is their contention that the Beltway media and secretly-White-House-bankrolled progressive bloggers (Yay!) are colluding with the gummint to distract people from the real NSA story about surveillance and transparency by harping on things like personalities and motives.
Which sounds reasonable.
Now I'm not sure how much of what they see as a coordinated campaign of media distraction is genuine collusion as opposed to laziness and a hardwired reflex for shiny, personality-driven stories. Also, probably because I am an omnivorous news consumer, I haven't noticed any dearth of coverage of the substance of the Mr. Snowden's leaks in my own in-basket. Also by preceding every leak with a "Transformers V: You!Will!Not!Fucking!Believe!Your!Eyes!"-level of hype and then revealing stuff that is certainly consequential but often not exactly a "Bombshell That Will Stop Time And Freeze Your Soul!" while slowing paying each new leak out over a longer and longer period, you leave a lot of media slack time open for the ADHD children who run much of the news to talk about strippers and porn.
But as I said, it is a reasonable point.
Which like so many other reasonable points, the Outrage Caucus has frozen in carbonite and reduced to another rigid, binary test of ideological purity. To even mention anything other the substance of Mr. Snowden's leaks is to reveal oneself indisputably as a fraud and hypocrite in the pocket of the Kenyan Usurper. To push back at all on any element of the story or to wish-wish-wish that the principal reporter would keep his stampeding ego and petty grudges in check is to stand convicted as a kill-crazed fascist.
This is why we can't have nice things.
And so in order to insure that Very Tight Focus is kept on the substance of the important and consequential NSA leaks and not on distracting side issues like personalities, subjective hypotheticals and acrimonious speculations about the motives of other people, Mr. Glenn Greenwald -- the principal reporter and curator of this very important and consequential NSA surveillance story -- has once again taken matters into his own hands by giving yet another interview to yet another major magazine...
...with is practically groaning under the weight of personalities, subjective hypotheticals and acrimonious speculations about the motives of other people.
When asked about Hendrick Hertzberg comments in The New Yorker:
There’s an important distinction between people who are extremely privileged and who believe in and obey pieties and orthodoxies — people like Hertzberg, who aren’t dissenting from anything and who are basically defenders and supporters of political power, the royal court. The real measure of how free a society is isn’t how its good, obedient servants are treated; it’s how dissidents are treated...So yeah, good little New Yorker writers who love Obama . . . you know, he’s right. For him it is abstract and conjectural. But for people who are engaged in actual critical thinking...
To disagree with Mr. Greenwald on any particular and to any degree means that you must be "extremely privileged", a "good, obedient servant" of the "pieties and orthodoxies", a defender and supporter of "the royal court", a "good little" Obama-lover who is obviously incapable of engaging in "actual critical thinking". But what elevates this from an everyday, run-of-the-mill Greenwaldian tantrum to the level of grand, comic opera is that just a little further down in the same article, Mr. Greenwald goes out of his way to assure us of the purity of his and Mr. Snowden's motives, because all they really want is a "democratic debate":
If you talk to Snowden, what he’ll say is, “Look, I’m not trying to destroy the surveillance state.” If he were, he could’ve done so many things: he could have sold the documents for millions of dollars to China or Iran; he could have passed them on covertly; he could have dumped them all on the Internet. What he’s trying to do is enable a democratic debate...
And I'm sure it's gonna be one helluva "debate"... just as soon as everyone who disagrees with Mr. Greenwald to the slightest degree is slandered and ejected from the room!
But I digress.
We were talking about how very, very important it is to keep distracting side issues like personalities, subjective hypotheticals and acrimonious speculations about the motives of other people. So let's get back to talking about what horrid bastards the Obama Administration are --
What the Obama Administration was going to do was pretty predictable. We knew they were going to accuse him of being a traitor, to depict him as fleeing to China, as having endangered the people to terrorists. They do the same thing in every single case.
-- and the awfulness of those awful hordes of unnamed, unspecified "Democrats and progressives" --
But interestingly the most vicious and vehement attacks on my reporting have come from Democrats. Democrats and progressives are the ones who were my loudest cheerleaders when I was writing this stuff about the Bush Administration, and they’ve become the primary source of hostility and contempt now that I’m writing the same exact stuff about Obama.
-- because to repeat for the cognitively impaired, in Greenworld, although we are repeatedly told that the motive for all of this is --
So from the start, the question was, “How can the public’s attention be captured in a way that will engage a real debate?”
-- the non-brain-dead reader will have noticed by now that even the slightest, actual, debate style-pushback against anything that flows from the keyboard of Mr. Greenwald is instantly shredded and dismissed by the Outrage Caucus as a "vicious and vehement" attack by the obedient slaves of imperial power.
But again I digress.
So rather than dwelling on that, let us instead move on to another round of Mr. Greenwald's non-NSA-leak-related acrimonious speculations about the depraved motives of unnamed, unspecified "people" who have shocked and saddened him:
I remember I would go around in 2007 and 2008 giving speeches about the Bush Administration, and people would sometimes say to me, “Don’t you realize that once Democrats get into office they’re going to do these same things, and all your allies who are now cheering for you are going to support those policies?” And I would say, “I don’t believe that’s true” — like their dignity would not allow them to spend eight years shrieking about the horrors of these policies, only to turn around and support them because a Democrat was doing it. I turned out to be totally wrong.
Then a little story about Mr. Greenwald's gumption:
I definitely knew it was going to take a lot of resolve, right? Because the government relies on this climate of fear. They want you to be scared. But this is what I’ve been working for ever since I started writing about politics and doing journalism. So I was pretty resolved that I wasn’t going to let fear impede what I did. I had to commit to doing it in a really aggressive and adversarial way.
Followed by a little story about Edward Snowden's heroism:
But the thing that really focused me was seeing how courageous Snowden was. I mean, here’s this twenty-nine-year-old kid who has made a conscious choice to subject himself to a substantial risk of being in prison for the rest of his life, and yet he never evinced even a molecule of remorse or regret or fear. He was completely convinced and tranquil about the rightness of his choice.
Followed by another hype of that-which-is-yet-to-come:
And I really believe that the most significant revelations are yet to come. I don’t want to keep previewing that — we’re going to take our time vetting it and reporting it and figuring it all out — but the stuff that has shocked me the most is the stuff we haven’t even written about.
To be clear, I find none of this objectionable on its face. But I take huge exception to it when it's coming out of the mouth of someone who is, at the same time, trying to silence anyone who disagrees with him to the slightest degree by insisting that anything which distracts people from the real NSA story about surveillance and transparency by harping on things like personalities and motives is monstrously evil.