February 17, 2015
Described as the finest media reporter of his generation, remarkable and funny, and a leader in the newsroom, New York Time‘s columnist David Carr, 58, was remembered by his colleagues after he collapsed in the newsroom and died suddenly last Thursday night.
Earlier in the evening on the day Carr died, he had moderated a TimesTalks discussion of CitizenFour, the Oscar nominated documentary about whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the man who gave up life as he knew it to expose the global surveillance program perpetrated by the United States government.
“For now, know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, site you visit, subject line you type, is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but who’s safeguards are not. In the end if you publish this source material I will likely be immediately implicated.” – Edward Snowden, CitizenFour
The discussion panel was comprised of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first published Snowden’s findings, Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer prize-winning director Laura Poitras, and Edward Snowden, who attended via live video feed from Russia.
Watch Carr’s last interview:
During the interview, Carr asked Snowden how he felt about putting his life at stake.
“I think everyone involved has paid some cost or another,” Snowden humbly replied. “I can’t live with my family nowadays, I can’t go back to my home.. there’s a lot of things, but it’s incredibly satisfying to be a part of something larger than yourself. And there is a tremendous sense of peace that comes from doing what you believe is the right thing to do.”
Later, Carr asked Greenwald about our world ranking in relation to freedom of the press.Reporters Without Borders finds that the United States sits in the high 40’s in the rankings; edged out by El Salvador, Botswana, and France, just to name a few. The ranking of some countries has been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies, such as the United States.
“We are leading the free world from the rank of 49.” Greenwald commented sarcastically.
Also mentioned, Snowden waited before he leaked the NSA’s spying protocol. He wanted to see what Obama was really all about, if he was truly serious about a transparent presidency or not. Carr had also wondered. They came to the conclusion that Obama’s administration is the worst in our history in terms of transparency.
During the interview’s wrap-up, free options that ordinary citizens can use to keep their privacy more secure by protecting their transmissions were mentioned, such as phone encryption and the TOR browser.
Snowden then candidly reminded watchers that if the government targets you specifically, they won’t just catch things as they pass by on the Internet, they will embed themselves into your devices; your smart phone, your computer, even ‘your new Samsung tv, they’re listening to you as it sits in your living room.’
Snowden insisted that we need to create standards that protect everyone and we need to enforce them. Also, we need to enforce our rights. Snowden called on companies like Googleand Facebook to stand up and protect their users rights, saying, “If the government wants to investigate someone, they need to do it the old-fashioned way.”
An autopsy has since revealed that David Carr died from complications from lung cancer and heart disease. His conversational, analytic, and humorous writing style will be missed by his readers and colleagues. He was a reporter’s reporter, Carr didn’t just write about journalism — he practiced it, taking on media heavyweights with in-depth pieces that exposed wrongdoing.
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