The Kind of Press Corrupt Governments Love

While we still have a functional press, journalists have a duty to bring the truth to the public. When evidence leads us to wonder if government officials committed serious crimes, and much of the public desires the truth, there’s just no excuse for the press to look the other way.

Glenn Greenwald criticized NBC News political director Chuck Todd for joining the choir of pundits making excuses for avoiding the investigation of potential war crimes. When Todd offered Greenwald an interview, only under much pressure would he give lip service to the notion that an investigation should be done, but it’s obvious he feels no obligation to the public in pushing for the truth. He’s afraid a trial would be “cable catnip”, or a politicized media circus.

What message does that send if we have this political trial, and how do you know this won’t turn into a political trial? In fact, we know it’s going to turn into a political trial. I’ll take that back – we don’t know whether it’s going to turn into a political trial.

Government cover-ups are acceptable if they keep his news day orderly. He has other worries as well:

If you have this trial, and there is, inevitably, some appeals and some, where we have a back-and-forth, where there is some sort of, where it becomes a legal debate about whether so-and-so can go on trial, or not go on trial, what was allowed – they were, they thought that they were following the law, that they, you know, what message does that end up sending? Does that end up harming us down the road?

The message sent by such an event would be a very good one to send: criminals will be punished and organizations that permit or encourage them will be made in the least very uncomfortable.

Personal opinions don’t excuse Todd and other “journalists” from their responsibilities to the public. The free passes they give today lay the groundwork for future corruption and its quiet pardoning. Already Obama has had some shady and questionably legal actions (disregard of contract law, the embrace of state secrets privileges); more conservatives should realize the necessity of and demand a strong press persistently shining a light in the corners of the White House and Congress.

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