theguardian.com, Tuesday 1 October 2013
This afternoon, along with Guardian US editor-in-chief Janine Gibson, I participated in Reddit’s “ask me anything” feature, where the highest rated questions rise to the top and the guest answers each of them. The questions focused on our NSA reporting, and were largely smart and provocative. The full discussion can be read here.
There were two questions in particular I was happy to have been asked. First, someone asked: “I just realized you’ve done a good job keeping your source out of the limelight, it feels like he’s slowly fading from public conciousness and the real story is gaining traction.” My reply:
“This is an astute point, and the credit for this is due to Snowden.
“One of the most darkly hilarious things to watch is how government apologists and media servants are driven by total herd behavior: they all mindlessly adopt the same script and then just keep repeating it because they see others doing so and, like parrots, just mimic what they hear.
“All whistleblowers are immediately demonized – they have to be “crazy” lest people think that there is something valid to their view that they saw injustices so fundamental that it was worth risking their liberty to expose.
“That’s why Nixon wanted Daniel Ellsberg’s psychoanalysis files: degrading the psyche of whistleblowers is vital to defending the status quo.
“The script used to do this to Snowden was that he was a ‘fame-seeking narcissist’. Hordes of people who had no idea what ‘narcissism’ even means – and who did not know the first thing about Snowden – kept repeating this word over and over because that became the cliche used to demonize him.