6. The surveillance state. Despite what Time magazine decided, the person of the year clearly was the whistleblower Edward J. Snowden, and the story of the year was the far-reaching, secretive, everyday surveillance of Americans and many others by the United States government. (Not every news organization shares my view; ABC News’s Monday night look-back at 2013 managed to feature Batkid, at some length, but Snowden not at all.) The continued persecution of leakers and the press is a related issue of great importance, and the federal government’s misguided insistence on pursuing Times reporter James Risen is just one part of that, an affront to the First Amendment.
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Perhaps the challenge most important to the democracy in 2014 is to push back harder, to put the weight of The Times behind that push through every means possible: the legal battles as they arise or continue, the bully pulpit of editorials, the revealing light of aggressive news reporting.
– Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor at the New York Times.
- Best columnist of the year (digbysblog.blogspot.com)