Aug
09
2009

Left's Non-Smears Worse Than Right's Nazi Talk?

Glenn Greenwald has responded via his regular Salon feature (8/6/09, ad-viewing required) to Rush Limbaugh, "speaking to his audience of 15 million, compar[ing] Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler and Nancy Pelosi to Nazi leaders," by asking you to instead compare (a) the way that a single anonymous person's comparison of Bush and Hitler swamped our political discourse and forever altered the image of MoveOn with (b) what the (non)-reaction will be to the identical comparison coming from the leader of the Republican Party who spouts his hate-mongering to an audience of 15 million people. Within that comparison one finds many […]

Jul
23
2009

Venerating — but Not Emulating — Journos of Yore

In a piece about current media "Celebrating Cronkite While Ignoring What He Did" by (belatedly) condemning the U.S. war on Vietnam, Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald (7/18/09, ad-viewing required) addresses another recently passed war reporter as well: When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam died, media stars everywhere commemorated his death as though he were one of them–as though they do what he did–even though he had nothing but bottomless, intense disdain for everything they do. As he put it in a 2005 speech to students at the Columbia School of Journalism: "The better you do your job, often going against conventional […]

Jul
17
2009

Big Media's 'Steadfastly Neutral' 'Partisan Ideologues'

Asking his readers to "remember" that, on NBC, Chuck Todd "is billed as a reporter covering the White House, not a pundit expressing opinions," Salon's Glenn Greenwald (7/15/09, ad-viewing required) examines a Todd appearance on the MSNBC show Morning Joe "discussing reports that [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder is likely to appoint a prosecutor to investigate Bush torture crimes. Needless to say, everyone agreed without question that investigations were a ridiculous distraction from what really matters and would be terribly unfair": In response to virtually every media criticism (at least the few they acknowledge), establishment journalists will insist that their […]

Jul
10
2009

NYT's 'Blatant Lie' Now 'Embedded Fact… as Intended'

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (7/9/09, ad-viewing required) is extolling "The Significance of McClatchy's Act of Journalism" when reporting that recently released six-year Guantanamo prisoner Haji Sahib Rohullah Wakil–one of many who supposedly "returned to or are suspected of returning to terrorism after their release"–"far from being in hiding, operates openly among officials of Afghanistan's U.S.-allied government." Labeling Nancy Youssef's piece "a consummate example of excellent journalism," Greenwald also wants us to note the central role the New York Times played–yet again–in spreading and given credence to pure government propaganda. And the method used to accomplish that is exactly what led them […]

Jul
06
2009

NPR Ombud Dodges 'Torture' Reporting Critic

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an update (7/2/09, ad-viewing required) on "several noteworthy developments since I wrote on Tuesday about the refusal of NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, to be interviewed by me about NPR's ban on using the word 'torture' to describe the Bush administration's interrogation tactics": Given the utter vapidity of her rationale ("there are two sides to the issue. And I'm not sure, why is it so important to call something torture?"), I was momentarily amazed to learn that she actually teaches "Media Ethics" to graduate students at Georgetown University…. NPR's "torture" ban and its ombudsman's incoherent defense of […]

Jun
28
2009

On 'Trial Balloons' and MSM's 'Veil of Anonymity'

Salon's Greenwald (6/27/09, ad-viewing required) has taken a hard look at Washington Post and ProPublica journalists Peter Finn's and Dafna Linzer's report–"relying exclusively on three Obama officials speaking behind a veil of anonymity"–"that the White House is 'crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely.'" Finding it "revealing" that "the article quotes two Bush national security officials justifying the need for detention without charges," Greenwald writes of how "anonymous trial balloon articles like this one are difficult to comment on because it's obviously designed to announce that a certain policy is being […]

Jun
15
2009

Battling 'Baseless, Worthless Grants of Anonymity'

Deeming "the battle against baseless, worthless grants of anonymity by journalists" to be "at this point, probably futile," Salon's Glenn Greenwald (6/15/09, ad-viewing required) is exasperated to see how "even many of the nation's best and most valuable reporters–such as the New Yorker's Jane Mayer–seem helplessly addicted to it." Greenwald points to "an otherwise solid and at times enlightening article on CIA Director Leon Panetta and his resistance to investigating past CIA abuses" in which Mayer includes this passage at the beginning of her article to explain how Panetta was chosen only after Obama's first choice, John Brennan, was rejected: […]

