Monday, June 17, 2013

Regression to the Meme

The Internet knows many things.

One thing it definitely knows is that I bow to no one in my derision for the oafish, revisionist, treacle-drizzling, establishmentarian testicle-cozy known as  Mr. David Brooks.

But I'm going to risk it all and go waaaaaaaay the fuck out on a limb and dare to suggest that one stupid column by the odious Mr. Brooks plus one stupid column by the even less readable Richard Cohen is not actually -- or even remotely -- the same thing as Richard Nixon ordering the illegal break-in at Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrists' office in order to steal his file and use those records to destroy him.

I think that may be overstating things just a bit.

Just a tiny, tiny bit.

(Relevant portion begins at the 2:20 mark)

In Mr. Greenwald's defense, there was a microphone and camera right in front of him.  

And if recent history has proven anything it is that, in the presence of a camera, Mr. Greenwald is incapable of resisting the temptation to toss message discipline to the wind in the service of lashing out at people he does not like.

Well, I don't much like what Mr. Brooks' writes either.  And I agree completely that he has far too much sway over our national discourse.  And I have admired and cited the way Mr. Greenwald has taken down Mr. Brooks in the past.  But for the Love of Mike, please stop trying to slant-drill every aspect of this story into your "Worse Than Nixon! Worse Than Cheney!" narrative.

That being said, I absolutely agree with Mr. Greenwald's sentiments (at around the 4:30 mark) about the ridiculousness of journalists pretending they have no political opinions.  Journalists are rarely perfect, Heinleinian Fair Witnesses, reporting on nothing but the bare, observable facts of a story in an utterly neutral way with no suppositions or extrapolations, so letting people know where you stand is much healthier for a free press than pretending you're an android.  

But Mr. Greenwald swiftly regresses to the meme (at around the 7:00 mark) of attacking his enemies.  Once again the subject is Democrat/Liberal/Progressive "hypocrites", which Mr. Greenwald  once again flails using "polling data" which -- no matter how many times Mr. Greenwald repeats the same falsehood -- simply does not say what he wishes it said. 


Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

Objective truth matters in science and technology, but this is politics. In politics, reality is nothing, while perception is everything.

Even if Greenwald is factually wrong, he will be effectively right if a critical mass of people believe him, or just don't care as long as it provides a convenient bludgeon with which to pummel the Security State.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible, that GG and friends simply do not know the difference between what Nixon and Bush did and what they are alleging is being done now?
That using intelligence data to go after your political enemies or without any legal authorization is just not the same ballgame as using intelligence data for ...intelligence purposes? Or that now...suddenly espionage agencies engage in espionage?
That...that is why one is illegal and the other is not?
So it is hypocritical if dems were, in the past against gathering data, without any court authorization (translation: illegally)in one case to be used against Nixon's political enemies...but are not against currently gathering data with court authorization (translation: legally)..not to be used against anyone's political enemies. A court specifically designed to make sure the law is not being violated.
For a person with "expertise as a constitutional lawyer", he sure seems to have a problem with the concepts: Legal and illegal.
I guess that is also why they continue to refer to Snowden as a "whistleblower". Someone who exposes "illegal" activity.
Or maybe they are talking about the laws of another country!
I am sure it is "illegal" in China to spy on... the Chinese.
I get it now. Snowden went to China to expose wanton violation of Chinese law. So, he is a Chinese "whistleblower" bad. Just being slavishly partisan again....

CMike said...

Driftglass writes of Greenwald (who is on TV again and that's so unfair to those who were blogging long before 2005):

>>>>>...I have admired and cited the way Mr. Greenwald has taken down Mr. Brooks in the past. But for the Love of Mike, please stop trying to slant-drill every aspect of this story into your "Worse Than Nixon! Worse Than Cheney!" narrative.<<<<<

>>>>>Kurtz: [2:12] fact you write there's a sustained demonization campaign against Ed Snowden and you cite various columnists but why is it a campaign for some commentators and writers to criticize what Snowden did with these NSA leaks, others are, of course, defending him.

Greenwald: [2:27] I don't think there's any problem with people who want to criticize him with what he's done on the merits, although I think it is extremely strange that people who call themselves journalists find [it] more contemptible than almost anything when somebody steps forward and brings transparency to what the government is doing.

That's supposed to be their jobs, they should be in the lead cheering for that but so be it, if they decide disclosure and transparency for the government are bad things I think that it's odd that they call themselves journalists but they have every right to do that. What I'm really talking about is this effort to smear them personally.

Remember, it was the first instinct of the Nixon administration when Daniel Elssberg published the Pentagon Papers was to break into his physcho-analyst's office to get his pyscho-sexual secrets. David Brooks writes a column depicting him as a loser and a loner, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post did the same thing. It's the tactic of the Establishment to try and demean people's psyche and personality as a way of discrediting their revelations with the public and distracting attention away from it and that's what you're seeing and that's what I'm thinking is illegitimate.<<<<<

The desperation around here is getting sadder and sadder to read. It's about time Blue Gal mention to Driftglass that the volume on his blogger-envy machine has been blaring at full blast for a while now. That, or she should be suing President Obama, herself, for alienation of affection.

driftglass said...


Thank you for the free transcription service, and for making my point -- stupid column by the odious Mr. Brooks plus one stupid column by the even less readable Richard Cohen is not actually -- or even remotely -- the same thing as Richard Nixon ordering the illegal break-in at Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrists' office..." -- for people who cannot or do not wish to watch the video!

mahakal said...

This from the guy who actually compared GG to Nixon the other day?

I think there is great relevance in the citing of the Ellsberg case here, however, and Daniel Ellsberg himself says that Snowden's leak is potentially more significant even than his own. The point he was making, and it is a valid point, that the first instinct of the establishment is to discredit the messenger.

Anonymous said...

The difference seems to be that Obama would never actually have to find any real dirt. Now columnists sling mud without any factual basis at all. If Obama is not getting the kind of coverage from the national press that he wants on this issue, his administration will call a few journalists to the White House for tea and biscuits. That plus a few selective leaks ought to do the trick....

Personally I'm not surprised. The Royal Court that exists in Washington knows exactly who butters its bread. They know which stories exist inside and outside the sphere of deviance. And with rare exception they slavishly stay within the parameters that are set for them by their betters.

There was a time when bloggers saw the afore mentioned problem and believed that blogging just might be a cure to the rotting stench of a power loving corporate media.

Anonymous said...

Look its easy. When the comment hits your inbox .and you read it... if its another paulian screed.... troll novella. Just hit delete. There are plenty of Randlogs for them to hang out in....I think Beck has one...and Rand himself probably?

n1ck said...


Your personal hero and idol Glen Greenwald attacks Brooks and others for demonizing someone's sexuality, and then you "subtly" imply that Driftglass is envious of Greenwald, and that he must not be giving enough intimate/sexual attention to his wife Blue Gal.

I don't think Saint Glenneth Greenwaldus would be very happy with your attack. Especially since he might not give you his divine favor if he were to read his disciples hypocritical opinion recorded on the blog of one of his peers.

Just sayin'.

Also: Droneglass.

CMike said...

Literal much n1ck? Boy, it must scare the excrement out of you when Zombie Rotten McDonald shows up and posts in these threads.

n1ck said...

Hypocritical much CMike? Boy, it must scare the homophobia out of you when Saint Glenneth Greenwaldus criticizes things you yourself do while preaching the infallible words of your idol.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Hey now. I am a Cuddly Zombie, Filled With Love.

OBS said...

I am a Cuddly Zombie, Filled With Love.

And a delicious raspberry center!