by Glen at the intercept. Unbelievable!
05 Mar 2014 at 8:28 am
At a superficial level, Abby Martin’s outburst seems admirable. She is a journalist who is not afraid to express her opinions, even if they are in opposition to those of RT management. The Glenn Greenwalds of the world are quick to hold her up as an admirable example of journalistic independence.
The NY Times, however, soberly points out the pitfall of this position. Martin is a 9/11 truther – should she therefore have the right to express those crackpot views as well? Free speech extremists would say yes, but journalists must also report responsibly. The credibility of a journalistic institution can easily be destroyed if their correspondents start using their broadcast platform to disseminate their own hare brained theories. The lone cowboy vigilante reporter is an appealing figure, but adults recognize it as a myth.
At established news outlets, senior editors consult with experts and national security officials. They then adopt editorial positions which reflect reality and ensure their staff understand and present the issues in a balanced light. Martin’s problem was simply that she worked for an institution whose goals are to advance Russia’s national interests.
Organizations such as RT have ulterior motives, but journalistic independence is not the answer. Nor can the government mandate that certain organizations simply be barred from reporting, due to the pesky First Amendment. However, the bill currently being drafted by the NSA, which will shortly be presented to Congress, will solve these issues. The NSA has unrivalled information gathering capabilities; this information is then analyzed by the world’s top experts; the President himself then chooses the course of action which best represents US national interests. So the bill will ensure that reporters simply be held accountable for what they write or broadcast. In other words, disseminating any information which undermines US national security would be criminalized. This would not affect free speech – only the action of undermining national security is being restricted. Nor would it affect responsible reporters at outlets such as The Washington Post or the New York Times. But it would mean that the US could no longer be held hostage by any reporter with an agenda.
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