A panel discussion on Fox News Watch last weekend focused on the question of Glenn Greenwald and asked whether activist journalism can be trusted. The Fox Panel completely skirted the the specifics about Greenwald, however, so it ended up being another case in which the public was misdirected on the real agenda behind the NSA story.
The Fox segment opened with a clip of Greenwald bringing up Thomas Jefferson, acting as though his First Amendment rights are being trampled on. It’s not true. This is the “distract and confuse” game that Greenwald plays constantly, attempting to manipulate people into believing something that’s not true by dropping accusations and allusions that aren’t relevant to the actual topic.
Greenwald and Snowden played distract and confuse early on. In Greenwald’s video interview with Snowden, the latter said: “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Of course, Snowden doesn’t live in a world where everything he says and does is recorded. That’s not even being alleged, and that’s not what is happening with the NSA.
There is a psychological effect that Snowden achieved, however. By making that dramatic, shocking, but totally false and irrelevant statement, Snowden and Greenwald were actually able to convince many people that the government was, in fact, recording everything they do and say. Busy people who work for a living and can’t research every story heard Snowden talk about a world where everything was recorded and thought that was what Greenwald was actually exposing.
The technique is simple: throw as much mud as possible, knowing that, when the mud is washed away and the facts are revealed, most people will only remember the mud. The goal is to create lingering doubt. If all that mud was there, there has to be something to the allegations, right? Something?
This is media legerdemain of the highest order and it’s Greenwald’s modus operandi. It feeds on human nature; once people are emotionally invested in a position, it’s very hard to get them to shake it. Nobody likes to admit they were wrong, and ever fewer people like to admit they were fooled. It’s easier for the people who have been conned to attack the person pointing out the con game.
Greenwald desperately wants to deflect from legitimate questions about whether he broke the law in his work with Edward Snowden. The timeline of events shows clearly that Greenwald was working with Snowden prior to Snowden taking a job at NSA contractor Booz Allen for the express purpose of getting classified information. As defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz pointed out recently:
Well, it doesn’t border on criminality–it’s right in the heartland of criminality. The statute itself, does punish the publication of classified material, if you know that it’s classified. And so, Greenwald–in my view–clearly has committed a felony.
The panel brought up Fox reporter James Rosen, but there’s a big difference between Greenwald and Rosen. While Greenwald likes to portray himself as the victim, there’s no evidence that the government has done a single thing to persecute him.
The Fox panel held a back-and-forth about journalism and bias, but they did not actually discuss the bias that Greenwald brought to the story. There is nothing wrong with Greenwald having a viewpoint, nor is there anything wrong with combining journalism and activism if you’re upfront about it.
The problem with Greenwald isn’t that he’s an activist; the issue is his close working relationship with Snowden. The question of whether Greenwald crossed the line from journalist into co-conspirator is an important one, especially given the reality of Greenwald’s resume.
Greenwald’s background isn’t a mystery. He is very open about his views, his agenda as a left-wing anti-war activist is crystal clear, and his methods are well known. He’s been an ardent supporter of WikiLeaks, Julian Asange, Anonymous-affiliated writer Barrett Brown, and Bradley Manning. He hated the policies of President George W. Bush and he hates Obama to the extent he has followed in Bush’s footsteps.
The only mystery is why so many conservatives have fallen for it. Greenwald’s far left take is nearly identical to Weather Underground radical communist Bill Ayers, who described his position just a few weeks ago in a video posted by website Real Clear Politics. It is the polar opposite of conservatism; Ayers, like Greenwald, wants to get rid of military spending but increase every other part of the state. There’s one crucial difference: Greenwald and his views weren’t as well known to most conservatives as those of Ayers.
For Greenwald, the attack on the NSA is a merely a tactical battle for his real target: the United States military and America in general. He doesn’t care about the dangerous effects of crippling the NSA in the fight against terrorism, because he doesn’t believe the war on terror is real.
Here’s a Greenwald column from March of this year entitled “The racism that fuels the ‘war on terror’“–and the title sums up Greenwald’s position concisely: he’s opposed to the war on terror. He doesn’t even believe it’s a real thing, so he puts it in scare quotes. Greenwald believes it is fueled by racism.
This decade-long Othering of Muslims–a process necessary to sustain public support for their continuous killing, imprisonment, and various forms of rights abridgments–has taken its toll.
If Greenwald’s anti Americanism isn’t clear enough, here’s Greenwald’s answer at The Guardian to a question about “the collapse of the American empire”:
The events leading to such a collapse would likely entail misery and suffering for many people, which isn’t something to cheer, but the end of US military dominance and the maintenance of a US empire is certainly something to cheer.
It’s too hard to predict what the consequences would be, too many variables. Usually, major political transformations and collapses of hegemonic states bring about lots of suffering and instability, but there’s a wide range of how awful it could be.
There it is. Greenwald wants the end of U.S. military dominance. He’s good with the collapse of the “hegemonic states,” like the United States of America. He is anti-military and anti-United States–a leftist radical of the most extreme kind, for whom “suffering and instability” are something to muse about while cheering on the end of Western civilization as we know it from the comfort of his compound in Brazil.
That is why Greenwald is promoting the NSA story, and that is why he supports Snowden as he spreads classified military information around the globe. He has an agenda meant to destroy the country. To quote Dershowitz again:
Look, Greenwald’s a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. This had nothing to do with publicizing information. He never would’ve written this article if they had published material about one of his favorite countries.
Nobody on the Fox panel actually pointed out who Greenwald is and what he believes. They didn’t make Greenwald’s own stated views clear to their viewers. And that’s on Fox News–which makes it highly unlikely CNN or MSNBC will do it, either.
Greenwald can pretend he’s a fan of Jefferson and the Constitution, and he can fool some of the people some of the time. However, he can’t fool all of the people all of the time because it is self-evident: actual fans of the Constitution don’t cheer on the fall of America.