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 […]

Jun
01
2009

Bill O'Reilly and the Murder of His 'Nazi' 'Baby Killer'

Writing at Salon (5/31/09, ad-viewing required) on the murder of "Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday while attending church services with his wife," Gabriel Winant wants us to know that there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on the Factor on February 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as […]

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
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?… […]

May
02
2009

And Now, From the 'Hard Left': Ronald Reagan

In his latest Salon blog entry (5/1/09, ad-viewing required), Glenn Greenwald displays his find of "a perfect illustration of how severely our political spectrum has shifted in the last two decades and how depraved and extremist our political and media classes have become"–one quote of the Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer rebutting those who "believe you never torture. Ever": Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. . . . The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to […]

Apr
26
2009

Torture Memos Bring Out True Allegiances of MSM

Writing at Salon (4/23/09, ad-viewing required) of how the "sheer criminality" of George W. Bush-era torture, "really for the first time, has exploded into mainstream political debates," Glenn Greenwald is thoroughly unsurprised by their behavior as "media stars are forced to address it": Exactly as one would expect, they are closing ranks, demanding (as always) that their big powerful political-official-friends and their elite institutions not be subject to the dirty instruments that are meant only for the masses–things like the rule of law, investigations, prosecutions and accountability when they abuse their power. To Greenwald, This remains the single most notable […]

Apr
22
2009

Unaccountability: 'A Trans-Partisan Religious Tenet of Beltway Culture'

Blogging from his regular Salon perch (4/20/09, ad-viewing required), Glenn Greenwald notes that the public wants to investigate U.S. torture (that's what the polls tell us), but: These facts about public opinion are virtually always excluded from establishment media discussions, and those who advocate investigations and prosecutions–the view held by large percentages, if not majorities, of Americans–are virtually never heard from. That's because the belief that elites should be exempted from all consequences when they break the law is as close to a trans-partisan religious tenet of Beltway culture as it gets. Consider yesterday's Meet the Press panel discussion of […]

Jan
27
2009

AP vs. Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments

An Associated Press headline about the "Issue of Terrorists' Rights to Test Obama's Pledge" to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility spurs Salon critic Glenn Greenwald (1/26/09, ad-viewing required) to put a basic journalistic tenet as simply as possible: "The fact that the U.S. Government accuses someone of X does not mean that they are actually guilty of X": It's a good thing that there was no Associated Press around (let alone Wall Street Journals and John Yoos) during debates over the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments. AP would have run articles describing the proposed guarantees of Due Process […]