Bob Garfield, cohost of “On the Media,” spoke on WNYC about Edward Snowden getting asylum in Russia for one year and put on his righteous pundit hat:
It’s unclear whether… Julian Assange is an anarchist or a righteous defender of the rights of individuals. It’s unclear. It’s equally unclear to me, I know I’m speaking not as a reporter but strictly as a critic and a commentator, how Edward Snowden has the temerity [chuckling] to seek refuge in Russia. Whatever the American security state is, he has just been accepted by the open arms of a gathering tyranny. And it is an explicitly authoritarian state. And to me, pundit, to me, opinionator, it seems like the height of hypocrisy.
Does the media host have any respect for why Snowden finds himself in the position he does? I suppose if Edward Snowden had asked Garfield what to do weeks ago, he’d still be working for the NSA in Hawaii.
Snowden has expressed great fondness for the U.S.
America is a fundamentally good country; we have good people with good values who want to do the right thing, but the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics.
J’s comment at the WNYC site notes all the good that Snowden has done for Americans, and why he might have good reason to seek refuge in Russia:
That Snowden does not wish to spend the rest of his life in jail, in no way diminishes the fact that he exposed, to the benefit of the American people and system, government surveillance like that of authoritarian states in what is supposed to be a transparent democracy. That he had “the temerity” to go to Russia–one of the few countries willing or able to stand up to U.S. pressure–does not diminish the benefit of his actions to the people of the U.S., transparency, and democracy. It only shows how far astray the current administration has taken the U.S. from it’s constitutional principles by prosecuting whistle-blowers and reporters as spies.
Garfield’s critique of Snowden as being a hypocrite for not happily skipping to a jail cell for the rest of his life–even if he is forced to go to an un-democratic state–is misguided and reveals Garfield as an armchair warrior.