by Max Brantley
Good column by Glenn Greenwald on criticism Anderson Cooper has received for pointedly — and accurately — describing lies told by Hosni Mubarak as lies. I'm with Greenwald in support of news people who reject the false balancing act of he saids/she saids when either he or she is blatantly lying. Referring to critics of Cooper, Greenwald wrote:
That these establishment journalists believe that pointing out the lies of powerful political leaders is "not their role" — indeed, is a violation of the rules that govern what they do — explains a large part of the failings of both America's media class and its political class. Ironically, David Gregory is ultimately right that doing this is "not his role"; he's not paid by NBC News and its owners to alert the American citizenry to lies told by the U.S. Government (i.e., he's not paid to be an adversarial journalist). He's there to do the opposite: to vest those lies with respect and depict them as reasonable statements to be subjectively considered along with the truth. But it's in these moments when they are so candid about what their actual role is — or when they attack people like Cooper for the rare commission of actual journalism — that they are at their most (unintentionally) informative.