Monday, June 24, 2013

Reasonable Things Andrew Sullivan Says -- UPDATE II

You know how I hate it when I agree with Mr. Sullivan.

Again, note the refusal to use the word torture. That would be awkward because [David] Gregory is a social friend of Liz Cheney (Gregory’s wife worked with Cheney’s husband at the law firm Latham + Watkins). Who wants to call their social friend a war criminal? Notice also this classic Washington discussion by Gregory on torture. It’s entirely about process. There is no substantive position on something even as profound as war crimes. The toughest sentence: “This is a debate that’s going to continue.” Gregory is obviously pro-torture, hides behind neutrality, and beats up opponents with one-sided questions.

It just hasn’t occurred to him that the only place for Dick Cheney right now is jail.

But an actual journalist, Glenn Greenwald, not part of the Village, who has made more news this past fortnight than the entire coterie Gregory lives among and for? The gloves are off. I’m not going to attack Gregory for asking a sharp question of another journalist, however odd? I am merely going to note that he has been far tougher on this journalist for doing his job than on Dick Cheney for abdicating his.

At some point the entire career structure of Washington journalism – the kind of thing that makes David Gregory this prominent – needs to be scrapped and started over. And then you realize that it already has.

And the change is accelerating.
I have a strong suspicion that Mr. Sullivan would like to scrape the current structure of Beltway journotainment palsy-walsy talking heads so that it can be replaced with Mr. Sullivan's own cadre of journotainment palsy-walsy talking heads.  I also have a strong suspicion that under Mr. Sullivan's regime we would see a whole lot more Conservative revisionist twaddle and eugenic crap passed off as serious thought than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

If "the gloves are off", then let them come all the way off.

That being said, as any longtime reader of this blog know, I completely agree that Mr. Gregory is everything that is wrong with journalism.   

Which is why anything that results in him look fair-minded to his audience by comparison is not helpful.


For the record, Mr. Sullivan has had almost nothing to say about Mr. Gregory over the past many years.  Before his shocked epiphany yesterday that Mr. Gregory is, in fact, (as one wag puts it) an establishmentarian testicle cozy, this was the most Mr. Sullivan ever had to say on subject:

Gregory For MTP

DEC 2 2008 @ 12:41PM
I might as well say, at the risk of sounding like a massive suck-up, that David is a great choice, to my mind. It’s great because he has shown a lingering resistance to the Higher Washington Blather that bloviates outward in portentous puffs of Broder and Halperin and Cokie...
For the record, as Mr. Sullivan was writing his lil' mash note to David Gregory back in  December, 2008, here is what I was writing about David Gregory back in December, 2008
Sunday Morning Comin' Down 
December 7, 2008
[Tom] Brokaw: …everyone is paying attention now, in a way I can’t wemembew since waaay back in Nineteen and Sixty-Eight. We are in vewy, vewy difficult times and people want to participate in their own destiny. And of course when I say “participate”, I mean sit back passively and watch as we here in the Stenographic Division of the corporate media give hot rock massages to our fellow employees over in the Politics Division. And so it makes Sunday Morning across all these networks – and especially here on “Meet the Press” – ah, ah, critically important time in American life , isn’t that right teevee’s David Gregory?

Gregory then gives one of the finest Sarah Palin, Pageant-Word-Salad responses I’ve heard in, well, at least several hours:

I think the country is in such a difficult place right now, such a challenging place, people are so engaged… And we just saw it, and what an important interview with the President-elect of the United States on Sunday Morning in a way, on this program, uniquely, can provide insights and answers and ask tough question. To explore the nature of leadership. In Washington and the country and the world. And to hold leaders accountable. As Tim always said to me, as you’ve said to me…
Brokaw: …this show is especially important beyond the Potomac, beyond the Hudson Rover in New York City. uhhhh, across the country. I have been very struck by how important this broadcast is to people as a regular appointment to them.

