At Crikey, we’ve built a career holding the powerful to account by publishing inconvenient and controversial truths (even when they’re about us) and exposing the facts other media companies won’t.
In this new occasional segment, we’ll run letters to the editor that were knocked back by other publications. Had your views rejected by the Oz, the tabloids or the Fairfax papers? Send them our way.
First up, this letter binned by The Australian:
Your editorial (“Edward Snowden is no hero“, 16/6) illustrates a crucial difference between journalism and the historical record.
In support of your argument that the whistleblower’s release of US National Security Agency files two years ago was an act of treachery and cowardice, you cite a recent front-page report in the Sunday Times. That story claimed the Snowden material had forced Western intelligence agencies to shut down vital operations, withdraw agents whose lives were now at risk, and had compromised their information-gathering techniques.
But there is not a single confirmed new fact in the whole Sunday Times “expose”. It relies entirely on unsourced quotes from “senior officials”, “senior government sources” and “one senior Home Office official”. In other words, the whole report is based on unverified anonymous leaks. Yet mainstream media outlets around the world — including The Australian — immediately accepted and re-published those assertions as fact.
By contrast, the material obtained by Snowden is direct documentary source material — the stuff of history — released in the belief that the public have the right to make their own unfiltered judgments as to its veracity and significance.
David Salter, Hunter’s Hill, NSW
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