This long fencing match between Old Media Defender Bill Keller (New York Times) and Newly Flush New Media Battering Ram Glenn Gleenwald is fascinating. Keep people talking long enough and their biases will come out. Keller had the armor and the fortified position. Greenwald had the longbows and a perfect willingness to put an arrow though anything not marching under his banner. Both of them drew blood. Each of them deflected like mad when the other's blade came too close to their vitals.
I agree with this piece of Keller's unsolicited advice:
I’ll offer one unsolicited piece of advice. There’s very little you've said about The Times in this exchange that hasn’t been said before in the pages of The Times, albeit in less loaded language. Self-criticism and correction, and I've had considerable experience of both, are no fun, but they are as healthy for journalism as independence and a reverence for the truth. Humility is as dear as passion. So my advice is: Learn to say, “We were wrong.
Which pairs nicely with Mr. Keller's take on Mr. Greenwald's repeated border crossings between between rigor ("X" is happening and here is my proof) advocacy ("X" is happening and it is wrong) and zealotry ("X" is happening and it is wrong and anyone who disagrees with me to the slightest degree is a drooling stooge of fascism):
You insist that “all journalism has a point of view and a set of interests it advances, even if efforts are made to conceal it.” And therefore there’s no point in attempting to be impartial. (I avoid the word “objective,” which suggests a mythical perfect state of truth.) Moreover, in case after case, where the mainstream media are involved, you are convinced that you, Glenn Greenwald, know what that controlling “set of interests” is. It’s never anything as innocent as a sense of fair play or a determination to let the reader decide; it must be some slavish fealty to powerful political forces.
That said, Mr. Greenwald gives every bit as good as he gets, and since I am a biased judge, I must award him the laurels for this admirably blunt exchange regarding David Brooks:
Greenwald: ...As for whether our new venture will be ideologically homogenized: the answer is “definitely not.” We welcome and want anyone devoted to true adversarial journalism regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, and have already been speaking with conservatives journalists like that: real conservatives, not the East Coast rendition of “conservatives” such as David Brooks. Our driving ideology is accountability journalism grounded in rigorous factual accuracy.Keller: ...Your apparent contempt for David Brooks is revealing. Presumably what disqualifies him from your category of “real conservatives” is that he puts reason over passion and sometimes finds a middle ground. As Lenin despised liberals, as the Tea Party loathes moderate Republicans, you seem to reserve your sharpest scorn for moderation, for compromise. Look at today’s Washington and tell me how that’s working out.Greenwald: ...My “contempt” for David Brooks is grounded in his years of extreme war cheerleading and veneration of an elite political class that has produced little beyond abject failure and corruption. I don’t see anything moderate about him at all.
In that flurry of punches and counterpunches you can glimpse everything that is wrong and corrupt about how the Times -- and the entire Mainstream Media -- cossets clowns David Brooks.
No, Mr. Keller, David Brooks does not sometimes find a "middle ground": in column after column, year after years, when David Brooks wasn't cheerleading some contemptible Conservative scheme for making war or further serving elite interests, he has been hiding from fallout from his own written and spoken opinions by A) denying he ever wrote them, B) radically revising Conservative history so most of the bad stuff simply never happened and, C) constructing wholly fake extreme Liberal positions which he uses to counterbalance the wholly really, monstrous Conservative positions so that he can play the Reasonable Moderate, boldly staking out the completely fictional "middle ground" he invented out of whole cloth.
Mr. Greenwald got close enough to the glass jaw of Mainstream Media Both Siderism to take a shot, and he took it.
Gotta respect that.