The question is who decides. It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government. No doubt the government will usually be overprotective of its secrets, and so the process of decision-making — whatever it turns out to be — should openly tilt in favor of publication with minimal delay. But ultimately you can’t square this circle. Someone gets to decide, and that someone cannot be Glenn Greenwald.Glenn Greenwald is a jerk, so he doesn't get to decide. Was Daniel Ellsberg a jerk? Gotta determine that before we decide if it was kosher for him to leak the Pentagon Papers.
It's a given that the government thinks it should be the final arbiter of what citizens should or shouldn't know. Governments do things that the public won't like, hence it keeps that shit under wraps.
But it has been the traditional role of the media to ferret out those excesses. That's the whole point behind the "fourth estate" formulation; the news media as independent watchdogs.
But here we have a journalist, Michael Kinsley, surrendering that role entirely. And worse yet, has those sentiments endorsed by a who's who of the Beltway media elite—Jonathan Alter, Jonathan Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Gregory, Ron Fournier, John Harwood, Charles Lane, Alexander Nazaryan, and others.
I've always contended that obsessing over the personalities was a disservice to the NSA Snowden revelations. It never should've been about Snowden or Greenwald or any other person. The focus should've always been on the leaks.
Now we see just how corrosive those obsessions have been. Some guy is a jerk, so let's scratch out that whole "freedom of the press" thing and give the government control of newsrooms!
Luckily, those assholes don't get to make that choice. Or better yet, they can decide to play by those rules if they want to stay chummy with their bureaucrat pals and retain their precious access, but no one else has to.