Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Perlstein Before Swine


In the interest of full disclosure you should know that I've met Rick Perlstein in real life.  I've had a beer with him.  Blue Gal and I have had a bite to eat with him.  He has not confided to me every secret of his life, but we chatted amiably about lots of stuff.  He is  a terrific writer and a bulldog of a historian.

So now that I have impugned his reputation beyond repair, let me say three things.

...
The bottom line is that there’s an attitude out there that anything bad anyone says about the NSA must be a priori true, and that anything bad anyone says about the NSA must have already been said by Glenn Greenwald, and that anyone who questions Greenwald about anything must be questioning Greenwald about everything, and thus thinks the NSA (and its boss Barack Obama) is swell.
And where might someone get that idea? By thinking like Greenwald, actually.
As I noted on Friday, Greenwald writes in “On PRISM, Partisanship, and Propaganda,” “Rick Perlstein falsely accuses me of not having addressed the questions about the PRISM story”; but I didn’t accuse him of not having addressed “the questions” but instead a single question—whether Internet companies give the National Security Agency “direct access” to all their data as opposed to carefully controlled access to a very limited amount of data—a question he still did not address, including in the interview he linked to in order to claim he had addressed it “at least half-a-dozen” times...
Second, you can proudly add me to the list -- Perlstein, Charles Pierce, Dave Neiwert -- and the sentiment -- "a spirited exchange about these issues, maybe even change each others’ minds somewhat" -- Rick lists here.  I would be glad of the excellent conversation.

Me, I’d rather not see [Glenn Greenwald] discredit himself. And that’s what’s happening. It’s happening even among those who want to be his supporters. As one of them wrote on Facebook, “Here’s the thing: I suspect Perlstein, Charles Pierce, Dave Neiwert, and I—to mention the commenters here I’ve actually met—could have a spirited exchange about these issues, maybe even change each others’ minds somewhat. That can’t happen with Greenwald, whom I’ve never met, because the FIRST thing he does out of the box is accuse anybody who disagrees with him of bad faith. That not only makes him a poor advocate, it weakens one’s trust in his reporting.”
Third, I predict that no matter how hard he tries, no matter how supple his words, no matter how righteous his record, no matter how solid his credentials or how self-deprecating his presentation, Rick will never budge Mr. Greenwald or his horde one inch.    You're either with them 100% right down the line or you are a dupe, a monster, an Obot, a cultist, a fascist, a hypocrite and so forth.  Period.

The final irony is, of course, that the temple they have raised to the One True Messenger and the army they have raised to bury even the slightest deviation from the One True Message under an avalanche of bile is all being done in the name of free-thinking anti-authoritarianism.

Because what's more fun than human nature?

21 comments:

CMike said...

Captain Ahab,

Best of luck in your monomaniacal pursuit. (To any friends and family -- I'll check back next month to see if any of you have had any success intervening. It's such a shame, in the years prior to '08 he seemed so well adjusted.)

Lumpy Lang said...

Droneglass' tiresome trope re Greenwald - "You're either with them 100% right down the line or you are a dupe, a monster, an Obot..etc" is as dishonest as it is repetitive. More of the same chump-bait he's been regurgitating here day after day - to focus attention on ANYTHING but the real issues. Even some of his fellow liberal co-thinkers are baffled.

The conflict is over principle. Advocating the primacy of state interests over the rights of the citizen is not reconcilable with defending the rights of the citizen over the state (the animating ideology of the bourgeois-democratic revolutions-including the American-by the way).

Greenwald and the whistleblowers he defends are surely naive to trust that the U.S. ruling class - or its 'progressive' mouthpieces - might be shamed into adhering to democratic principles, but their acts of heroism deserve honor, support and robust defense from every decent person against state retribution.

Pinkamena Panic said...

And the loop starts again.

Anonymous said...

I have said before, and I will say again, I have this nagging suspicion that Greenwald has learned the value of the "both sides do it" dollar (or euro), and is trying to position himself as the future liberal counterpart to the successor of David Brooks.

