- Snowden is stunned to near-silence, not expecting such a contentious line of questioning from the bespectacled late-night host.
- Part 1: John Oliver Makes Edward Snowden Squirm on ‘Last Week Tonight’
- Part 2: Why John Oliver Can't Find Americans Who Know Edward Snowden's Name (It's Not About Snowden).
Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest
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Part 1: John Oliver Makes Edward Snowden Squirm on ‘Last Week Tonight’
Strangely enough, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight conducted arguably the toughest interview with Edward Snowden, taking him to task on the leaked NSA documents.
Marlow Stern, Daily Beast
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Betty Culver.
04/16/15 | Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked classified NSA documents to the media, thus exposing that American citizens were having their privacy infringed upon by a complex web of global government surveillance programs, has given loads of interviews. He’s even been profiled in Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour.
And it took a comedian to get him to crack.
On Sunday night’s episode of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the droll British satirist renewed his unwavering commitment to practicing real journalism by traveling to Moscow to interview Snowden. The interview was bookended with the series premiere, which featured Oliver interviewing former NSA director Keith Alexander.
Marlow Stern is an entertainment editor and writer for the Daily Beast and holds a masters degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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Part 2: Why John Oliver Can't Find Americans Who Know Edward Snowden's Name (It's Not About Snowden).
A large number of Americans, by choice, are remarkably unaware of virtually all political matters. The befuddled reactions of the Times Square interviewees when asked about Snowden illustrate … a great deal about the full-scale political disengagement of a substantial chunk of the American population.
Glenn Greenwald, Intercept
04/16/2015 | On his HBO program last night, John Oliver devoted 30 minutes to a discussion of U.S. surveillance programs, advocating a much more substantive debate as the June 1 deadline for renewing the Patriot Act approaches (the full segment can be seen here). As part of that segment, Oliver broadcast an interview he conducted with Edward Snowden in Moscow, and to illustrate the point that an insufficient surveillance debate has been conducted, showed video of numerous people in Times Square saying they had no idea who Snowden is (or giving inaccurate answers about him). Oliver assured Snowden off-camera that they did not cherry-pick those “on the street” interviews but showed a representative sample.
Oliver’s overall discussion is good (and, naturally, quite funny), but the specific point he wants to make here is misguided. Contrary to what Oliver says, it’s actually not surprising at all that a large number of Americans are unaware of who Snowden is, nor does it say much at all about the surveillance debate. That’s because a large number of Americans, by choice, are remarkably unaware of virtually all political matters. The befuddled reactions of the Times Square interviewees when asked about Snowden illustrate little about the specific surveillance issue but a great deal about the full-scale political disengagement of a substantial chunk of the American population.
Glenn Greenwald, winner of the Polk Award for national security reporting, is an American columnist, blogger, and author. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013. He was a columnist for Salon.com from 2007 to 2012.
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