And I'm trying to figure out the difference between me, Krugman, and Greenwald.
I post on this otherwise largely overlooked blog. If a former NSA employee came to me and wanted me to publish his/her stolen secrets, could I claim the magic privileges accorded to journalists?
But up until he got a gig with the Guardian, Greenwald was a blogger. Now he writes a column for that paper, in which he does nothing more than express his opinion, usually based on some current news item. Paul Krugman writes a column for the New York Times, in which he does nothing more than express his opinion, usually based on some current news item. And, of course, like Greenwald I am a lawyer, and like both of them, I publish my opinion, usually based on some current news item. Krugman is a college professor. If Ben Bernanke came to Krugman with juicy inside info on the Federal Reserve and Krugman got the NYT by-line on a news article, would Krugman now be a journalist?
What about if he just posted it on his NYT blog?
Which of us is a journalist?
One attempt at definition is that a journalist is someone with an editor. Paul Krugman has an editor. I don't. Guess I'm out. But is Greenwald a journalist, and Krugman not? And what difference does it make?
I don't think journalists have any special legal protections (this is one reason Obama started pushing a shield law), but Greenwald does and he sure wants 'em now. Nobody suspects Barton Gellman of aiding a felon, but Gellman hasn't been in Hong Kong hobnobbing with Snowden. I assume Greenwald didn't go all that way to talk to Snowden on Skype.
So is Greenwald a journalist? Does he have a magic legal shield Krugman and I don't? If he doesn't, why does anybody think David Gregory asked the wrong question? Especially when he made this comment:
Gregory replied that "the question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you're doing," but added that he was merely posing a question others have asked, and not "embracing anything."Greenwald is a noted and vociferous supporter of Julian Assange. Wikileaks says they are helping Edward Snowden. Did Greenwald's support of Assange lead him to want to help the next Assange before criminal charges were filed? Greenwald has clearly wanted this story to affect U.S. government policy. I can't say the same for Barton Gellman, or for David Gregory. Greenwald is free to support whomever he wants, but is Greenwald a journalist because a newspaper publishes his opinions? Did Snowden contact Greenwald because of the latter's support for Assange? Did Greenwald help Snowden in any way in Hong Kong, or even to get to Hong Kong?
It's a fair question.
But before we answer that, can somebody please explain to me just who the hell a "journalist" is, and what kind of special protections they get? 'Cause I can't figure out how Glenn Greenwald is anything; except opinionated.