No, Candy Crowley. That is not good enough.

Jun.
16
“You have to know your stuff. You have to mute your instinct to reduce everything to the next election. This is serious business. We need interviewers who are dead serious about holding people accountable for what they say.”

Watch what happens at the 7:00 mark in this interview that CNN’s Candy Crowley did today with Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, chair of the House intelligence committee.

Here’s what the transcript says. The part that I bring to your attention is in bold.

ROGERS: I’m just saying that there’s a lot of questions we don’t have the answers to, and it goes beyond the bounds of him trying to claim that he’s a whistleblower, which he is not. A whistleblower comes to the appropriate authorities with appropriate classifications so that we can investigate any possible claim. He didn’t do that. He grabbed up information. He made preparations to go to China, and then he collected it up, bolted to China, and then decided he was going to disclose very sensitive national security information, including, by the way, that benefits the Chinese and other adversaries when it comes to intelligence relationships. I just find that that — that doesn’t comport with the story, and it certainly doesn’t comport with the story that the media is portraying about some have called a hero. I think he’s betrayed his country, and he should be treated just like that.

CROWLEY: As a final question, I want to turn to some home grown politics here and ask you about your decision not to run for the Senate…

No, Candy Crowley. Just… no. You do not let Mike Rogers invoke the established procedures for whistleblowers to get a hearing within the system without asking him if he thinks the track record is good for previous whistleblowers who did just that. Because the track record is terrible! This is from a column in The Guardian by Thomas Drake, a whistleblower who did as Rogers recommended:

…in accordance with the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, I took my concerns up within the chain of command, to the very highest levels at the NSA, and then to Congress and the Department of Defense. I understand why Snowden has taken his course of action, because he’s been following this for years: he’s seen what’s happened to other whistleblowers like me.

By following protocol, you get flagged – just for raising issues. You’re identified as someone they don’t like, someone not to be trusted. I was exposed early on because I was a material witness for two 9/11 congressional investigations. In closed testimony, I told them everything I knew – about Stellar Wind, billions of dollars in fraud, waste and abuse, and the critical intelligence, which the NSA had but did not disclose to other agencies, preventing vital action against known threats. If that intelligence had been shared, it may very well have prevented 9/11.

But as I found out later, none of the material evidence I disclosed went into the official record. It became a state secret even to give information of this kind to the 9/11 investigation.

I reached a point in early 2006 when I decided I would contact a reporter. I had the same level of security clearance as Snowden. If you look at the indictment from 2010, you can see that I was accused of causing “exceptionally grave damage to US national security”. Despite allegations that I had tippy-top-secret documents, In fact, I had no classified information in my possession, and I disclosed none to the Baltimore Sun journalist during 2006 and 2007. But I got hammered: in November 2007, I was raided by a dozen armed FBI agents, when I was served with a search warrant. The nightmare had only just begun, including extensive physical and electronic surveillance.

We know that Edward Snowden was aware of this history because he told the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman about it.

Whistleblowers before him, he said, had been destroyed by the experience. Snowden wanted “to embolden others to step forward,” he wrote, by showing that “they can win.”

Here’s what national security reporter James Risen of the New York Times said the same day on Meet the Press about this breezy claim that Snowden should have followed procedure, instead of going public.

JAMES RISEN:
And I think one of the reasons that’s happened and has repeatedly happened throughout the War on Terror is that the system, the internal system for whistle-blowing, for the watchdog and oversight system is broken. There is no good way for anyone inside the government do go through the chain of command and report about something like this. They all fear retaliation, they fear prosecution.
And so most whistleblowers, the really, the only way they now have is to go to the press or to go to someone, go outside like Snowden did. He chose people in the press to go to. He picked and chose who he wanted. But the problem is people inside the system who try to go through the chain of command get retaliated against, punished, and they–
ANDREA MITCHELL:
I–
JAMES RISEN:
–eventually learn not to do it anymore.

The system is broken. (See also this account in USA Today.) So I’m sorry, Candy Crowley, but it is simply not good enough – you are not doing your job well – when you permit Mike Rogers to say what he said about whistleblowers without following up, especially when the topic to which you shifted is how Rogers feels about his decision not to run for Senate. You have to be better prepared. You have to know your stuff. You have to mute your instinct to reduce everything to the next election. This is serious business. We need interviewers who are dead serious about holding people accountable for what they say. So please: get with it.

* * *

Related: Politics: some / Politics: none. Two ways to excel in political journalism. Neither dominates. “Edward Snowden’s decision to leak to Greenwald, and Glenn’s domination of newsland for several days, tells us that politics: none is not the only way of excelling in journalism. It now has to share the stage with politics: some.”

