With Pentagon Leak, the Press Had Their Source and Ate Him Too

TRACING THE CONCEPT of homo sacer from antiquity to modern life, philosopher Giorgio Agamben cites the ancient Roman lexicographer Festus, who defined the term as someone “whom the people have judged on account of a crime. It is not permitted to sacrifice this man, yet he who kills him will not be condemned for homicide.” Homo sacer is thus an outlaw who is free to be pursued by vigilante lynch mobs but who, crucially, cannot be martyred. The mass media’s treatment of the alleged Pentagon leaker appears to have taken this conceit to heart, codifying him as a justifiable target for persecution, to be “tracked” and “hunt[ed] down.”

Over and over, the mainstream press has employed a rhetoric of exclusion, stripping the leaker bare of any protections that might be afforded to a whistleblower. He is not, they tell us ad nauseum, an Edward Snowden or a Chelsea Manning. “It does not seem to involve a principled whistleblower, calling attention to wrongdoing or a coverup,” according to a Washington Post editorial. The “far-right” is incorrectly calling him a whistleblower, claims the New York Times. This view lets the outlet chastise those who attribute different motives to the alleged leaker, Jack Teixeira, while simultaneously distancing itself from the “far-right,” despite its own notably pro-law enforcement slant.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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