I like Michael Moore, I really do. But sometimes he acts like a mirror image of Glenn Beck.
And thanks to Bartcop, there is evidence, sad evidence, that, despite their ideological differences, they are twins separated at birth:
The reference, obviously, is to Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information to Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post, who, naturally, leaked it to the world. Whether Snowden is a hero or a criminal has divided both the liberal and conservative camps.
At this point in time, when not many details are known, I tend to side with Jeffrey Toobin, who called Snowden “a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”
Time and details may change my opinion, but there is something narcissistic about the way Snowden has behaved, and there is certainly an element of grandiosity in this whole thing.
And I like Toobin’s cautious reasoning about the tension between knowing and not knowing what the government is up to:
What makes leak cases difficult is that some leaking—some interaction between reporters and sources who have access to classified information—is normal, even indispensable, in a society with a free press. It’s not easy to draw the line between those kinds of healthy encounters and the wholesale, reckless dumping of classified information by the likes of Snowden or Bradley Manning. Indeed, Snowden was so irresponsible in what he gave the Guardian and the Postthat even these institutions thought some of it should not be disseminated to the public. The Postdecided to publish only four of the forty-one slides that Snowden provided. Its exercise of judgment suggests the absence of Snowden’s.
I also like the way Toobin concluded his piece:
The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air—and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it. We all now have to hope that he’s right.
This issue has caused me to separate myself from a lot of liberals I greatly respect. It’s not that sometimes Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, or for that matter, myself and Glenn Beck, shouldn’t have intersecting interests. As Americans, we should.
But before all the facts are known, when all we really know right now is that some 29-year-old employee of a private contractor leaked classified information he swore to keep secret, to label Edward Snowden a “hero” is ridiculous.