Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Where's my fork?

Have you seen my fork?

Just noting in passing, but I think Glenn Greenwald is becoming more irrelevant by the day.

I'm quite sure Salon had two Greenwald related posts up only a few days ago.  One is still available if you search for it, but it didn't slide from the front page over to "Most Read" status; I found it through Google.  The other was an excerpt from his book.  Maybe they deleted that one because Huffington Post has it now; maybe it was never there, and my memory is bad (I didn't bother to read it, but I remember it).

In either case, Greenwald doesn't seem to be trending, even at his old internet stomping grounds.  Which is curious, because Greenwald seems more determined than ever to make the NSA revelations of Edward Snowden all about Greenwald.

He promised, in the Salon interview, to reveal yet more blockbusters.  I thought I'd read somewhere these would be in his book (which was embargoed even for reviewers until it was released), but apparently no blockbusters were hidden in those pages.  In the interview he says the news will be ready for the public by maybe June of this year.  Of course, he's been promising major revelations and retribution against the British and American governments since August of last year, so I guess we're just supposed to believe him and keep waiting with bated breath; or on tenterhooks, or something.

The anticipation is killing me.

But if the excerpt of his new book from Huffington Post is any indication, Greenwald still thinks this story is all about Greenwald.  (I ventured that opinion at Salon, and was denounced as a troll by Greenwaldian acolytes.  I thought it was kinda funny nobody would engage the substance of what I said.  No one rebutted me, they just complained that I'd raised the issue.)  He doesn't seem to have much to say about what the NSA has been doing (no surprise, since so much of what he's said has been wrong), but a great deal to say about what it's like to be Glenn Greenwald.  The more things change, the more they remain the same.

I thought the journalist wasn't supposed to be the point; the story was.  Even Edward Snowden asked Putin about surveillance and espionage.  Greenwald just gives interviews about what it's like to be Greenwald, and to make sure everybody looks forward to what Greenwald says next, or what Glenn Greenwald thinks about surveillance and national security.  I mean, what, exactly, did he tell Stephen Colbert about the NSA that was new, interesting, or even insightful, except that, once again, the best is yet to come?

Which seems to be pretty much to be the best way to be sure everybody is paying attention to Glenn Greenwald, because he's not through trying to occupy center stage just yet.

Just as a quick example, because Greenwald is on "Fresh Air" as I type:  he just said he has in his possession "tens of thousands" of documents (the number has never been specific) which governments around the world want to get hold of.  Again, the story is about brave Glenn Greenwald and nefarious governments with shadowy, threatening powers.  What it isn't about, over a year later, is what's in those documents.  Greenwald can't, or won't, tell us.  What he will tell us is that he's very important because he has them.

As long as he can do that, he's a "journalist."  Apparently.  Odd definition, if you ask me.


  1. Considering the extent to which you have to maintain faith in the good intentions of Snowden and Greenwald, ignoring that Snowden was almost certainly trying to find a buyer for some of the stolen intelligence in Hong Kong and stupidly put himself at the mercy of the Chinese and Putin governments, the Snowden-Greenwald mania has to count as a mass delusion. That it is a delusion in response to a really serious problem of United States government endangerment of rights doesn't make it any less of a delusion than the grotesquely irresponsible and dishonest view of Mao's government in the 1960s even as it was engaged in mass murders and a far more severe suppression of rights. The wrongs of the US government are real and they are dangerous but they aren't the only real and dangerous wrongs in the world, perhaps it is a product of the US, including the would-be left, being so narrow sighted that it doesn't take what happens to people in other places all that seriously. Considering the level of rights violations and privacy, the toleration of stunning violence in Brazil, where Greenwald lives and in Russia, where Snowden does, the sins of the U.S. government might be corrected. There is some record of that being possible here.

    I have been struck at how Charlie Pierce is stuck between ignoring the stupidity of his newly found fan base, mostly suckers for Greenwald and Snowden, and his desire to point out the delusion. It was something that was also true of the late Bart Cop, who was widely slammed by people who were calling him a filthy traitor over this issue a few short weeks before they were mourning his passing. Thank God, I'm not invested in doing anything except saying what I think on these things.

  2. Pierce keeps complaining that tout le monde wants to make the story about Greenwald, never once realizing why the story continues to be about Greenwald.

  3. Thanks for the link to Greenwald's interview on Stephen Colbert's show. I'm guessing that Colbert was not completely out of character in the interview, because he made excellent arguments against what Snowden and Greenwald have done, some of the best I've heard yet.

    I continue not to be shocked by the revelations. Before the internet the FBI and the CIA were spying with bugs in telephones, homes, offices, legal or illegal. And that's not to mention their people who wore hidden recorders. Surprise!

    No one talks about it, but I continue to worry about people who work with the spy agencies who may have been compromised and harmed or even killed because of the revelations, especially those in other countries. Though the people cooperating with US spy agencies may know what they do is dangerous, they expect certain protections when they choose to work for a spy agency. Why is the subject never mentioned?

  4. Mimi-

    When Greenwalds gets asked about that (I think it came up on "Fresh Air") he waves it airily away.

    Because, ultimately, it's all about Greenwald and what he think government can legitimately do. He insists there are no incidents (I remember it now) of leakers having "blood on their hands," because he's done the research.

    Of course, most of what he said the NSA documents said were shown to be misrepresentations, exaggerations, and complete misunderstandings, so I'm not sure his "research' is all that reliable; especially since he hasn't published his results, with references.

    Seriously: I have to ask, why should I believe Greenwald?

  5. Why should we believe Greenwald? He's fully invested in the great thing he has done, and he's bound to brush off criticism.

    I dared to leave a comment at Pierce's place saying pretty much what I said here. We shall see.