Gregory then sledgehammers home how indispensably vital the Mouse Circus is to “the people” by presenting difficult issues so that “they can understand it, they can digest it, and they can make it part of their own decision-making and opinion-making in their own lives.”


To: Mr. Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman of the Board and CEO, General Electric

Dear Mr. Immelt,

Despite what you may have heard from certain Dirty Fucking Hippies quadrants, the poor benighted savages of “Nebraska”, “Colo-Radoh”, “Funk’s Grove”, “Six Flags” and the rest of the largely-unexplored interior of the American continent who buy GE light-bulbs, microwaves and electricity still think we’re relevant, and still believe the thought-pudding we trowel into their heads are actually their own ideas and opinions.

Please don’t fire us!

UR doin it rite!


Dave and Tom
But ain’t that also just the sad fucking truth?

*Damn, I said it again*

A long time ago, my blogfather and hero -- the late Steve Gilliard -- asked me why I was wasting my fucking time spending my time and talent vivisecting the Mouse Circus. And the simple truth of it was and is that millions of perfectly nice people really go to do their week's political opinion shopping at the Mouse Circus.

That those opinions were more and more turning out to be lethally toxic formulations concocted by Karl Rove in some Neocon Chiba City lab at the behest of his Tessier-Ashpool plutocrat paymasters that were, years after maddening year, going entirely unchallenged by any of Sunday Morning’s overpaid haircuts.

That what I wrote three years ago is as true now as ever:

Left Blogylvania tracks the Sunday Mouse Circus like the mineshaft canary that it is. This puppet show where trial balloons are floated and talking points run around the track is now almost immediately sighted for range and distance by giants like Crooks + Liars and then shelled to dust. This beetle-riddled tree where hacks like McCain and Lieberman nest and preen and regurgitate their smirky horseshit is now routinely used for target practice...

Which is why, even under Mr. Sullivan's enlightened journotainment palsy-walsy talking head utopia, I think I would have a hard time getting my phone calls returned.


Why do I think Mr. Greenwald -- who otherwise acquitted himself just fine on Meet the Press -- made a stupid, unforced error by immediately leaping on Twitter to bitch about what an awful douchebag David Gregory is while the show was still on the air?

Because this permitted the odious Mr. Gregory to make Mr. Greenwald's bitter, snarky Tweet -- and Mr. Gregory's own, faux-innocent "Moi?!?" editorializing -- part of the story he was weaving for his immense audience.

Where did I get the crazy idea that David Gregory did this?

From reading the Meet the Press transcript (with emphasis added):
GREGORY: You know, part of the tactics of this and part of the debate is frankly around journalism. And Glenn Greenwald referenced it when I asked him a question about whether he should or will face charges, which has been raised. And, you know, I want to acknowledge there is a-- a debate on Twitter that goes on online about this even as we are speaking and here’s what Greenwald has tweeted after this appearance this morning, “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?” And I want to directly take that on because this is the problem with somebody who claims that he is a journalist, would object to a journalist raising questions which is not actually embracing any particular point of view. And that’s part of the tactics of the debate here when, in fact, lawmakers have questioned him. There is a question about his role in this, The Guardian’s role in all of this. It is actually part of the debate rather than going after the questioner, he could take on the issues and he had an opportunity to do that here on-- on MEET THE PRESS. 


mahakal said...

Nothing Greenwald said made Gregory look fair-minded, by comparison or otherwise.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I hate to say it, but I agree with ol' one-brain-cell mahakal up there.

Although the bitter, snarky tweet was pretty bitchy.

driftglass said...

Which is why the alert reader will notice that the only thing I criticized about Mr. Greenwald's performance was his bitter, snarky tweet. Which David Gregory immediately and predictably made part of the story :-)

Compound F said...

The essence of your insanity herein lies:

"...anything [Greenwald says] that results in him [Gregory] look fair-minded to his audience by comparison is not helpful."

The sentiment is simply untethered from reality. You keep thinking "nothing but net," but it's a total airball every time.

mahakal said...

