David Gregory’s Appalling Question

As many of you have no doubt heard, David Gregory asked an incredibly appalling question of Glenn Greenwald on Meet the Press on Sunday. He asked him whether he should be charged criminally for “aiding and abetting” Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA data mining. Here’s the video:


Andrew Sullivan, who disagrees with Greenwald on his substantive criticisms of the PRISM program and on many other things about which they have had pointed debates, is rightly infuriated.

So why would a journalist like Gregory ask such a question?

Two theories:

first, underlying a lot of this, is the MSM’s fear and loathing and envy of the blogger journalist. Notice that Gregory calls Greenwald a “polemicist” – not a journalist. The difference, I presume, is that polemicists actually make people in power uncomfortable. Journalists simply do their best to get chummy with them in order to get exclusive tidbits that the powerful want you to know.

Second: ask yourself if David Gregory ever asked a similar question of people in government with real power, e.g. Dick Cheney et al. Did he ever ask them why they shouldn’t go to jail for committing documented war crimes under the Geneva Conventions? Nah…

But an actual journalist, Glenn Greenwald, not part of the Village, who has made more news this past fortnight than the entire coterie Gregory lives among and for? The gloves are off. I’m not going to attack Gregory for asking a sharp question of another journalist, however odd? I am merely going to note that he has been far tougher on this journalist for doing his job than on Dick Cheney for abdicating his.

Sullivan is right, Gregory is perfectly emblematic of everything that is wrong about establishment journalism in Washington.

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  • doublereed

    Uhh… last I checked Glenn never signed an NDA. I don’t know what you could charge him with.

  • The day Gregory asks Darth Cheney a tough question will be the day bread and wine literally transform into flesh and blood.

  • mikeyb

    David Gregory would make a great journalist in North Korea.

  • Chiroptera

    doublereed, #1: I don’t know what you could charge him with.

    Good point. He’d have to be detained indefinitely without formal charges being filed.

  • Synfandel

    Good point. He’d have to be detained indefinitely without formal charges being filed.

    Or “extraordinarily rendered” to a third-party state for “enhanced interrogation”. Nothing illegal about that, is there?

  • Anthony K

    Sullivan is right, Gregory is perfectly emblematic of everything that is wrong about establishment journalism in Washington.

    Well, Sully’s only half right. He should have included himself in that description.

    He forgot to mention his previous glowing praise for David Gregory:

    I might as well say, at the risk of sounding like a massive suck-up, that David is a great choice, to my mind. It’s great because he has shown a lingering resistance to the Higher Washington Blather that bloviates outward in portentous puffs of Broder and Halperin and Cokie. But only if he can do the show from time to time as Larry King.

  • I’m pretty sure the Pentagon papers case decided this issue a long time ago.

  • slc1

    Brayton and previously MH are correct. Gregory is a cipher who sucks up to power. He didn’t get those brown lips from sucking doorknobs. The founder of Meet the Press, Lawrence E. Spivak, wouldn’t have even invited him on the program as a questioner. Mike Wallace would have been, and probably was contemptuous of him.

    I am afraid the days of reporters like Edward R. Murrow are long gone.

    As I have previously noted, Anderson Cooper is about the only one who isn’t afraid to ask tough questions of his guests. He can get away with it because he doesn’t need the job, as an heir to his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt’s fortune when she passes on.

  • Today Greenwald rival Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is bravely reporting that Snowden once said he didn’t like Social Security… so you know… that means… somethingorother.

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • Now, look, David’s just asking the questions that his friends are asking. What’s he supposed to do, actual reporting? Do you know how much of an outsider the Villagers would make him for that? Why, he’d be just like Glenn Greenwald!


    Reginald Selkirk “George Zimmerman trial: Friend testifies Trayvon Martin said “Get off, get off” before deadly altercation You know the NSA probably has a recording of that call.”

    Oh, please! They just have the metadata (“Swarthy male and black male call accomplice during crime.”).

  • If Gregory had (a) refrained from the word “polemicist” (b) phrased the question differently (e.g. “some people in Washington having been saying that you should be arrested for aiding and abetting Snowden…”) and most importantly (c) was willing to demand the same level of accountability from the political leaders he interviews, then I wouldn’t have a problem with him…

    Greenwald did get one thing wrong in that clip, though. You can be found guilty espionage without handing over secrets to foreign governments or receiving payment for doing so.

    All that is required to prosecute someone for espionage in the US is to prove that the accused “had reason to believe” that the information they turned over to an unauthorized source “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

    Given the scope of the material Snowden took with him, I suspect that the government would not have a tough time making their case.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    [David] Gregory is perfectly emblematic of everything that is wrong about establishment journalism in Washington.

