Focus on the Leaks, Not on Snowden

Ben Smith wonders why the leaker has become the story
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2013 1:28 PM CDT
Focus on the Leaks, Not on Snowden
This image made available by the Guardian newspaper in London shows NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.   (AP Photo/The Guardian, Ewen MacAskill)

Before the 24-hour news cycle, sources used to be just that—sources who perhaps revealed stories that were interesting, but who were not actually interesting themselves. Journalists often didn't even like their sources, but they liked the scoops those sources provided. That's all changed now, and Edward Snowden is the perfect example: He has become the story, as evidenced by the breathless coverage of his whereabouts. The fact that he's fleeing, rather than facing the US justice system, has raised the question of whether his actions can fairly be called "civil disobedience." But, writes Ben Smith at BuzzFeed, who cares?

"Snowden’s personal story is interesting only because the new details he revealed are so much more interesting," Smith writes. "We know substantially more about domestic surveillance than we did, thanks largely to stories and documents printed by the Guardian. They would have been just as revelatory without Snowden’s name on them." It's time for journalists to get back to caring less about their sources' motives than they do about their sources' information—and for the public to do the same. Click for Smith's full column. (Read more Edward Snowden stories.)

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