A physicist explains to an English professor how he time-traveled William Shakespeare into the present day. So goes the plot of Isaac Asimov's short, sharp "The Immortal Bard" in which Bill Shakespeare has the following to say how much over-intellectualizing, masturbatory nonsense had been written about his plays in 500 years:
'God ha' mercy! What cannot be racked from words in five centuries? One could wring, methinks, a flood from a damp clout!'That bit almost immediately popped to mind when I saw that Time Magazine's Michael Grunwald had written (and then apologized for) an amazingly ugly Tweet about someone dropping a drone on Julian Assange which, as Charles Pierce notes, Michael Grunwald managed:
...not only to disgrace almost 400 years of American journalism, but also to give Assange yet another reason to wax righteously paranoid. Neither of these is exactly a public service.It came to mind once Mr. Grunwald's id-droppings hit the Twitter because that at that moment it became inevitable that we would be treated to another pants-shitting, hair-on-fire essay from David Sirota in which something small is immediately widened out into an all-encompassing indictment of the depravity of all journalists (with the exception of David Sirota and a couple of David Sirota's friends) dating back to Josephus.
Cue Mr. Sirota wringing a flood from a damp Tweet in 3...2...1...
Grunwald vs. Greenwald: Who’s the “activist” journalist, now?
A "mainstream" reporter calls for the murder of a public figure, but somehow his "journalist" bona fides are intactAnd so forth.
Likewise, it is yet more proof that the nonchalant blood lust that pervades the National Security State also exists inside the establishment media...And so on.
But, then, journalists hating on journalism and political reporters worshiping state-sponsored violence is no big reveal anymore. In that sense, Grunwald’s morbid fantasy is notable primarily because...And so forth.
What is more revelatory is what the context of the Grunwald episode says about the intensifying debate over who is and who is not a true “journalist,” and...After which Glenn Greenwald's most loyal Igor assembles a few comments and one stupid question into a broad-based conspiracy by "the most pro-establishment media voices" to drive Mr. Greenwald out of the profession, thus bringing us at last to the real subject of the article:
In response to Greenwald’s scoops, the most pro-establishment media voices have insinuated that because Greenwald has previously stated opinions on issues like government secrecy, militarism and surveillance, he should be treated as something less than a journalist — or even as a full-on criminal.Golly! That sounds pretty serious. So serious, in fact that the casual reader might breeze right though Mr. Sirota's thin bill of particulars without ever realizing that when Mr. Sirota writes this --
Likewise, Carl Bernstein said of Greenwald that a “reporter has no business making” a “non-reportorial statement.”-- Carl Bernstein is not, in fact, making some general statement of Mainstream Reporter Dogma about reporters and non-reportorial statements, bit is instead is referring to his reaction to this one, specific statement made by Glenn Greenwald:
"The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare."Nor would the casual reader ever glean from Mr. Sirota's account that Carl Bernstein's full statement was this:
"With all my regard for The Guardian, which is considerable... that's an awful statement, and the tone in which he made it," the former Washington Post reporter said. "It's one thing to say that Mr. Snowden possesses some information that could be harmful, and that could be part of the calculation that everybody makes here. It's another to make that kind of an aggressive, non-reportorial statement [that] a reporter has no business making."
"There are, at the same time, precautions... that Snowden has taken in terms of secreting some information in various places that definitely would disclose more things -- some of which might or might not be inimical to the interests of the United States," he continued. "But that statement by that reporter is out of line."Nor would the casual reader ever divine from Mr. Sirota's account that Mr. Greenwald's response to Mr. Bernstein (after making sure to first personally insult him) was that he never said any such thing. That it was all "wildly distorted" (in the sense that it was a verbatim quote of what he actually said.)
But such fussy distinctions would interfere with Mr. Sirota gathering up one more Establishment Bad Guy to pile on top of his tirade, and so out they go.
Where were we?
Oh yes, I remember. Transforming molehills into the front range of the Rocky Mountains and then setting them on fire:
So which is it? Does having an opinion disqualify one from being a journalist? Or can you have an opinion and still retain the coveted “journalist” status and protections?And so forth:
WikiLeaks and Greenwald hold pro-transparency opinions. Because those kind of opinions do not serve the corporate and government establishment, those establishments work to marginalize them by treating them and those connected to them as non-journalists...And of course the Mulligatawny wouldn't taste like mama used to make without at least a dollop of !Bradley!Manning!:
Consider how the legal wrangling in the Bradley Manning case shows a government that is trying to narrow the definition of journalist on ideological grounds.
And this, our life,
exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees,
books in the running brooks,
sermons in stones,
and Salon article fodder in everything.