I've long been a fan of David Carr's media column in The New York Times, but yesterday's was a landmark. In a piece headlined "War on Leaks Is Pitting Journalist vs. Journalist," Carr takes on the bizarre—there's no other word for it—attacks on WikiLeaks and The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald for their role in the release of classified documents by former PFC Bradley Manning and former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden. There's only one way I can see to explain the kind of treatment they've been getting: as a sign of the identity crisis that is overtaking conventional journalism in a time of threat.
Both Bradley and Snowden were acting very much in the tradition of Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of a top-secret US government report on Vietnam some four decades ago exposed a systematic pattern of lies to both Congress and the public. Though he was charged with crimes by the government, Ellsberg was lionized by the media, and The New York Times won a Pulitzer for reporting his revelations. Today, however, the story is very different. Witness Greenwald's appearance on Meet the Press, when, as Carr points out, he was asked why he himself should not be charged with a crime for having "aided and abetted" Snowden. And that was only the start of it, as this commentary by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks makes clear: