Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That Hyperbole Dollar is a Good Dollar, Ctd. -- UPDATE

There are prominent journalists and politicians in the United States who have called for my arrest.
-- Glenn Greenwald, August 26, 2013 repeating this claim for at least the 3rd time

Name seven.

And, no, the douchbaggy David Gregory asked a stupid, ham-fisted question, but he did not call for anyone's arrest. And neither did Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers: that (since  debunked) fairy-tale was invented by "Lawyers, Guns and Money" based on a significant misreading of an exchange on the June 9, 2013 edition of "This Week..." which LGM summarized as follows --
Mr. Greenwald “says that he’s got it all and now is an expert on the program,” Mr. Rogers said on the ABC program “This Week.” “He doesn’t have a clue how this thing works. Neither did the person” – presumably in government – “who released just enough information to literally be dangerous.” 
He added, “I absolutely think they should be prosecuted." 
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said on the same program that she agreed.

What LGM did not bother to mention was that this all happened before Mr. Snowden's identity became known and that a few moments previous to that exchange, this happened:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You described your source as a reader of yours who trusted how you would handle the materials. The source has also been described as a career government official, who was concerned about these programs. A former prosecutor called the source a double-agent. I know you're not going to reveal the source, obviously, but what more can you tell us about the individual's motivations? 
GREENWALD: Well, first of all, I am not going to confirm that there is only one individual, there could be one or more than one...
What LGM also did not bother to mention in its highly abridged version is that the "they" Rep. Rogers is referring to is clearly the one-or-many people who were the source of the leak and not Mr. Greenwald.  

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, we're just about -- sorry, we're just about out of time. I just want a quick answer from each of you on this. We saw that a crimes investigation has been opened. Is it fair to say that both of you believe that this investigation should be pursued and the source, if found, should be prosecuted? 
ROGERS: I absolutely believe that someone did not have authorization to release this information. And why that's so important, George, is because they didn't have all of the information. I know your reported that you interviewed, Greenwald, says that he's got it all and now is an expert on the program. He doesn't have a clue how this thing works. Nether did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous. 
I argue that there's other methods. He could come to the committees, if they had concern. We have IGs that they can go to in a classified way if they have concern. Taking a very sensitive classified program that targets foreign person on foreign lands, and putting just enough out there to be dangerous, is dangerous to us, it's dangerous to our national security and it violates the oath of which that person took. I absolutely think they should be prosecuted.
So "Lawyers, Guns and Money" lied.  And because that lie hit just the right ideological sweet-tooth it went 'round and 'round and 'round the internet and became part of the framing narrative of the the story before anyone bothered to find out that it Just.  Wasn't.  True.

My apologies for the extended aside, but I really do think the NSA surveillance and FISA court story is an important one.  And so much ideological cultism, lurid fan-fic, paranoid speculation and libertarian twaddle has been deliberately troweled into the brick-and-mortar of the very real, very disturbing facts of the story that I figured someone, somewhere should take it upon themselves to raise a flag whenever anyone -- especially the principal reporter working on the story -- tries to slip a load of bullshit into the well.

That used to be the job of something called an "editor" but I guess those are as dead as dial-up now.

So where were we?

Oh yeah.  That  deputation of "prominent journalists and politicians" who Mr. Greenwald contends are itching to clap him in irons (and why wasn't I told journalists have that authority!) the minute he sets foot back in these United States.  Well, we have disposed of Rep. Rogers.  And Sen. Feinstein.  And the odious David Gregory.  And, while it it true that the irrelevant Andrew Ross Sorkin did say something stupid along those lines, he then retracted what he said and apologized for it.

So now -- if my count is correct -- we're basically down to Peter King shooting off his pie-hole which, if you hadn't noticed, is pretty much all Peter King does.  But saying that "Well-known American crackpot Peter King thinks I should be arrested" is so much less terrifying and grandiose and self-promoting than "prominent journalists and politicians in the United States" so that is the story Mr. Greenwald is sticking to.

Comes now Charles Pierce with some older brotherly advice for me:
It seems that several respectable media outlets are sensing that the NSA revelations that came about thanks to the efforts of Edward Snowden, International Man Of Luggage, represent a bigger story than whether or not Glenn Greenwald is somebody you'd like to take to prom... 
For the benefit of anyone for whom reading is perhaps not fundamental, Glenn Greenwald's personality, and the peripatetic globe-trotting of Edward Snowden, are not the story here. If you decide to make them the story, then you are taking yourself off the real story, and that's your fault, not Greenwald's or Snowden's. Unless, of course, you think the Times, and now ProPublica, are acting the way Lyndon LaRouche's people did. I remind folks who get caught up in the vessel and miss what's inside that, on November 3, 1986, there was an oddball story in an obscure Lebanese weekly newspaper called al-Shiraa about arms transfers in the Middle East. This story was flatly denied by everyone in this country -- including President Ronald Reagan -- and al Shiraa was treated as though it was being put out by two guys with a mimeograph machine in their mother's basement. This, boys and girls, was how the Iran-Contra scandal began....
Well Charlie, I'm too old for prom.

