Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Glenn Greenwald's Own Private Idaho


The problem I have with the Glenn Greenwald piece in the Guardian isn't so much the shoddy journalism contained within it, which is slowly starting to be exposed, or even the self-righteous indignation that Greenwald has exhibited over the last few days - indeed over most of his career - as more and more people challenge him on his "facts." It's that it has become a distraction for what the real issue should be.

Basically it comes down to this: how much freedom are we willing to sacrifice in order to feel safe? It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The key words here are essential and temporary. Was Franklin intimating that there is a distinction between essential liberty and absolute liberty? And if so, is there an acceptable tradeoff that a free society can tolerate in order to protect itself? And regarding the word temporary, was Franklin also conceding that safety, as we've come to define it, is transitory at best? It would seem the answer to both is yes.

If that is the case, if there is no such thing as absolute freedom or security, how do we, as a democracy, balance the two? For it is how a society achieves that precarious balance that ultimately ends up defining it.

Those who would scream bloody murder - as Greenwald has done - at the revelation that the government is spying on them, should have to explain to all of us what their alternative would be. How would they protect the country from a formidable enemy that neither knows what freedom is, nor would care even if it did?

Yes, I am acutely aware of the fact that we have a responsibility to differentiate ourselves from those who would do us harm. If we simply adopt the values and tactics of our enemies, then we have become them. In that event, we have lost the war anyway.

That's why I confessed in an earlier piece that I was of "two minds" concerning the use of drones. On the one hand, they have proven to be a valuable tool in the war on terror; on the other hand, their continued use is slowly undermining an already badly tarnished reputation within the Middle East.     

For that reason it is high time the nation had an adult conversation about drones, surveillance programs, indeed a great many things. It would be, by far, the healthiest thing we could do as a people.

But Glenn Greewald isn't interested in having an adult conversation. For him, it's all about his agenda. Anyone who challenges that agenda or has the audacity to point out inaccuracies in his logic or fact finding is called a lapdog or accused of "using White House talking points," as Greenwald did to Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe.

He later tweeted the following: "Irony: there's nobody hated more by those who play "journalists" on TV than those who bring transparency to the US Government."

Funny that Greenwald should have used the word irony. I wonder if it's dawned on him that employing intimidation tactics against colleagues who question his motives smacks of McCarthyism at its most extreme. I wonder, too, if he's even remotely aware of just how "transparent" those motives have been in this matter.

Yes, the main-stream media has rolled over way too many times for my tastes, and yes they should and must stand up to power and ask the appropriate, probative questions that get at the truth.  But Glenn Greenwald is the last "journalist" who should be shouting from the rafters. He is a shill for the far left who takes a rather narrow view of the Constitution and then imposes that view upon the rest of us in the most condescending manner imaginable. If you've ever seen any debate in which Greenwald has participated in, you know exactly what I mean. The man is always right and everyone else hates freedom and democracy.

He's not a journalist in any sense of the word.  He's an ideologue, as far removed from the center as the far right is. He is no better than a Glenn Beck, except that Greenwald at least has a better command of the English language and has the illusion of legitimacy that Beck can only dream of.

Appearing on ABC's This Week, Greenwald said that we should expect more "revelations" from him. No surprises there. With Glenn Greenwald, it's always about him. He IS the story. After all, he's the "guardian" of our precious rights, a champion against the tyranny of Big Brother.

Mika Brzezinski, to her credit, never responded to Greenwald's backhanded slap on Twitter, so if I may be so bold, let me give it a whirl.

"The only thing more dangerous than a main-stream media that rolls over is a self-absorbed, self-appointed demigod with an ax to grind."

Nailed it with room to spare!


Links: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/glenn-greenwald-spars-on-morning-joe-92479.html?hp=r2

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/09/glenn-greenwald-this-week-should-expect-more-revelations_n_3411834.html

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