David Gregory made the story about a tweet? I thought that was what DG did...oh...waitaminnit...I mean the other DG.

Love the update, though. That was some good writing you used to do, and you are still capable when you aren't phoning it in.

J Neo Marvin said...

Who told Sullivan he had the right to use the term "The Village"?

mahakal said...

Even the WaPo thinks DG whiffed.

Overclock speedy said...

What's interesting is that Snowden just admitted he took the job at Booze to get access to the documents for the sake of leaking. He took the job in March, but started talking to Greenwald in February.

So there's a chance for this to get even more screwed up.

Anonymous said...

The essence of the Glennbot insanity is how quickly they marshal to his defense the moment even tepid criticism is directed his way.

Speaking of sentiments untethered from reality, I wonder when you collection of clownshoes will accept that people can legitimately hold personal *and* tactical reasons for disliking Glenn's media persona, rather than simply rushing to assume that it is all 100% personal.

Until you gents are able to grasp simple views that run contrary to your own biases, I hope DG keeps drilling his "airballs" between your eyes. It is amusing watching the same 3-4 people come running in every time GG's name is mentioned.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Love the update, though. That was some good writing you used to do, and you are still capable when you aren't phoning it in.

The essence of concern trollery.

"Oh, youre a good writer when you're writing about things I agree with. If only you would blog to please me, you would be famous!"

Compound F said...

the criticism of Greenwald on this blog has been anything and everything but "tepid," and it has been so emotionally laden unrelenting that one can only wonder what ulterior motives exist. Ponder the meaning of your words.

mahakal said...

Wow, Update II is pretty swell, DG, since I already linked the WaPo transcript of that thing with appropriate context.

As for "concern trollery," ZRM, you're once again demonstrating that you are an idiot who has no idea what words mean. Go have sex with your strawman. DG made it quite explicitly clear he had no time for making a proper post yesterday.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

As for "concern trollery," ZRM, you're once again demonstrating that you are an idiot who has no idea what words mean. Go have sex with your strawman. DG made it quite explicitly clear he had no time for making a proper post yesterday.

You're a fool who can't read worth a shit. I know full well what concern trolling is, and you've been doing it for days.

What made you think I was even referring to yesterday's travel post? You're again making inferences that don't exist, which is what you do, I guess.

But belittling and condescension, yeah, you're a GreenWaldo all right.

mahakal said...

What a maroon. You call my comment concern trolling but you weren't referring to my comment which was about DG phoning it in, instead you were referring to something that nobody could guess without opening up your head to see what is actually in there in place of neurons. And I don't even like to read Greenwald, idiot.

mahakal said...

Really rich for ZRM to call anyone out for belittling and condescension, by the way. It's what he does. And look at the second comment above, where he starts with the name calling on this thread. I'm an uncivil blogger, though, and always have been.

I'm going to make it a point of ignoring ZRM from here out. And I might just take a break from this place and see whether things improve or watch and see what happens with the motorcycle and shark trick.

Anonymous said...

Always a good debate to "ignore" someone who just beat your brains in.

mahakal said...

Thanks Nonny Mouse. Here, have some cheese. I'm not eating it.

Anonymous said...

Compound F:

The criticism he voiced in this post was decidedly tepid. "There you go again, giving a clown like Gregory a spec of cover, etc." But feel free to overreact anyhow; after all, someone said something mildly critical about Glenn and that cannot stand.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

where he starts with the name calling on this thread

Let's review; where did SOMEONE make a crack about "not a brain cell between them"?

I suppose you can quibble that comment was not in this thread. I confess to remembering name-calling from previous threads.

Anonymous said...

Compound F:

Actually, now that I think about the meaning of my words a bit, I don't think I'd even concede that DG's past critiques of Greenwald are all that vitriolic; certainly not as scathing as what Glenn offers his critics on a daily basis.

