John Cusack Bashes Media Coverage of Edward Snowden

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 2 2013 1:20 PM

John Cusack Has Had It up to Here With the Establishment Media

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John Cusack attends the Roger Ebert Memorial Tribute at the Chicago Theatre on April 11, 2013, in Chicago. We don't know what Ebert would have said about the NSA scandal, but we know what Cusack has to say.

Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

In a call with reporters hosted by the Freedom of the Press Foundation on Tuesday, board member John Cusack expressed his umbrage with the media's "character assassination" of Edward Snowden and neglect of The Real Issues.

"Why are the red and blue elites in the establishment press so afraid of an informed public?" he asked rhetorically. "Why do they keep changing the subject?" "Have the establishment media been so co-opted by government access that they’ve lost all sense of proportionality?"

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Had Cusack spoken with members of Congress about the NSA programs? No, but he hoped his role with the foundation would "shine a spotlight" on the issue—or rather, the meta-issue of why cable TV isn't paying enough attention to it.

"These are not subtle facts, and yet what we hear about from the press are the alleged character deficits of the whistle-blowers," Cusack said. "This is the oldest trick in the book."

Also on the call were reps from Mozilla (the only browser not asked to comply with the PRISM program), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Restore the Fourth, a 23-day-old organization started by Reddit users. The latter group has planned 90 pro-privacy rallies across the country for July Fourth, and yet another grass-roots group, Stop Watching Us, has collected some 500,000 signatures to "demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs."

Toward the end of the call, another reporter asked why Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn were absent on this issue—liberal celebrities, after all, discuss these sorts of matters at their weekly coffee klatch.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

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