There are two related posts that have recently gone up that are must reads, and I've only seen a bit of both. First, check out Gerard Van der Leun at American Digest. Then check out Gagdad Bob at ShrinkWrapped. Here's a sample from Gagdad Bob:
[T]hese men are not just driven by the usual ideological or venal motives, which is what makes them all the more dangerous and all the more able to live in denial of what they do. That is, they are perverts who enjoy the thrill of betrayal and the rush of stripping away the veil--any veil, whether it is the veil of decency or a veil of security. As Van der Leun writes, they “really enjoy how it feels. And they enjoy it, they revel in the pleasure of it, at the level of bodily sensations parallel to that of the orgasm. In common parlance, ‘they get off on it.’” The joy obviously doesn’t come from the journalistic aspect--which is dubious at best--but from the transgressive component. It is the transgression that creates the perverse pseudo-journalistc thrill.
This kind of perversion doesn't qualify for a DSM diagnosis. It's worse than that. The DSM only deals with the mind, but this is a perversion of the soul. All perverts live for their perversion, and soul-perverts are no exception. Although they are enslaved by ther perversion, they rarely feel that way. Rather, they often feel superior to those who do not know the transcendent joys of their particular illicit pleasure. They might even feel sorry for those confined to the licit kind. Part of the purpose of the perversion is to transform shame into pride. But perverts often need the association of other perverts to accomplish this transformation--somewhat like the reverse of a 12 step program, a support group to support what is wrong in them and make them feel right about it. The first step is to acknowledge your helplessness before a power that is lower than yourself, but to elevate it to the Most High.
Thus, journalistic perverts everywhere are coming out of the woodwork to support their fellow perverts at the Times Two. The other day, I saw Tom Brokaw weigh in, assuring us that he didn’t know of a single person who actually thought that the terrorists didn’t know about the the SWIFT program anyway. If that is true, then why did Bill Keller say that he agonized over the decision to reveal the program? Why the agony if it wasn’t a secret anyway? Brokaw strikes me as more pretentiously (because stupid) stupid (because pretentious) than a pervert. In any event, he is denying Keller the very purpose of the story, which was the agony of journalistic longing followed by the ecstatic release of publication.
That pretty much nails it.
Both pieces are must-read's.