Americans are sick of politics — National politics have been dominating the news lately, and as Salena Zito reports for Real Clear Politics, Americans are tired of it. The piece opens with an overheard couple at a restaurant in Dupont Circle deciding which tourist stop to visit next. Though they had two “Obama for America” tote bags with them, they made it clear the White House was not a place they wanted to see. They instead chose museums and other sites that had nothing to do with politics. Instead of partisan fatigue that occurs frequently in a party’s second term in the White House, Zito says the country is suffering from a bipartisan political fatigue. Starting with the 2012 election cycle, national politics has saturated the media. There was the fiscal cliff dilemma, the controversial gun control bill and now the news cycle is being consumed with the growing list of government scandals. Unfortunately for the sanity of Americans, it doesn’t look like political scandal coverage is going anywhere soon.
How “Verax” leaked NSA information — Speaking of government scandals dominating the news cycle, the newest scandal involving the NSA’s secret surveillance of Americans through large private communications companies has been in the spotlight since the news broke last week. And as of Sunday afternoon, the whistleblower who leaked the information has dominated the headlines as he came forward and identified himself as Edward Snowden. WaPo’s Barton Gellman details his communication with Snowden, or, as Gellman knew him for a while, Verax. The code name is Latin for “truth teller.” The 29-year-old used BRASSBANNER as a code name for Gellman and decided that getting the information out was worth risking being jailed for the rest of his life. Snowden leaked information to the reporter about the data mining operation PRISM, which collects surveillance data from Microsoft, Google, Facebook and other large communications companies, as well as giving Gellman a 41-slide powerpoint detailing the program. WaPo published only four of the 41 slides out of concern for national security. While waiting for the newspaper to consult with government officials to determine the national security risks, Snowden contacted Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, who broke the story on the NSA’s secret collection of Verizon phone data on Wednesday. Snowden is now seeking asylum in a country with “strong internet and press freedoms,” and hopes global reaction to the leak will be positive so that a country will offer him asylum. If not, he says, he understands he may be behind bars for the rest of his life, but he’s alright with that.
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Twitter users take NSA Scandal to Hollywood — The NSA surveillance scandal is currently dominated the news media, but it hasn’t made it to Hollywood yet. Rare’s Brett Decker writes that Americans who are angered by the secret surveillance are using humor to “release steam” and as a political weapon, and Twitter is a thriving channel for this. Decker lists 25 examples of the recent #ReplaceMovieTitlesWithWiretap trend, including “Honey, I Wiretapped the Kids,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Wiretaps” and “Where the Wiretaps Are,” among others.