from the you-trust-who-when? dept.
Glenn Greenwald reports at The Intercept that the identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown even as numerous security experts loudly note how sparse and unconvincing the available evidence is against North Korea. But that didn't stop President Obama, announcing in his December 19 press conference that: “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack," and vowing that "we will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.” Yet according to Greenwald, none of the expert skepticism has made its way into countless media accounts of the Sony hack. "Time and again, many journalists mindlessly regurgitated the U.S. Government’s accusation against North Korea without a shred of doubt, blindly assuming it to be true, and then discussing, often demanding, strong retaliation. Coverage of the episode was largely driven by the long-standing, central tenet of the establishment U.S. media: government assertions are to be treated as Truth."
Greenwald says that this kind of reflexive embrace of government claims is journalistically inexcusable in all cases, for reasons that should be self-evident. But in this case, it’s truly dangerous. "At this point - eleven years after the run-up to the Iraq War and 50 years after the Gulf of Tonkin fraud - any minimally sentient American knows full well that their government lies frequently. Any journalist understands full well that assuming government claims to be true, with no evidence, is the primary means by which U.S. media outlets become tools of government propaganda," concludes Greenwald adding that many journalists benefit in all sorts of ways by dutifully performing this role. "At this point, journalists who mindlessly repeat government claims like this are guilty of many things; ignorance of what they are doing is definitely not one of them."