Mike.K.

mahakal said...

And again, Greenwald never said the NSA had direct access to servers. He said the documents claimed direct access, and that the corporations denied said claims.

n1ck said...

Shorter Greenwald Worshiper(1 p!):

But...but...Droneglass!

Saint Glenneth Greenwaldus speaks only truth.

If you disagree with him in any way, you are denying the truth.

Hence, you are a monster and a supporter of monsters.

Also: Droneglass.

Anonymous said...

Dear Driftglass, You sound like you've had lunch, and someone picked picked up his own check.

It is astonishing to me how your gambit is in major ways exactly the same as David Brooks.

It seems you just don't enjoy dissent, because... well they are just dirty fucking hippies who obviously don't know goof old fashioned cultural professional value the way you do, having properly payed your dues and respecting seasoned and well-reasoned power the way you do.

It's your civility that impresses me.

Keep up the good work! You truly are a better sort of conservative.


Demian said...

FISA, int. by Ted Kennedy, signed into law 1978 by Jimmy Carter, everybody then goes off and does something else. The Patriot Act, passed 357-66 and 98-1, signed into law 2001 by GWB. From 1978 to the present, the Executive Branch does what it usually does. Current President feels this is a nice operation we've got here, don't get so upset.

Glenn Greenwald, who like a lot of people acts like a fool at times, breaks an important story indicating that things are not as the American citizenry should wish.

Isn't this about Congress, the power source of the Big Brother problem? It really isn't about Greenwald. And it isn't really about Obama. Let's either (1) have another revolution or (2) get Congress as stirred up as it was in 2001 in order to ratchet various "programs" back to a level that a democracy finds appropriate to a democracy. Of alternatives (1) and (2), number (2) just seems so much more promising.

Have you been in touch with your representatives about this?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Isn't this about Congress, the power source of the Big Brother problem? It really isn't about Greenwald.

It really isn't about Greenwald.

So why does Greenwald, whenever he has a megaphone of some sort under his control, insist on making it about himself?

If only Greenwald had the sort of idealism the Greenwaldoes keep dreaming that he has.

Personally, I have no issue with drftglass' continuing to batter GG with his own peccadilloes. It's his blog, he can do what he wants with it, even if he decides to turn it into a meditation on the permutations of goatse.

I have always chuckled at commenters who are free with their blogging advice to bloggers on how to do it CORRECTLY. "if only you woul dblog about the things I want you to blog about, this would be a great blog!" Interesting tidbit: Blogs are free. Start one of your own! I did, several times!

driftglass said...

Isn't this about Congress, the power source of the Big Brother problem? It really isn't about Greenwald.

It should be. I'd like it to be. But I do not know how that happens when Glenn Greenwald insists on making the monstrousness and bad-faithyness of everyone is who does not agree 100% with Glenn Greenwald the leitmotif (look it up :-) of this and so many of his other stories. That's is not reporting -- that's sniping from cover.

It is, however, fairly entertaining to watching the world-class freakout Greenwaldites have -- "Glenn kicking YOU in the teeth IS the story, you awful little Obot, and how dare you try to make Glenn the story by objecting to his teeth-kicking." -- whenever someone has the temerity to push back.

Demian said...

Leitmotif good. Ostinato bad. :-)

marindenver said...

" You're either with them 100% right down the line or you are a dupe, a monster, an Obot, a cultist, a fascist, a hypocrite and so forth. Period."

And presto, zappo, along come the Glenbots to illustrate your words precisely.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Are you kidding me with these comments?

Where the fuck was GG in 2003 and especially in 2007 when this all became perfectly fucking legal?!?!? Retroactively in 2007, but GODDAMMIT none of this shit is NEWs!!!!! Where was GG and the voices calling this fuckwit a "hero" THEN?!?!?! Mass case of Rip van Winkleism or something? wtf?

