Greenwald to BBC: Journalists must investigate the Powerful in Gov’t since they Lie to the People (BBC Surprised)

Glenn Greenwald on the BBC’s Hardtalk seems to surprise the anchor by asserting that journalists need to investigate the powerful since the latter tend to lie to the people.

This is how the BBC describes the program

“Journalist Glenn Greenwald who reported on the data leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden has told HARDtalk it is the job of journalists to investigate the claims of people in power.

Mr Greenwald said the Iraq war was as an example of how the US and UK governments had made “false claims” to gain support for the war.

“People in power, specifically national security officials will routinely lie to their population,” he added.

The video is here:

Posted in Featured | 23 Responses | Print |

23 Responses

  1. Bravo to Mr. Greenwald for standing up to David Sackett, who regularly tries to shout over guests on Hardtalk who attempt to actually express a view based on facts that run counter to the perceived wisdom of what Paul Krugman calls “very serious people.”

    But this behavior isn’t limited to BBC. For example, yesterday the CBC in Canada reported that in the Snowden documents it was learned that during a G8/G20 summit in Toronto in 2010, the NSA set up a command post at the American Embassy in Ottawa to spy on leaders attending the meeting. Yet there wasn’t one mention of this in the New York Times, supposedly America’s newspaper of record. The NSA did this with the connivance of Canada’s own security apparatus, including CSEC and CSIS. By the way, Canadian law prohibits spying on anyone inside Canada and bars the government from outsourcing such spying to others such as the NSA.

    When confronted by reporters, the head of CSEC dodged and weaved but refused to deny the report, in effect lying in precisely the way that Mr. Greenwald said on the show (

    We’re grown accustomed to governments lying about ‘most everything in connection with this story. But people should expect more from supposed “journalists” such as Mr. Sackett, who seems to want to be a government spokesman more than he wants to be a reporter pursuing truth.

    • “Mr. Sackett, who seems to want to be a government spokesman more than he wants to be a reporter pursuing truth.”

      You do realize that the BBC is an organ of the UK government?

      • The BBC is publicly funded but it is supposed to be ‘unbiased’ and educational, and until it was neutered by the current Tory government it could claim that with some credibility.

  2. Mike Pouraryan

    Hopefully his new venture w/Pierre Omidyar will work to do what it can…but the problem is not Governments, it is the cont’d domination of Corporations that is preempting Governments…:-(

    • … and it’s the either lack of will or lack of intelligence of a populace that seems to rarely question anything in the main stream media — newspapers and television.

  3. Toosinbeymen B.

    That this is news to the bbc shows how in thrall they are to their corrupt government and the corrupting influence over them of powerful interests.

  4. Mike Pouraryan

    …In BBC’s defense, they do some great work–for instance, their analysis of the US political scene is dead on….I would take them anytime over Fox News….

  5. Thanks for posting this, Dr. Cole.
    I watched the entire interview. The interviewer borders on being openly hostile. Glenn handled it very well, repeatedly smacking him down.

    I’m grateful Laura, Glenn and Ed for their integrity and bravery.

    Here’s a link to the full interview:
    link to

  6. I enjoy watching all of Greenwald’s interviews. He has a direct way of separating facts and fluff, and reminds people of the way things are ‘supposed’ to work. There can’t be a lot of interviewers out there who look forward to arguing a position that is opposite of his on national television.

  7. I recommend this interview. Clearly Greenwald is calling out those “journalists” who demonstrate unquestioning loyalty for government, as his interviewer does. Greenwald is both courageous and smart; we all owe him a major debt of gratitude.

    • “Greenwald is both courageous and smart; …”

      And he is thoroughly principled which explains why he is able to handle himself so well when he encounters the likes of this BBC interrogator.

      • I thought, at least in the clip, that the BBC moderator was justified in asking Greenwald the questions that he did. I expected Greenwald to answer them. He did.

        • Well, ‘justified’ is a somewhat nebulous term in this situation. What struck me most was that the interviewer was trying to make a big deal out of the idea that officials often lie. As if this was a hugely controversial statement.

          It’s not. Seriously, who in today’s world could plausibly claim that government officials *anywhere* don’t routinely deceive their voters?

          So the interviewer here was trying to frame this in a way that was completely dishonest. He knows that, and he was doing it because there are no credible lines of attack against Greenwald’s actions.

          So the precise questions he was asking are kind of irrelevant. His underlying assumption – that it is outrageous and radical to suggest officials lie – is completely imaginary.

  8. Your right on Glenn. Oh, how power hates the truth. I love to hear you make them listen even if they hasten to end their show because they can’t stand hearing any more. Many of us and more heard you. Keep to your journalistic oath. I want to read and hear more.

  9. This is another example why I have not bought into the one-percent-them-and-the-ninety-nine-percent-us scenario. There is the one percent, but among the other 99% percent there are the courtiers, sycophants and other enablers of the one percent as exemplified by the BBC agent in this piece and countless others in the British and US media who work against the interests of the remainder of the 99%.

    John Pilger has another example from 50 years ago demonstrating the preceding is nothing new: “Fear of the people’s history: England’s two countries” by John Pilger – link to

  10. It is so nice to hear how Mr. Greenwald sealed the mouth of host Stephen Sackur. Many times, he is so arrogant it is unbelievable. He was acting so ignorance as if he did not know how much lies were told by Bush & Blair administration to go to war against Sadam Husain, in which so many innocent Iraqi men, women & children were killed besides their own soldiers.

    Bush administration spends millions of dollars to create falls news by its news department to create falls stories to improve administrations public opinion ratings. Even some mainstream news media like Judith Miller & other on CIA or government payroll to create stories favourable to Bush administration’s image.

    More or less same thing was done in UK. How Stephen Sackur has the gall to try to shut up his guest Mr. Greenwald?

  11. It’s no coincidence we have the same problem in the U.S., and probably other countries as well. Neoliberal and evangelistas have had designs on our public institutions for decades now, and this is just now becoming common knowledge.

  12. Every once in a while a character is strong enough and articulate enough to punch through the fog blown by MSM – Glen Greenwald, Karen Hudes, Tim DeChristopher, Aaron Swarz, Chris Hedges – we need you guys to speak for us.

  13. Mr. Sackett really tried to find something to hang Mr. Greenwald on, sort of like a “grown-up” patiently trying to catch a naughty child in a lie. It’s good Greenwald was trained as a lawyer. It’s disappointing that the focus of the interview was not on the horror of what security organizations are doing but rather on how Mr. Greenwald was daring to stand up to the wonderful state apparatuses that Mr. Sackett seems to trust so implicitly.

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