Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted, MSNBC and Fox are going to have to find something else to do with their time. Benghazi never caught the public’s imagination, so we will most likely see a return to the usual summer fare of shark attacks and missing white girls. That would at least be better than echoing the Obama administration’s fanatical focus on Edward Snowden.
The Zimmerman verdict was hardly a surprise, not that the networks failed to do their best to ramp up the drama in anticipation. But the general sense that Zimmerman is guilty of something does not translate to culpability on a specific charge. As much as we may wish otherwise, stupid and foolish are not felonies. That Zimmerman’s silly wannabe-cop persona almost certainly led to an unwarranted death does not change the rules of evidence.
The Benghazi attack was a Fox fixation for months until the network figured out that the public shared neither its obsession with that episode nor its conviction that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were to blame. It seems people actually understood that four dead Americans, while tragic and heartrending for their friends and families, paled in comparison to events occurring every week in Iraq, Afghanistan or Chicago.
In the Snowden case, though, it is not the news networks or the tabloids that are at fault. What is driving that pseudo-scandal is the administration’s increasingly disturbing focus on leaks and secrecy. And with that, the Obama team is doing nothing but handing those who least like this country a stick with which to beat it.
The notion that Russia’s Vladimir Putin or presidents Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia or Ecuador’s Rafael Correa care one whit about Snowden or his purported issues is laughable. None of them is remotely interested in freedom of expression, government transparency or the people’s right to know. Quite the contrary, they are all petty tyrants whose only interest in this case is its usefulness in embarrassing the United States.
In pursuing him, the Obama administration is simply allowing Snowden to extend his 15 minutes of fame and, in the process, make his point. Not only has the republic not collapsed since his disclosures, but few Americans have even noticed. After all, anyone with a healthy sense of cynicism has long assumed the government spies on American citizens. What else does anyone imagine would happen with an entire alphabet soup of federal agencies ostensibly focused on national security? Google Palmer Raids, Hoover or Nixon.
How much better it would be if the administration just let Snowden go to Venezuela and rot. Then we could all get back to our proper summertime focus on shark attacks.