It's almost shocking, really: a columnist confessing that he was wrong about something! So it was on Tuesday, when the Washington Post's Richard Cohen admitted that his previous dismissals of Edward Snowden were no longer operative.
But he also took the time to weigh in on Snowden back in June. A fan he was not: Snowden, he said, was a "cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood" and a narcissist.
Fast-forward to Tuesday. Everything was different:
What are we to make of Edward Snowden? I know what I once made of him. He was no real whistleblower, I wrote, but "ridiculously cinematic" and "narcissistic" as well. As time has proved, my judgments were just plain wrong. Whatever Snowden is, he is curiously modest and has bent over backward to ensure that the information he has divulged has done as little damage as possible. As a "traitor," he lacks the requisite intent and menace.
Cohen also said that his previous dismissals of the value of Snowden's leaks was wrong. Essentially, he said, everything he had written previously was wrong.
All in all, it was one of the more abject about-faces in recent memory. Not all were convinced, though:
Last words of Richard Cohen's almost admirable column should have been "which is why this is my last column ever." http://t.co/jvwrfObYvF
-- Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) October 22, 2013