NPR's Talking-Head List on Manning the Massive Leaker? Left, Left, and Left

He may have committed the largest and most reckless  leak of national-security information in America’s history, but Bradley Manning had a happy Monday at National Progressive Radio. NPR’s Morning Edition ran a story by reporter Carrie Johnson that contained absolutely no one who could see Manning in a critical light.

Johnson began: “In the three years since his arrest, the slight Army private with close-cropped blond hair and thick military glasses has become less of a character than a cause.” It’s a cause NPR believes in.

The first expert was Elizabeth Goitein of the leftist Brennan Center, who tried to sound neutral at first: “People either think that he is a hero, or they think he's a traitor. I actually think that he is somewhere in between.”

But in reality, Goitein thinks the government is guiltier than Manning: it’s far too aggressive in “over-classifying” information, at least according to her progressive tastes, which makes her sympathize with Manning’s tastes: "I think this case really does illustrate one of the harms of over-classification, which is that when people, day in and day out, who are working with classified information see that there are so many documents that are completely innocuous that are classified, they lose respect for the system."

Johnson then dug into the archives for warmed-over soundbites from a rally last year from Manning’s defense lawyer and other leftist Manning backers.  "Bradley Manning's supporters say he deserves an award for blowing the whistle on war crimes, civilian casualties and torture. Instead, they say, he was abused by the U.S. military, which held him in solitary confinement for months in a brig in Virginia."

In an old clip, defense lawyer David Coombs claimed: “Brad's treatment at Quantico will forever be etched, I believe, in our nation's history as a disgraceful moment in time.”

Then came lawyer Eugene Fidell, a regular NPR expert witness against the Bush administration’s war on terror. He’s the husband of longtime liberal New York Times legal reporter Linda Greenhouse.

Fidell was judging the government and how its failings “undermine public confidence,” unlike Manning’s crimes: “The unanswered question is why this train has run so badly off the tracks....It's unfolding at a time that may be a tipping point for the military justice system generally. And what I'm talking about specifically is the widespread consternation and dismay about how the military justice system deals with an entirely unrelated type of criminality, which is sexual assault.”

Johnson concluded with an old clip from the pro-Manning rally by Michael Ratner, a lawyer for the radical-left Center for Constitutional Rights: “You get no access to any of the court documents, except the defense documents which David Coombs has been able to put up -- none of the court orders, none of the motions filed, nothing. And I'm a lawyer, and I sit in that courtroom, and it seems like a completely secret proceeding to me.”


Even online, NPR illustrated the story with a photograph of radical protesters in their Guy Fawkes masks, holding up signs hailing Manning for exposing U.S. "war crimes." NPR couldn't find ten seconds of sound from someone who could criticize Manning for damaging the country's security without even reading everything he leaked. Once again, a government-subsidized news service seems to operate on the principle that it is their duty to shred the “national security state,” which makes them an ally of Manning and every other “anti-war idealist.”

NPR deeply needs a Bradley Manning to leak all its internal records, so we could test their devotion to freedom of information.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis