A little while back, I advised that we should beware feting the Guardian for its role in the Edward Snowden revelations. This is what I wrote:
But please be careful about investing too much faith in the Guardian’s position. Whatever the view of the individual journalists at the paper (especially Greenwald), the Guardian as a large media corporation has no loyalty to Snowden or the truth – any more than it did with Assange. Its market niche is liberal-left, and its decision to publish the Snowden leaks was essentially a commercial one based on its audience’s interests. Its need to maintain the credibility of its own role in this saga drives much of its current coverage. But the Guardian as corporation is already happily allowing the trivia to dominate and an editorial is calling for Snowden to go back the US (where he will be silenced). Over time, I would expect to see a lot of slippage in the Guardian’s position on this issue, as its commercial advantages from pushing Snowden’s agenda diminish and it naturally gravitates towards the rest of the media pack. We idolise the Guardian at our peril.
That warning came to mind as I read an astute piece in the WSWS about the Guardian’s subtle but continuous undermining of Snowden’s right to seek status as the world’s foremost refugee from political persecution. He should “face the music by returning to the US” and his credibility is apparently undermined by his association with Putin’s Russia, according to the paper.
Imagine the Guardian arguing that a Chinese dissident return to China to “face the music”; or that a Chinese dissident had lost credibility through their association with the US, known for its drone attacks on civilians, its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its crimes against humanity in refusing to curb carbon emissions that are destroying the planet. Unthinkable!