I have talked about what I call entrepreneurial leftism- picking out and going after a target without the position or authorization to do so, to earn leftist credibility- in the case of Aaron Swartz and in the case of a professor at a small college. In the second case I think I was off a little bit- professors are supposed to shape the intellectual climate, although a professor at a place like this is supposed to follow closely after what his superiors at prestigious institutions do, and since he is at a small school in the Midwest, not scare the rubes too much.
Here’s a perfect case, though- the guy who recorded Mitch McConnell. A funny-looking middle-aged nobody with nothing who styles himself a crusading journalist. His idea was to make a name for himself but instead he lost his source of freelance writing income, his place to live, and what little credibility he had. He now has the common middle-aged loser program of recovering his life by going to law school. That may have worked back in the old days- there are always people who need divorces and bankruptcies- but he hasn’t heard about the glut of unemployed law school graduates, I guess.
The real leftist journalists were happy to use him- as a source. Journalists have immunity, sources don’t, so this guy is under investigation. Nobody proclaimed him a hero, they threw him under the bus right quick.
The only thing I can think of is that the lawyers of various people told them that making the recording was indeed quite illegal, and while using the product was protected under laws shielding journalists, the guy who made it was in serious trouble. Leftists aren’t really bothered by anything illegal- they generally decide what’s legal- but privacy and recording rules are pretty strict, mainly to protect them, so they can’t just waive them in this case. And the guy who made the recording went to no Ivy League school, and works for no accredited leftist organ, so he isn’t anybody they care about.
As Swartz found out, freelancing is dangerous and discouraged.