Drifty's main two critiques of Glenn are:

a) Glenn should climb down off his high horse with all of his "punching leftward".

b) Glenn needs to stop letting his ego and desire for payback get in the way of his own story.

"Emotionally laden and unrelenting"? You are talking about someone who is critiquing Glenn Greenwald, right? He sticks at it because Glenn gives him endless opportunities to do so. And you know, in spite of the fact that Glenn's personality is rich ground for speculating about his "ulterior motives" and mental ticks, Driftglass has mostly restrained himself and stuck to critiquing Glenn's tactics and demeanor, two things that actually have direct consequences to Glenn's cause--whether you Glennbots realize it or not.

I tell you what, Compound F. I'm willing to examine and re-examine the extent of my defense of Driftglass. How about you bolt a sense of perspective onto that colossal sense of outrage you're carrying around. That goes double for your fellow travelers. While you're at it, stop being a thin-skinned priss too.

mahakal said...

Gotta love the Nonny Mice and their oh so accountable promises, "I'm willing to examine and re-examine the extent of my defense of Driftglass."

Anonymous said...


Well I've shown a bit of my thought process, sport. You want to pony up? Because all I've seen from you so far is one iteration after another of "I can't understand what DG finds objectionable about Glenn" followed by "he has surely jumped the shark" followed by "I don't understand how Glenn's media persona is a valid issue in this battle Glenn is fighting in the court of public opinion".

You are deliberately obtuse. Do you want to dispute my take on Drifty's critique of Glenn or do you just want to white knight for Compound F some more?

- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Nonny, what I've said quite clearly is that I considered GG a douchosaurus. But I don't want to waste time disputing your inaccurate take, I dispute your credibility altogether. You know it's incredibly easy to choose an identity when commenting. Promises by anonymous commenters who can't even be bothered to use a pseudonym are worthless. You cannot be distinguished from any other Nonny Mouse. Here, have some cheese.

Anonymous said...


I think my summary of DG's beef with Glenn is pretty close to accurate, but by all means flounce out of the thread for some contrived reason if you want.

I think you're pretty damned feeble though. You're reduced to carping about irrelevancies like my lack of forum handle because you have no moral high horse to climb on. You will show up every time DG mentions Glenn to be snotty and offer up lame snark, but you won't discuss why DG's main complaints about GG are indefensible or somehow off limits.

You know what? Regardless of whether Drifty is right, wrong, or simply beating a dead horse when he complains about Greenwald, he has every right to bitch about someone who pisses him off on his own damn blog. You want to take the moral high ground, Mahakal, how about you start there and allow the man to have his opinions.

The cheese was delicious. Thanks.

- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Thanks for demonstrating that you have no intention of "examining or reexamining" anything. For the record, DG has every right to hold any opinion or say whatever he wants on his blog, no matter how wrong or misguided. Any critiques I have of his writing, I address to him, not Nonny Mice. Have some more cheese.

Anonymous said...


I've read your replies to Driftglass. They are about as full of meaning as your transparent attempts to dodge this conversation are. You come here as a heckler and then try to take the high road when confronted. The only fig leaf you have to cover your cowardice is to complain about a pseudonym.

For the record, I haven't demonstrated anything yet, because so far you haven't had the clackers to engage. I did make a token effort, mind you, and put my assumptions out where they could be kicked around, but you were in a mysterious hurry to decline. Inaccurate take, no credibility, yadda yadda. How convenient for you.

If your primary role here is to appear whenever Glenn is mentioned, trade barbs with Zombie RMcD, tell Driftglass he sucks, and then refuse to respond when directly challenged, what credibility do you think you have? Do you imagine that attaching a Facebook page to a web handle conveys more "cred" than what you say or how you behave? You've acted like half a troll here of late and your claims about respecting DG's right to express his own opinions seem half-true at best.

I hope you continue to offer up flimsy dodges. I suspect that publicly commenting on your false moral superiority is going to be more satisfying than an actual discussion.

-- Nonny Mouse