I lurk. I lurked here for almost the whole life of this site until recently. I also was lurking at Americablog since before the Gannon/Guckert expose in 2005. It remained one my top sites up to late last year when I relegated it to the back pages. I missed Chris in Paris' blogs, I was finding myself only wanting to read Gaius Publius, and it was becoming more of a post a funny/cute/interesting video page. But today I went there and saw this:Edward Snowden's George Zimmerman Moment and instantly had to go to the comments to see what people were saying.
In the first place I thought the Zimmerman comment, prominent in the title, jumped the shark. Let me get this straight, Edward Snowden continuing to talk about the security state's illegal spying is the same as George Zimmerman (who murdered an innocent unarmed teenager) making multiple appearances claiming media attention was ruining his life? In the article I expected hyperbole, unsupported and unsupportable assumptions, and character assassination, but the amount of commenters who acted like they really knew Snowden's character, his motivations, and his intentions surprised me. As I commented on the thread (as a guest, because I'm a lurker, remember?), it was as if Maureen Dowd and the cast of Mean Girls had taken over the thread. Petty, vindictive, ad hominem attacks.
I posted the following comment: "What is wrong with all you people? I had no idea that Americablog had so many NSA lovers. He's smug. There's something off. Yeah, let's make lots of little ad hominem attacks on the messenger (based on nothing but your badly informed opinion) and ignore the message. You are all such amazing patriots! How about the 'why didn't he work through official channels?' bullshit. C'mon, you need to step it up and protect the security state from this evil man."
To his credit, John replied. But this is when I seriously considered no longer paying attention to his blog. "If the messenger wants us to focus on the message then he should stop with the self-aggrandizing appearances at conferences, letters to foreign governments, appearances on state television that back up dictators and more. Snowden is a big boy, he knew what he was doing when he stole American state secrets. And he knows what he's doing when he helps prop up a dictators. If folks want us to focus solely on the message and not the messenger, then someone needs to tell the messenger to stfu, because he's doing the cause a lot of damage."
Snowden needs to STFU. He made his point and now should stop advocating for the cause he sacrificed so much for. If he goes on TV it's "self-aggrandizing" and how dare he write letters to foreign leaders! And the faux concern for the "cause" by someone who believes Snowden "stole state secrets", as if the state wasn't classifying everything illegal they were doing as 'state secrets' so no one would know.
My reply: "So he needs to be silenced because he had his chance to speak? Are all the appearances you make 'self-aggrandizing'? Not allowed to write letters to foreign governments? Haven't you been on Fox? What the hell were you propping up? Are you aware of what you are writing or are in the midst of an anger fueled lizard brain moment? He should shut up? WTF? The "cause" you obviously care so much about--with your 'he stole American state secrets'. I guess if the state calls them secrets than the public has no right to know. Very disappointing."
John proceeded in the thread to compare Snowden to Mel Gibson (yes, really), and when it was pointed out that the Guardian had posted an article by Snowden explaining why he did the interview with Putin (with the commenter requesting John reply to the article and apologize), Aravosis pointed to the following more recent post and noted he responded but it was no apology. Not surprising, as it was clear he made up his mind on this a long time ago and would spin anything into his "Is Snowden a traitor or a lying doucebag?" debate. Snowden was no longer having a "Zimmerman moment", and was now "Power's Bitch." Power's bitch: Snowden responds to criticism of TV appearance with Putin
Read it if you must, but I'm going to move on from this and Americablog shortly. Appropriately enough John compares his cartoon version of Snowden to a cartoon with some made up dialogue attached--which, of course, makes Snowden sound like an idiot. If you can't find video of him saying what you want him to say, why not put some words in his mouth? He assails Snowden for not being a journalist, and thinks getting Putin to lie on Russian television was cowardly (would like to see John try it when he's trapped in Russia with no American passport). I guess he thought Sen. Wyden was cowardly too when he got Clapper to lie in front of the public.
I'm not sure of where the bias and loathing in these posts come from, but I can assure you that John Aravosis knows nothing of Snowden's character, or his motivations, or his intentions. However, despite his lack of mind reading powers John, and far too many of the commenters on Americablog, believe they know exactly what's going on in Snowden's head and are upset that he's not acting the way they want him to.
I like some of the cute videos, but that's not why I visited the site over the years. I'm not dogmatic--if there are interesting links from Americablog I come across elsewhere I will read them--but I will no longer regularly visit his site, and it's no longer bookmarked. It was fun while it lasted. Thank you Americablog for many years of providing me with useful and interesting information, may you find your way back into the light.