Interview with Jeff Cohen, director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, and he was the founder of the media watchdog FAIR. He is the co-founder of RootsAction.org. He joins us from Ithaca, New York.
WORONCZUK: So, Jeff, what would you say to those who say that encouraging government employees to blow the whistle outside of official channels is going to disrupt the ability of the government to do this kind of surveillance that it needs to protect American citizens against terrorism?
COHEN: Well, what we've learned from Edward Snowden and William Binney and Thomas Drake and all these NSA whistleblowers is, if you go through official channels and just complain to your supervisors, you get reprimanded, that the only way anything changes is if you go outside the system and go to journalists and tell the American public. Edward Snowden's revelations have led to a huge national debate. He tried to go within channels. Earlier NSA whistleblowers did.
You know, we live in a free society still, and journalism is a key check on power. And journalism has always relied on confidential sources who saw something wrong and went to a journalist and said something. We're trying to protect freedom of information, freedom of the press with this campaign to tell whistleblowers–. I mean, to me, if you're an active citizen, it's not enough to vote, it's not enough to back candidates, it's not enough to maybe organize a protest. Part of being an active citizen today in an era of secrecy, surveillance, constant war, part of being an active citizen is getting people inside government, inside big corporations, who see something unethical, see something wrong, see something criminal, to go to a journalist and say something. Continue>>>