Public Radio Show Oozes Edward Snowden Was ‘Bigger Than A Rock Star’ In Videolink Event With ACLU

Leftists and libertarians who join them in their “national security state” rhetoric love Edward Snowden for leaking thousands of classified documents to leftist journalist Glenn Greenwald and to The Washington Post, exposing and compromising U.S. surveillance programs. 

On Monday night, the public radio show “The World” – distributed to NPR stations across America by Minneapolis-based Public Radio International – oozed online that Snowden was “bigger than a rock star” in his appearance at an ACLU event at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. That same line was announced by anchorman Marco Werman:

WERMAN: The biggest event at the South by Southwest Conference didn’t involve a band, but it did involve a rock star. All right, a rock star of the digital world, anyway. South by Southwest is not just a music festival. It’s an interactive venue to discuss the latest in tech. And that’s why former NSA contractor Edward Snowden made an appearance today via a videolink from Russia. He spoke on a panel about privacy moderated by the American Civil Liberties Union. Behind him on the screen: an image of the U.S. Constitution.

Werman asked producer Stephen Davy how it came across:

DAVY: I have to say, Snowden is taking over – he took over all of Austin this morning.

WERMAN: What about the people in the room? Did they view him more as a criminal, or as a rock star?

DAVY: I have to say, Marco, definitely a rock star.

Online, producer Bradley Campbell elaborated on the lovefest:

The crowd was Snowden's type of people — the hackers, the people working on net neutrality and advocacy — according to Davy. A couple of times, the crowd interrupted him with applause during the session. Snowden even ended the panel like a rocker finishing a set: “Thank you! Thank you Austin!” he said.

Davy says it’s hard to know if there were any dissenters in the crowd. The ACLU lobbed him softball questions, Davy notes, and the ones coming from Twitter didn’t seem to challenge what he did, either.


For example, no one challenged him when he said the NSA missed its chance to prevent the Boston bombings, due to its preoccupation with collecting meta-data.

Snowden sparked some strong reactions when he was asked about the future of the Internet. He says the NSA is setting fire to it — arguing that massive data collection will turn the Internet into a controlled universe where the giant tech companies collude with the NSA in all matters.

Davy says the crowd listened attentively to his cautionary words. It is, after all, a group of people who care deeply about the Internet and its future.

Nowhere in this segment, either on air or online, acknowledged that Snowden and his biggest fans are radical leftists. Instead, they are just described as people who "care deeply about the Internet and its future." As opposed to people who "care deeply about America and its future."

No one seemed to discuss how it was that this "rock star" for global freedom was sitting in judgment of America from Russia as it invades sovereign nations.

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