Written by joseph k winter
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Friday, 23 May 2014

image for New York Times review of Greenwald's book wins the We Came, We Saw, He Died award honoring duty in government service
Coverage of this year's "We Came, We Saw, He Died" award ceremony was enthusiastic and prolonged

The New York Times and Michael Kinsley have won this year's prestigious award honoring journalists in government service.

Mr. Kinsley's review of Glenn Greenwald's recently released No Place to Hide, an account of Edward Snowden's role in exposing the NSA, was immediately praised by the committee in charge of the "We Came, We Saw, He Died" honor.

The committee includes distinguished members of the press such as David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and members of the The New York Times editorial board.

These journalists agree with Mr. Kinsley that what the public needs to know on government behavior is a decision that should not come from journalists or anyone else.

Instead, "that decision must be made by the government."

It was this juicy piece of phrasing from Mr. Kinsley's review that led the way in a gleaming-eyed approval from the award committee.

This year's chairperson Judith Miller assayed that "Hillary would be pleased" with Mr. Kinsley as recipient. The award was first created in honor of the nation's previous Secretary of State.

Asked how Ms. Clinton's famous comment somehow represents the award, a spokesperson for the committee explained further.

Ms. Clinton's comment appeared as part of the campaign to regime-change Muammar Qaddafi of Libya in 2011.

Hence the committee is particularly sensitive to protecting any official US policy related to regime-change, or any exposure that might bring critical questioning on government activity.

As to Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald's book, the phrasing "We came, we saw, he died" is a robust thrust at "killing the messenger," so to speak, which has become a vital tool in today's mainstream journalism.

That is, the award additionally honors this worthy ad hominem ploy in Mr. Kinsley's work.

Mr. Kinsley assaults Greenwald's personality with "self-righteous sourpuss." He then adds "difficult" via a sly reference to "derring-do."

This fusillade is supplemented with Julian Assange as "narcissist" and Edward Snowden as "romantic" and essentially a "teenager" with his purposes.

As to issues and principles, such as the need for the press as adversarial and a watchdog on the government, Mr. Kinsley is content to wonder if there may be a case here but implies he's not up to dealing with it.

Nevertheless, a raft of issues from 1953 with US regime change in Iran following on through today is possibly worth a sniff or two of questioning and appraisal.

However, Mr. Kinsley's detailed thinking on the issues raised by Mr. Greenwald's book indicates unorthodoxy may lead to a government pit bull snarling at the gate.

Guidance is clearly needed, and provided, by Mr. Kinsley's counsel on these matters, leading to his prize.

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