    He’s had some good moments during the stimulus debates, but in the end you nailed it. I watched Meet the Press for years but no more. When the job opened up after Tim Russert died I wrote a letter to NBC News promoting Rachel Maddow. Unfortunately her talent is becoming largely squandered as she sinks more into polemicism.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Time to retrieve an ever-useful oldie:

    This headline has one word too many.

  • naturalcynic

    Of course Greenwald got some good news today, his partner should now become eligible for permanent status in this country. Greenwald left this country to be with him.

  • Joey Maloney

    I bow to no one in my contempt for Dancin’ Dave, and as usual he had no idea what he was talking about. However, we now know that 1) Snowden sought employment with Booz-Allen for the purpose of gathering classified information and releasing it, and 2) he started working for B-A in March, but began communicating with Greenwald in February.

    If (and that’s a big if) it could be shown that he discussed his plans with GG in advance of executing them, that would in fact put GG on very shaky legal footing. One hopes that Greenwald is much too smart of a lawyer to let himself be put in that position.

  • dingojack

    Joey – Really? We know that do we? Please provide authoritative and credible sources for the claimed ‘facts’



  • Joey Maloney

    I’m sorry, you seem to have confused this with my thesis defense, instead of an internet message board. If I’ve misremembered, please feel free to correct me. And please feel free to be as snotty as you like while doing so, it’s ever so entertaining.

  • dingojack

    OK then – so that’s a no, I got nothin’?

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out. Bye!!


  • dustbunny

    Joey, you seem to have confused an internet message board with a blog. If you are going to make statements of fact (“we know such and such…”) be prepared to back them up.

    On the OP:

    I can’t even go near TV media coverage of this. They have decided to focus on the cat-and-mouse chase instead of the horrendous overreach of power and the further eviscerating of the 4th Amendment.

  • Michael Heath

    naturalcynic writes:

    Of course Greenwald got some good news today, his partner should now become eligible for permanent status in this country. Greenwald left this country to be with him.

    Andrew Sullivan was on AC360 last night as a guest of Anderson Cooper. Mr. Cooper used his show to hold a celebration of the day’s events. Still, Cooper’s circle jerk approach to journalism that evening topped The O’Reilly Factor, guest hosted by the moron Laura Ingraham. Those guests’ panties were in a twist as they whined about being the true victims because anti-gay bigots just like them are increasingly pointed out to be . . . bigots. Anyway, in Cooper’s segment with Sullivan, Sullivan smartly pointed out that Mr. Greenwald and his partner’s right to live in the U.S. is now protected equal to that of heterosexuals.

    While Sullivan and Greenwald take competing and somewhat antagonistic positions on Edward Snowden’s leaking of intelligence, Sullivan’s been the most effective supporter of Greenwald’s journalistic ethics I’ve encountered, where last night provided even more support for legitimate investigative journalism and analysis.

    I want to point out I think Mr. Cooper is one of the best journalists on TV. However, that bar is very low, where I see Cooper’s performance on gay rights matters increasingly clouding his ability to deliver hard news and insightful analysis. In last evening’s even he barely addressed the bigots reaction though he did point out Tony Perkin’s response was a lie (that the tide is on the side of Christian bigots).

    Another example is how gentle Mr. Cooper was on the Exodus International leader a few days back; lauding Alan Chambers without even once addressing the predominant root cause motivation for Chambers to cause so much suffering. A root cause reason that Mr. Chambers continues to espouse and reference in his opposition to gays having their rights being protected equal to other humans; that is the holy dogma of the Bible due to Chambers continued embrace of religious thinking.

  • left0ver1under

    Pierce R. Butler (#14)

    This headline has one word too many.

    Or just as aptly, the wrong word.

    Substitute with “cowardice”, “arrogance”, “hypocrisy”, “dishonesty” or many others.

  • savagemutt

    OT, but there is another excellent example of the decline of mainstream journalism in this country currently happening; the Paul Deen story. While the remarks she made during her deposition were an excellent example of not-getting-it and white privilege, and -yes- racism. an entire fictional narrative has arisen in the media conflating what she actually said in her testimony vs. what is claimed in the lawsuit.

    I actually have a small bit of sympathy for the woman now.

  • Funny Diva

    OMFSM! Substantive disagreement of some important issues, but complete agreement on something else that’s important?! It’s like these are people with intellectual integrity or something! Won’t someone think of the Tribe?! Won’t someone think of the Deep Rifts?!


    Even I can acknowledge that Mr Sullivan is on the right side of this. Good for him for sticking to the important issues in spite of other disagreements with Mr Greenwald.