch for Williams' "objective" snottitude). On the other hand, the profit imperative forces NBC to present Snowden as the undeniably important figure he is.

Sooo confusing.

You can't have it both ways — well, you can, but strong meds are advised.

For cheese thicker than you'll find in Philly, check out NBC's hashtag poll, "Edward Snowden: #Traitor or #Patriot?," in which viewers (and online readers) are asked to weigh in on their view of the exiled whistleblower, as though there weren't professional, scientifically sampled opinion polls answering the same question.

Why so binary? I vote for more choices:






On the "Today" show's "Orange Room" (NBC, duh), Carson Daly middleagesplains what's on the Internet to television viewers who hopefully won't be so tempted by what they see that they'll stop watching TV. (For a full dose of this inanity, watch here. Warning: Not Safe for Brains.)

This morning, Daly was in fine form, sharing exactly two (2) posts from social media. So. Fair: one #patriot, one #traitor. Naturally, the #traitor receives added establishment oomph from Secretary of State John Kerry:

If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we'll have him on a flight today. We’d be delighted for him to come back. And he should come back and — and that’s what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba or some other country. A patriot would stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people. But he’s refused to do that to this date at least. The fact is that he can come home, but he’s a fugitive from justice which is why he is not being permitted to fly around the world. It’s that simple. And he knows it… Let him come back and make his case. If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust in the American system of justice. 
No countercomments allowed by pro-Snowden boldface names.

Oh yeah, the "American system of justice." Where due process is guaranteed and the chance to make your case directly to the people is always guaranteed, fair and square. Unless you get drone-assassinated like Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who never fired a shot at an American, or his teenage son. Or summarily executed, like Osama bin Laden. Or sentenced to a ridiculously long prison term for a minor weapons offense in a foreign country, like John Walker Lindh. Or locked away and tortured like PFC Chelsea Manning, who revealed U.S. war crimes to WikiLeaks.

Let us all praise the American system of justice, where 97 percent of defendants in federal cases are coerced into pleading guilty, including many who are innocent, because prosecutors lard on additional charges that would otherwise add decades to sentences if convicted.

By the way, Secretary Kerry — this rate is virtually identical to those of China and Russia.

Don't expect Brian Williams to bring that up.