Well, it has happened AGAIN. They have given the ‘gate’ suffix to another political controversy. Now we have ‘Snoopgate’. Uggghhhh. Frankly, Snoop is too close to Snoopy for me and I’ll have trouble taking this one seriously. Maybe they could have instead come up with something a little more impactful, like WireTapGate or TapGate or SneakGate…

This whole deal, and the SneakGate name, though, brings to mind the movie, Sneakers. It’s good if you haven’t seen it, by the way. Anyway, the plot for Sneakers has the main characters going up against the NSA (and the mob) in a good guys vs. bad government type of story. Another recent movie that dealt with the bad guy NSA (No Such Agency) theme was Mercury Rising. A third movie was the very entertaining Will Smith movie, Enemy of the State. In fact, there are lots of movies in which the National Security Agency is portrayed in a very unfavorable light. If there’s a movie plot where they’ve been cast as the good guy, I sure can’t think of it.

(By the way, merely mentioning the NSA will surely get this blog flagged for seditious content. Reading this content implies your agreement with the attitudes contained within and obligates you to bail me out of jail. Better start sending around the collection plate now.)

So, why is this latest political scandal such a big deal? Why is SnoopGate news? We KNOW unequivocally that the government spies on us. Big Brother is and has always been watching. Our civil liberties are always overtly and covertly in play. We’re fooling ourselves if we think that the spooks haven’t always been spying. And, we’re fooling ourselves if we think that the spooks will stop spying as a result of SnoopGate. Thankfully the movies have raised our awareness of the NSA and their propensity for domestic intelligence gathering.

No, it’s news for two reasons. The first reason is because there is a political reason for making it news. There are those that believe, apparently, that the huddled masses can be counted upon to do believe exactly what they are led to believe. While there may not be an actual concerted conspiracy at work, it is suspicious whenever these types of things come to light. All of a sudden these types of stories just appear across the collective consciousness. They ‘tip’. They explode. They become part of the political process. And, politically, incidents and scandals present opportunities for the chinks in someone’s/anyone’s armor to be targeted.

Secondly, it’s news for business reasons. The news organizations need the ever constant churn of scandal and controversy in order to keep their audiences coming back. They need the stories to attract the advertisers. They need the revenue. How can there be objective journalism within a publicly held company? Why is this news now and today given the length of time it has been occurring? It was JUST discovered? Baloney. It is news now because there is no other news now. Next week it’ll be something else instead making the headlines…

And, in regards to the response from those in charge, the stance is a little comical. First, the tactic is one of outrage the ‘secret club’s secret handshake’ has been revealed (speaking of sedition). Then the tactic changed to one of ‘indignant self righteous morally superior we know better than you and a good defense is a good offense’ instead. Spin the spin the spin the spin the spin the spin. What we are finding out is that instead of being confined to a bubble and isolated from the world, the prez is in fact sitting in a control room with lots of incoming electronic communications. One can envision a room of many computer and TV monitors, red green and yellow fones, and lots of shiny plastic buttons. Omniscient, omnipotent and all behind the scenes for our benefit. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…”

But, who’s watching the spooks watching the spooks watching the spooks?

Don’t forget about bailing me out of the pokey.

Copyright (c) 2005 The Jamoker. All rights reserved.