But you're right:  the story is The Story.  Of course it is.

However, being a mere layman who is interested in learning the facts, I am 1000% less bothered by Mr. Greenwald's personality than by his lying. Because by continuing to infuse the story (which is, of course, The Story) with exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies, Mr. Greenwald keeps shitting on his own credibility, which is the only currency any journalist has.  For example, I don't remember Carl Bernstein ever sidetracking his own coverage of Watergate with, say, extended rants accusing Nixon of mutilating cattle in the Rose Garden.  Then again, at the height of Watergate I was still quite young and my parent's marriage had just disintegrated and I was less focused on Watergate than on reruns of Lidsville

so maybe I missed that part.

I do, however, recall enough about Watergate: The Movie to remember the bit about the principal reporters on the story getting swiftly mule-kicked in the balls by their editor and by their own source

for cutting even the tiniest corners when it came to facts.

Nailing down the facts.

Confirming the facts.

Sticking to the facts.

Not hawking this kind of junk out of the back of the same truck as the NSA and FISA stories. From Truthout yesterday: 
JF: Was there a time when Snowden was thinking about turning himself in in the USA? Or going public in the USA? I hear rumors that there was talk of a [Washington, D.C.-based] National Press Club-type appearance? 
GG: No, I never heard anything like that. My understanding from the start is that he believed that the US is not a safe place for whistle-blowers, that whistle-blowers cannot get a fair trial in the United States and that he wanted to participate in the debate that he helped to prompt rather than spending the rest of his life in a cage or incommunicado. So I never understood that he had planned to come back to the United States.
Also, because I am just a po' dumb layman, I remain amazed that  Mr. Greenwald continues to infuse the story (which is, of course, The Story) with demands that other journalists be brought to book for any stupid, vicious and untrue things they say in any venue, thereby setting for others a standard to which rather spectacularly refuses to hold himself ...because (in a demonstration of reasoning so perfectly circular that Thomas Aquinas is smiling down on it from somewhere) that would -- wheeeee! -- distract from the story  (which is, of course, The Story.)

But I don't even have a mimeograph machine.

So what do I know.


It is a small thing, but it would sure have been nice if either Truthout or Mr. Greenwald had disclosed at some point during their softball interview that Mr. Greenwald is on the board of an organization which raises money for Truth-Out and Wikileaks.

On the other hand, establishment teevee finger-puppets like David Gregory and George Will get away with sort of deception-by-omission virtually every week of the year, so I suppose it's no big deal in context.  

After all, its not as if Mr. Greenwald had established a long, loud, public record as an absolute fanatic on the subject of media transparency and accountability...


Anonymous said...

Pretty funny story.
I found CP off a link on your blog, and bookmarked him.
After a couple of years of fighting through the Esquire pop up phalanx to read him, I removed that bookmark a couple of weeks back.
I could tolerate his forays in to the Snowy wilderness for a while, realizing he has a paycheck to defend, to read his great work in other areas....but I now think the tech aspects of this are over his head, and it is troubling to see him defend someone who is continually crapping in the journalism nest the way GG does.
It diminishes everybody's credibility.
There is far too much of that going on these days.

Anonymous said...

...and oh yeah. If Propublica puts a real reporter on this story, (one who doesn't just cover the story, but covers the coverage...as they often do) and not some dude bro true believer, some people are really going to hate that episode of Frontline.

Anonymous said...

The interview was apparently taped on Aug. 21 which IS the day that Bradley Manning was sentenced to life in a cage with no outside communications, oops, I mean 35 years, with parole eligibility after about 9 years, in prison but MAYBE Glenn hadn't heard it when he repeated his mantra about whistle blowers being routinely disappeared from society forevah in Nazimerica. So that would be why he lied about it again.

Doesn't explain why Truthout was all "crickets" on the claim though. Or maybe Truthout is a synonym for Softball.

Seriously how does an interview with 2 or 3 questions about The Story and the rest devoted to fluffing GG advance the discussion at all?

Kathleen said...

Pierce is wrong and you are right. Because of the lies and obfuscation some of us are not sure what the "real story" is. You have cited two of the 4 blogs I no longer read (5 if you county Digby and I haven't read her in at least two years).

Unsalted Sinner said...

Heh. According to Greenwald, Lawyers, Guns and Money are "a cesspool of unprincipled partisan hackdom" (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/27/1182435/-Greenwald-on-Lawyers-Guns-and-Money#), so it's a bit ironic that they are the source of a falsehood he keeps peddling. What is not surprising is that GG has condemned them in very colourful terms. That happens to us all, sooner or later...

marindenver said...

Dratted Blogger. Anonymous at 2:04 PM was me.

Jack said...

Damn, Driftglass. I hate to be so fan-boyish, but you nailed it again. You've been doing that a lot, lately. I've been reading you since you were a commenter at Gilliard's, since he suggested you put out your own shingle, and I can scarcely recall you ever doing such fine work as you are doing now.