12 Comments

  1. Ken Smith says:

    Maybe this is a good time to recall that John Hersey called journalism “the adversary ferret of errors of judgment in those who govern and command.” (From the foreword to “Into the Valley”)

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    According to ex-IG Walpin in NRO, the IG route isn’t looking too good, either, if you want a salary and a pension.

  3. Robert Schwartz says:

    Mr. Rosen writes that Ms. Crowley “isn’t doing her job well.” That assumes that Ms. Crowley is being paid to inform the American electorate as an effort towards an educated public. It seems that the corporate sponsors of the Sunday Newspin Shows might simply have a different agenda.

  4. Jon Stewart has talked about this in the context of interviewing celebrities: most interviewers aren’t really paying attention to what their subjects are saying. They have a list of questions to get through, and they won’t make a snap decision to change direction based on the words coming out of their subject’s mouth. We’ve seen this a lot lately, even the interviewer who caught Todd Akin saying something totally WRONG just moved on, NEXT QUESTION.

    • 4jkb4ia says:

      TNC immortally said, “When you are Todd Akin, this is just what you do.” If Todd Akin got through that interview without saying anything crazy it would have been a triumph, and the interviewer should have known that because Akin had only represented the St. Louis metro area for 12 years.

  5. Ethan Macdonald says:

    Ditto ROBERT SCHWARTZ’s comment — “doing your job well” cedes a crucial point to Crowley by accepting that she is a journalist, when she is not. (I am not being sarcastic!)

    We are long past the point when we should have strengthened the argument against these fraud journalists by naming them for what they are, instead of referring to them as journalists.

    I am not a biochemist, but there are chemicals called ‘endocrine disruptors’ described as “compounds that can trick the organism’s body into believing that they are supposed to play a role in the body’s functions.” (http://www.d.umn.edu/~bmunson/Courses/Educ4234/Hormones4234.pdf) These disruptors can cause cancer.

    To me this a perfect analogy for this situation — fraud journalists ape the actions of journalists (‘asking the tough questions’, ‘questioning authority’, etc), and the majority of the citizenry cannot tell the difference between these frauds and the real thing.

    An adversarial press is so critical to a healthy democracy that it is sometimes referred to as the ‘4th estate’, meaning a fourth branch of government. We do not have that 4th branch, and the other three are so corruptly ensnarled with each other that at this point an adversarial press would be more like a ‘2nd estate’.

    We have a large number of thoroughly credible true journalists (mostly marginalized) — that’s an important first step!! Next step, change the message.

  6. Rob Cohen says:

    Good post Jay about Candy Crowley ducking any semblance of doing her job as a bona fide journalist and interviewer. I agree with Ethan and Robert that Crowley — being who she is and considering who she works for — was unable to question Mike Roger’s declamation/denunciation of Snowden. Any real riposte by her would have run counter to the official government and Washington position — the approved narrative that Snowden is a defector and traitor. Her silence after Rogers’ claims speaks volumes about how much she is in thrall to her minders. Had she done her job she would almost certainly have been subject to sharp rebuke from her superiors and the Washington political establishment in general. Like most in her position she wants to keep her job, salary, benefits and privileged position. To preserve these perqs she had to toe the line . . . basic self-interest and survival is her chief concern. Now whether Snowden is on the path to defection is a whole other matter. No doubt, the behavior and attitude of the West in the aftermath of Snowden’s leaks and exposures is pushing him in that direction, and will likely continue to.

  7. Abadman says:

    Fast and furious

    Fictious E-mails used by the head of the EPA plus countless others to hide official correspondence

    Pretty much all of the EPA’s actions during this administration

    Bengazi

    IRS scandal

    Surveilance actiona against journalists

    coverups of State Department misdeeds

    “We need interviewers who are dead serious about holding people accountable for what they say.”

    Why now? Other than it is easy.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    I guess Crowley isn’t getting the love for stopping Romney in his tracks on Benghazi during a presidential debate.
    What has she done for you lately?

  9. Paul Heberton says:

    …really now — it’s somehow a big surprise that CNN/CandyCrowley do not practice journalism (?)

    American TV news has not committed any ‘journalism’ for decades (… and little before that). It’s an entertainment medium; content is unimportant, as long as enough viewers tune in to keep it profitable.

    Crowley is a joke — a TV “performer” posing as a journalist.

    (likewise Andrea Mitchell, all the network news anchors, and 90% of TV news reporters).

    Journalism & TV News are direct contradictions.

  10. Digital Blog says:

    Well i agree with the author. Crowley isnt an journalist… just a TV show person :-/

    Digital India

  11. Those who contend for America’s authentic principles find themselves speaking of “establishment” liberals and establishment conservatives.

    Reactions to the surveillance (and in process, the militarist) state demonstrate who these apparatchiks of spirit if not letter, are.