Jun
04
2009

Rule of Law vs. 'Blind Support' for Israel in Media

Responding to "both Likud Party members in Israel as well as their Americans supporters" who "complain that the Obama administration is unduly 'interfering' in Israeli politics"–as exemplified by Ben Smith of Politico reporting that "the administration's escalating pressure on Israel to freeze all growth of its settlements on Palestinian land has begun to stir concern among Israel's numerous allies"–Salon's Glenn Greenwald (6/3/09, ad-viewing required) likens the situation to "teenagers who tell their parents that they are not compelled to comply with parental dictates" and are told that "as long as they seek financial support, then the parents have the right […]

Jun
02
2009

Pundits, and Thus Pols: 'Pathologically' Blameless

Writing on Salon (5/31/09, ad-viewing required) of the "controversy surrounding Jeffrey Rosen's New Republic anonymity-driven smear attack on Sonia Sotomayor's intellect and character," Glenn Greenwald sees more evidence that the one trait that defines establishment pundits more than any other is a pathological inability ever to accept blame or admit error. That's because they work in the most accountability-free profession in America, where people like Bill Kristol (with a record like this) and Jeffrey Goldberg (with a record like this) get promoted despite no retractions or remorse, and establishment media stars in general can pretend that they bear no responsibility […]

May
26
2009

Brookings Institution: 'Liberal,' Centrist… or Extremist?

Poking holes in the Brookings Institution's "preening conceit"–"they bequeath their website with an '.edu' suffix… They are 'scholars.' Just ask them and they'll tell you"–Salon's Glenn Greenwald (5/26/09, ad-viewing required) quotes one blogger fundamentally debunking Brookings mainstay William Glaberson's May 22 New York Times contention that, as U.S. president, Barack Obama "has sworn an oath to protect the country": "Barack Obama did not swear an oath to 'protect the country.' He swore an oath to protect the principles upon which the country was founded and the document in which those principles are enshrined." Looking more broadly at "Beltway world," in […]

May
20
2009

Media Cheer Obama Moves Toward Bush's 'Center'

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (5/19/09, ad-viewing required) "gives the lie to the collective national claim that we learned our lesson and are now regretful about the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism": Republicans are right about the fact that while it was Bush officials who led the way in implementing these radical and lawless policies, most of the country's institutions–particularly the Democratic Party leadership and the media–acquiesced to it, endorsed it, and enabled it. And they still do. Nothing has produced as much media praise for Obama as his embrace of what [the New Republic's Jack] Goldsmith calls the "essential elements" of "the […]

May
15
2009

Monica Crowley: 'Young People Are Gravitating to the GOP'

While Glenn Greenwald and Camille Paglia catch us up on the increasingly hateful and dangerous language emanating from conservative talk radio–including Mark Levin show substitute host Andrew Wilkow repeatedly calling a gay man a "vile sodomite" and Limbaugh sub Mark Davis joking about the murder of top Democratic officials–there are other signs the genre is growing increasingly desperate in the midst of dwindling conservative and GOP fortunes. Take Monica Crowley, the Fox News contributor and talk radio host. While the former assistant to the disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon may not be the most hateful in the nation's vast toxic lineup […]

May
09
2009

NYT Names 'Harsh Tactics' as 'Torture' — by Chinese

Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald gets the site's lead story today (5/8/09, ad-viewing required) with an excerpt from the New York Times obituary for U.S. fighter pilot Harold E. Fischer Jr., who, as the Times headline puts it, was "Tortured in a Chinese Prison." Greenwald deems such naming of Fischer's ordeal–"kept in a dark, damp cell with no bed and no opening except a slot in the door…handcuffed. Hour after hour, a high-frequency whistle pierced the air"–to be "a major editorial breach" for the paper that so agilely dances around the T-word when reporting on U.S. actions: So that's torture now?… […]