"A good narrative is better than evidence." Johnnie Cochran didn't coin the phrase, but he probably gave it more exposure than any others before.
Cochran was on the O.J. Simpson dream team of defense lawyers that got their client off. The narrative was indeed better than evidence, at least for that jury.
Edward Snowden is applying the principle to his own situation. A friend announced that the movie "Snowden" was a must see. I declined. Seems to me to be a propaganda film to aid his effort to get a free pardon from President Obama. Will it work?
Well, Snowden is three things:
1. A hero for exposing the government's spying on citizens;
2. A traitor for stealing so many classified documents and potentially exposing them to enemies of the U.S. and
3. A master politician for convincing so many people that the hero part should outweigh the traitor part.
My movie going friend said I just needed to see the movie. Apparently, it's that persuasive. However, I prefer not to pay to be persuaded.
There was a discussion on NPR shortly after the movie premiered. And individuals argued both sides of the subject. The conclusion I came away with was that there is no proof that Snowden shared the purloined material with Russia or China.
"No proof" is not the same as "Innocent." But like the O.J. verdict, it's good enough.
Snowden needs to face trial here in the U.S. If he's innocent, or if indeed there is no proof, his high powered supporters would be trying to encourage his return.
Meanwhile, for all the spying the U.S. is supposed to be doing on citizens, the recent terrorist operations in the U.S. suggest it isn't doing much good. Americans might be more tolerant of said spying it it appeared to be doing some good and the agencies themselves weren't so susceptible to being spied on.