Breaking: CNN Now Officially Out of News
CNN publishes fact -, news-free story fawning over hacker/informant Adrian Lamo, who turned in whistleblower Bradly Manning
It’s official, guys. CNN has run out of news. Turn off the lights and lock the door — they’re spent. What else could explain their decision to write a fawning article about Adrian Lamo, the publicity-craving hacker who turned in Pfc Bradley Manning — the alleged leaker of the Apache helicopter massacre video and the latest Afghan war logs — that provides absolutely no new information on the subject? I mean, look at this lead.
A California hacker said he doesn’t regret going to federal officials to show them alleged confessions an Army private made about leaking more than 90,000 documents that reveal secret information about U.S. war strategy.
Adrian Lamo spoke to CNN from the Sacramento Public Library, where he was trying to get away from reporters and a throng of people who, he said, are angry with him. [emphasis added.]
This story broke in mid June. Now, a full month and a half later, CNN runs a story that adds no new information or analysis and portrays Adrian Lamo as a publicity shy whistle-blower. The man issues press releases to announce he’ll be making an announcement for christssakes.
The rest of the article goes on to fawn over Lamo, calling him a “superstar” with a “boyish, soft mug,” then allowing him to spread evidence-free innuendo about potential co-conspirators of Manning. The author doesn’t include a single critical word about Lamo, instead painting him as a reluctant patriot compelled by his conscience to turn over information critical to national security.
There is no mention of Lamo’s long and controversial history with Kevin Poulsen, the Wired reporter who broke the initial story. As Glenn Greenwald wrote:
Actually, over the years, Poulsen has served more or less as Lamo’s personal media voice. Back in 2000, Poulsen would quote Lamo as an expert source on hacking. That same year, Poulsen — armed with exclusive, inside information from Lamo — began writing about Lamo’s various hacking adventures. After Lamo’s conviction, Poulsen wrote about his post-detention battles with law enforcement and a leaked documentary featuring Lamo. As detailed below, Lamo is notorious in the world of hacking for being a low-level, inconsequential hacker with an insatiable need for self-promotion and media attention, and for the past decade, it has been Poulsen who satisfies that need.
If yesterday’s CNN story is in fact a “character piece” or something — because there’s no conceivable way it could qualify as “reporting” — then the omission of Lamo and Poulsen’s shared history is glaring and substantial, though not surprising in the least.
Also left out of the CNN story is Lamo’s acknowledgment that he presented himself to Manning as an ordained minister and as a journalist, both of which would have compelled him to keep their chats private. There is also strong circumstantial evidence that Manning had LGBT-related identity issues which Lamo may have used as a way of connecting with the lonely, lost soldier.
None of this can be known for sure until Wired publishes the full chat logs.
Out of curiosity, I searched for other articles written by Ashley Fantz, the reporter responsible for yesterday’s propaganda piece. Turns out she’s not a very good reporter! Hahahahaha, what a surprise. Look at this article, from August, 2008, right before the Democratic National Convention. The headline reads: The columns… it’s all a bit much, say conservatives. What a worthwhile point!
The short piece does little other than regurgitate claims from the most repulsive, fact-free corners of the internet. Managing to quote The American Thinker, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Bennet (I can’t type that name without locking my jaw), The National Review, and the GOP’s official website in under 800 words is an accomplishment of such horrifying proportions it almost defies analysis. The problem with an article like that — and with CNN, et al generally — is that they’ll respond, “we’re just reporting on what’s happening.” No. You’re not. You’re being used be crazy right-wing fringes to disseminate their message of fear. And the point isn’t that the 2008 article should have contained more Democrats pushing back, saying, Our stage is in fact awesome, suck it. Stage dressing is not news, and the only adult way to respond to Limbaugh’s bitching about some goddamn columns is to call him a pill-popping adulterer with enough money to retire, so shut up already.
Remember, before the crash, when the fucking props at a political theater event were a source of controversy? It was ridiculous then, and even more ridiculous now. This reporter is building quite a portfolio on anti-news stories. I can’t wait for her memoir, Blind and Deaf in the Decline of the American Empire. It’ll be a real page turner, by which I mean you’ll keep turning pages looking for information about the world but you won’t find any.
I understand that this reporter is on assignment from CNN, she’s trying to make a living, whatever. But the thing is, even if she would rather have written a better story — and there’s absolutely no evidence that that’s the case — her name is still attached to these two monuments to distraction. That’s your legacy. Can you think of any worse reason to become a journalist than to say, I wrote two godawful and destructive stories for CNN?
Of all the journalistic failures of the past decade, the two examples cited here are fairly trivial. That said, the failures of this piece are so widespread that it deserves to be discussed and then dismissed. CNN, man, how bad are they, right?
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