Getting the story straight: how did the MSM get it so wrong?

There is an innordinate and irrational fear about privacy that drives FUD mongering stories. One way to tell is that the stories are often hyperbolic, exagerated, and even blatantly wrong. Ed Bott illustrates the phenomena in regards to the recent NSA PRISM stories.

“That absence of an independent tech check means both publications got the story wrong, as subsequent reporting by other journalists with experience in these topics has confirmed. These are not trivial details, nor is this a matter of semantics. We’re not quibbling over words. If you don’t understand the technical workings of these surveillance programs, you can’t understand whether they’re working as intended, you can’t identify where the government has overstepped its bounds, and you can’t intelligently debate the proper response. The fact that the government has maintained rigid secrecy compounds the problem.”

Who cares is a source is giving away classified and secret information? Who cares if large tech companies get slandered?

“The system described in the PRISM presentation appears to be an automated way to process those FBI and NSA requests. It’s clearly not an open doorway into any of those companies’ servers, as The Guardian and the Post originally alleged. 

The nine companies listed in the PRISM slide deck are there because they offer widely used communication services, most of them free.

The botched reporting by the Guardian and the Post means that millions of readers directed their anger at a handful of big companies that were unfairly accused of selling out their customers to the national security apparatus. The reality is that if NSA surveillance is indeed overstepping its bounds, those companies are victims, not willing participants.”

Anything for a good story, it seems, especially if it trashes the U.S. and large corporate entities. After all, 9/11 and the Boston Bombing were just minor criminal activities and there is no ‘war on terror’ or global ideological conflict laced with significant violence against the innocent.

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