The Guardian has labeled Edward Snowden a whistleblower after the NSA contractor revealed himself Sunday as the source for several recent surveillance scoops.
But some news organization have been less quick to describe Snowden as a "whistleblower," opting instead for terms like "source" or "leaker."
Associated Press standards editor Tom Kent told staff Monday that "whether the actions exposed by Snowden and [WikiLeaks source Bradley] Manning constitute wrongdoing is hotly contested, so we should not call them whistle-blowers on our own at this point."
"A better term to use on our own is 'leakers,'"
Kent wrote in a
memo, obtained by The Huffington Post. "Or, in our general effort to avoid
labels and instead describe behavior, we can simply write what they did: they
leaked or exposed or revealed classified information.
News organizations are often reluctant to be perceived as tipping the scale when it comes to suggesting that a source's motivation for leaking classified material is justified.