-the NSA is literally threatening journalists with prosecution for espionage for doing their jobs.
That is not "freedom of the press" - that is distributing classified information. Do you know how many reporters spend time in jail for refusing to identify a source? They have freedom, but they are not immune to prosecution.
Just like Rosa Parks did, Snowden broke the law. He is going to be punished, and anyone who keeps spreading the information and is also under the jurisdiction of federal prosecution will be punished, muzzled, or whatever else they can do. Even if the information is already available on every web site on the internet - that doesn't make it legal to distribute, and it doesn't automatically declassify it.
And the NSA can threaten all they want - until someone is arrested, this means nothing. When someone is arrested, it will boil down to one simple question - did that person share classified information? Argue what you want about what should happen, but an illegal act will result in a conviction.
The only way to keep convictions from happening is to keep pressure on all branches of government - and not just from the American people, but from all of the governments who have been spied on - by NSA and GCHQ. Then maybe you will get a response like "our bad - everyone but Snowden is forgiven."
Just where exactly is the line you draw where journalists can break laws without repercussion? Disagreeing with the government? Breaking into your house for dirt? Disobeying a court order? Leaking classified information? Wiretapping and hacking into cell phones? Or is it just whether you agree or disagree with the information found needing to be public?
I'm not taking sides here - just pointing out what is true. If the law requires a minimal standard of "prejudicial to the U.S. interest" then maybe it is the law itself that is wrong.
Don't let it be lost on you that the author has an axe to grind because his first book was forfeited to the US - and has a second book documenting that forfeiture that he wants you to buy. The messenger's personal stake doesn't change facts - but it does cast doubt on anything outside of raw facts - especially this being an opinion piece.
Here is the spark for the piece, apparently:
The conservative Republican Rep. Peter King of New York recently uncorked the genie that journalists fear most, by calling for a crackdown on anyone who gives air time to Edward Snowden and like-minded leakers.
So a Republican representative, typically with a perpetual plank for expanding government overreach, called for a crackdown. Which he, not being in the Executive branch, cannot do anything about. He is asking for people who broke the law to be punished, and obviously taking the side of the Administration in doing so. What has this actually changed? Nothing. Maybe if someone in the Administration had done it instead, or publically agreed, or if there were a number of Representatives and/or Senators who did this as a block, or any number of scenarios outside of an elected official pandering to his voters, this might mean something.
Your conclusion is the most disturbing part. Mainstream MSM media do not cover important news - they publish whatever will get clicks or views. They are not "the press" - they are an information business model with journalist credentials. This has been true about nearly every bit of news of significance since the dawn of the internet, when you could know what news was not being reported.
It is not self-censorship due to threats, because the lack of reporting happened before Rep. King mouthed off. The obvious conclusion here is that newsies are letting the Guardian be the source of actual leaks, non-mainstream media report on those sources, and MSM follows up with news about the "hunt for the traitor" - which really sells to Americans. Perhaps MSM is aware that releasing confidential material is a crime, and are self-censoring because of that. I'm okay with that, because of the whole not committing a crime thing.
The obvious way around such self-censorship in the interest of self-preservation is to leak to someone outside of the US (check), preferably a friendly nation (check), with preliminary teasers in American media announcing leaks to come but no specifics (check). This would have succeeded without the internet - it's just so much faster with.