In 2014, Edward Snowden made revelations about the mass surveillance program in the United States. In a film directed by Laura Poitras, Edward Snowden, a former employee of the NSA, unearthed how the NSA carries out its surveillance operations. However, these revelations raised concerns among the US citizens, with some criticizing the media for acting irresponsibly when reporting this story. The purpose of this essay is to discuss how the media had covered Edward Snowden’s revelations about the mass surveillance program. The essay also discusses other aspects, including whether the coverage has been adequate and whether the media has been biased. Other aspects covered in the essay include the social and political implications of the NSA spying on American citizens and the responsibilities that the media have in reporting stories like this.
The media acted wrongly by revealing the identity of Edward Snowden, the person responsible for breaking the puzzle of the top secrets of the NSA operations. The Guardian, in particular, compromised the national security of the United States in the face of the global terrorism by covering Edward Snowden’s revelations. The press acted responsibly by disclosing Edward Snowden’s revelations to the US citizens and the world at large. This exposed the journalist to the risk of assassination, and his family ties were disintegrated following the leakages. Other media houses that acted irresponsibly in their coverage of the United States surveillance program included The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and New York Times.
According to the film Citizenfour, Greenwald is regarded as the best reporting journalist (Temesgen). Greenwald has always insisted that there were numerous revelations regarding the US spy program. His words came true as more explosive stories about the US spy program began trickling following his admission. Some of the revelations that were made included the PRISM, foreign nations, and their leaders, XKeyscore program, and hacking team techniques among many others.
According to civil liberties groups, the coverage was not adequate, and analysts considered that the media focused more on the personality rather than the story. Edward Snowden was a patriot by revealing the NSA operations. Thus, the media people could be regarded as traitors. Their focus was to damage Snowden’s personality.
The United States media was biased. It was more political oriented and it did not consider the journalist’s intellectual freedom. According to Citizenfour, the media strived to please the government in their coverage of Edward Snowden’s revelations (Temesgen). In this regard, the media proved to serve the party in power. The major powerhouses in the USA were criticized for tilting in favor of the US government.
The NSA is vested with the role of ensuring that the US citizens are well protected. The NSA does this by carrying out intelligence surveillance on the US citizens. However, the recent NSA exposures have both social as well as political implications on United States’ citizens. The proponents of the NSA spying on the US citizens argue that the secret NSA eavesdropping plays the crucial role of defending against terrorists. The tapping of individual cell phones and computer devices helps to collect, store, and disseminate key security information. Therefore, without surveillance there could be security flaws on the American soil. In the past, the NSA foiled numerous terrorist attacks in the United States. Therefore, there should be no privacy, especially in public places.
Surveillance, on the other hand, compromises the freedoms of the US citizens. The NSA has access to thousands of records of US citizens. In addition, it has the power to tap into internet companies as well as crack the mobile phones of US citizens. However, the information collected by surveillance systems is susceptible to misuse. Reading private information about the US citizens without their knowledge could expose them to more risks.
In conclusion, one should note that security is an important aspect as well as the stability and advancement of the US citizens. In the face of global terrorism, the security of citizens is at a risk. However, the media should play its rightful role when reporting sensitive stories like the mass surveillance program in the United States. First, the media should carry out a risk control checklist. In addition, the staff should adhere to the laid down professional code of conduct. The release of such messages should be monitored and accounted for in order to avoid distortions.
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