Monday, August 19, 2013

Why All of Our Eggs Shouldn't Be Placed in Glenn Greenwald's Basket

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden Supporters Are Being Discredited (by the) Left and Right Because Of Their Self-Appointed Mouthpiece.

I'll just say it... Glenn Greenwald is not a real journalist.  Not even close.  He's a fame-monger and he's very successful at that much. and The Guardian are both taking a lot of hits lately in the credibility department but they don't care because they are raking in the cash and page views.  This is the path that Greenwald has led them down.

Here are some problems with Greenwald and why the libertarian left needs a new hero:

1. He wants to be the "decider".
Greenwald encourages his readers to have blind trust in anyone who is willing to steal files and breach security.  He believes that individual citizens and employees acting on their own accord are better equipped to decide what information you are exposed to than the governments you have elected with your votes.  George W. Bush garnered a lot of well-deserved criticism for calling himself "the decider" and that seems to be how Greenwald views himself as well.  He will not tolerate oversight or checks and balances.  Most recently, that has taken the form of threatening the UK government with more leaks because airport security dared to detain his boyfriend.  It didn't take Joy Reid any more than 30 characters to sum up the problem with his logic:  "Welcome to 'Punishment Journalism'":

Regardless of where you stand on privacy and government surveillance, you should be skeptical of someone who wants to override your democratic vote and make their own rules.  You should ponder the difference between a "whistleblower" and someone who has broken the law out of vengeance or egotism.

One last word on George W. Bush, The Great Decider... Greenwald was a pretty big fan of his work back in the day.

2. The only thing bigger than the Government is Greenwald's ego.
Glenn Greenwald has a longstanding tendency to answer questions with insults and name-calling.  We'll elaborate on that point in a moment but it's also worth noting that he fails to recognize the credibility of anyone but himself. This is not something that makes for a good journalist.  Here is an example of Greenwald putting his foot in his mouth in a blatant show of unnecessary one-upmanship:  Greenwald to State Dept. Official and Princeton PhD: "Edward Snowden has done far more for the world in the last 2 months than you have in your life."

3. He will not be questioned by the likes of you.
Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski  once asked Glenn Greenwald if leaking government files was legal or illegal. Moreover, she wanted to know if metadata collection was really comparable to the kind of surveillance where someone is reading your personal emails or listening to your phone calls.  The response from Greenwald was an angry accusation that she was just blindly reading "White House talking points".  He managed to avoid the question entirely.

Accusing everyone of being a blind "Obama follower" is Greenwald's signature insult.  The accusation is his 'slim jim' that can be used to get him out of any jam.  By pitting himself against the President of the USA, anyone who questions his sources or accuracy can be instantly labeled and sent away as part of the vast conspiracy against him.

When I asked Greenwald to provide sources for his claim that thousands of Muslim children were being intentionally targeted by "Obama's drones", this was his response:

It's important to note here that Greenwald never did source or give proper citation to his rant about "Obama's drones killing Muslim children".  Most of the "sources" that I gleaned from his loyal fanbase were just random bits of supposed eyewitness testimony from Afghan and Pakistani tribesman sloppily pasted together with photos of children who we KNOW are not even dead and who were actually injured by Al Qaeda.
Furthermore, Greenwald often conflates the numbers of children killed by drones during the Bush Presidency with numbers from more recent years.  "Hundreds of Children Killed by Drones" made for quite a headline in 2012, but Greenwald neglected to mention that those numbers had been stacking up since 2004.

4. He's a cyberbully.
Michelle Malkin started a nasty little trend on the internet that is a unique blend of cyberbullying, tabloid journalism and "reality tweeting".  If you are not familiar with her website,, you can read all about that mess right here.  But Malkin is not the only one who uses her massive number of followers/fans to beat down any opposition and cyberbully regular joes on Twitter.  Greenwald does that too.  As can be seen in exchanges like the one with Daniel Serwer and a few with myself,  Greenwald's followers pay close attention to every tweet he sends out and when he argues with someone or calls attention to a twitter user, that person is subject to hundreds of angry threats and namecalling from Greenwald's mob.

It's becoming increasingly common for famous people to "retweet" a negative reaction to their followers so that the critic will be bombarded with attacks from the celebrity's fans.  This is unfair and unethical, in my opinion and people who are enjoying their moment at the top of the mountain should not be focused on causing avalanches for the villagers below.

5. He doesn't verify his talking points for factual accuracy.
Greenwald and his partner-in-crime David Sirota are infamous for their flagrant flame throwing and audacious omissions of substantive facts. This is well documented all over the internet, but if you insist that I give you some examples, you can read about that here, here, here and here.  Glenn Greenwald will simply move on to the next talking point if it becomes too obvious that the first one is a bust.


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  2. Quality journalism has been systematically relegated to small pockets found on the Internet. Since it can't be squelched entirely it will be obfuscated by the proliferation of the news-for-profit industry. Just look at the differences between Time magazine covers for the United States vs. the rest of the world.

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