Here is exactly what is going on here: This bagger is nothing more than a fucking pawn in the latest gopbagger non-scandal "scandal" churn that the media stenographers give ligitimacy by "reporting" as IF it had legitimacy. It does not. Just like Begahzie, IRS, Michelle's fucking bangs, and so on. ALL of the churn is mean only to light up the fuckwits at the hot wet puppy pond and their ilk (GG for one) to perform the same maneuver as the baggers' obamacare screeech in 09 did for the gopbaggers in 10. D voters stayed home! Well, here we are witnessing the ramp up for 14. All the false bullshit swirling around in 09 gave us the forever gop House and now they're going for the repeat to discourge the Obama/Dem 12 voters to stay home again in 14... for the Senate this time. Huge ROI on their antics in 09. Fuckwads fallin' for it again. gads.

It IS about GG and it IS about Snowjob!!! GG wants a name and possibly an msnbc show and snowdog wants ron or rand paul as president and the anarchy they propose to be the new America. The right's faux outrage is a sure sign of that.

The bottom line is the only way to change anything is to get dems, real dems, across the board for the next 20 years. That's not going to happen if people don't wake the fuck up to this staying home from the polls bullshit. Dammit!

Myrtle June

marindenver said...

Uh, what Myrtle June said. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Tell it Myrtle!
Tell it on the mountain!!

Anonymous said...

Mahakal: "And again, Greenwald never said the NSA had direct access to servers. He said the documents claimed direct access, and that the corporations denied said claims."

And then he proceeded freak out, declare these practices the end of freedom and privacy as we know it, and, oh yes, to accuse anyone who didn't dial the outrage up to 11 of being an Obot, government apologist, or Glenn-hater.

Tell me, Mahakal, is it hard to keep failing to notice how all nuance is unilateral in Glennland?

Anonymous said...

Driftglass: "It is, however, fairly entertaining to watching the world-class freakout Greenwaldites have -- "Glenn kicking YOU in the teeth IS the story, you awful little Obot, and how dare you try to make Glenn the story by objecting to his teeth-kicking." -- whenever someone has the temerity to push back."

I couldn't say it better myself -- and I've tried. You're a better person than I am, Driftglass. You've restricted yourself to commenting only on what Glenn is doing and saying, rather than speculating on what's going on in his head. I find that level of restraint difficult, as the behavior of Glenn and his little tadpoles plays to my worst suspicions about a certain type of libertarian.

I suspect by the end of this we'll see that Glenn (and his ballwashers) are more interested in being "proved right" -- or at least seeing their detractors "proved loathsome" -- than actually seeing any movement on the issues illuminated by this story.

Lumpy Lang said...

Gee, I sure hope each of you DLC folks, while rallying round the cause of Droneglass Hippy Punching will reach for the paypal button - and give generously!

He cant keep grinding out the rightist chumpbait for nothing - he has a family to feed!

Anonymous said...

Lumpy -

Nice try but no cigar. And, if he were a DLCer he'd be heading up the insane "family members for President 2016" campaign.

Jesus h effing christ! You people are really just sucked right up into the righty churn nozzle. Recognize this for what it is. NOTHING NEW. It just isn't. The only real news thing going on right now is how come Kim Kardashian hasn't named that poor child yet! Can't she think for herself? Is she waiting for mommy to tell her what to name that child? Is she waiting for market research results that will determine the profitability of names in consideration? I mean, come ON!! THIS is more newsworthy than anything GG or Snowjob has said or could ever have to say.

Lumpy. Yes. Perfect name.

Myrtle June

Anonymous said...

lumpy,
I am having a hard time reading your incisive commentary.
All I keep seeing is:
"herp..derp..derp..derp..."
Does that even mean anything?

Signed,
Concerned

mahakal said...

A Nonny Mouse says:

"Tell me, Mahakal, is it hard to keep failing to notice how all nuance is unilateral in Glennland?"

Nuance: Glenn Greenwald is a douchosaurus. He also reported the story accurately.