Wednesday, March 05, 2014

On Glenn Greenwald

Yesterday's snapshot noted:

Ukraine?  We've been noting events outside of the snapshots for the most part.  We're bringing it into the snapshot today.

We're going to start with who Glenn Greenwald got into bed with this time, a billionaire who bought Glenn's ass and mouth.   When he broke the Ed Snowden story, we gave him credit for that.  And it would have been great to offer praise over and over.  But he's Glenn Greenwald and his circle jerk has always been pretty nasty.  Now it's apparently involved in attempting to overthrow governments.

Chris Floyd (CounterPunch) reports, "The Western intervention in Ukraine has now led the region to the brink of war. Political opposition to government of President Viktor Yanukovych — a corrupt and thuggish regime, but as with so many corrupt and thuggish regimes one sees these days, a democratically elected one — was funded in substantial part by organizations of or affiliated with the U.S. government, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (a longtime vehicle for Washington-friendly coups), and USAID. It also received substantial financial backing from Western oligarchs, such as billionaire Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and sole bankroller of the new venue for “adversarial” journalism, First Look, as Pandodaily reports."  Marcy Wheeler of Empty Wheel fame and now part of  Omidyar's First Look was speculating on who in the US might have been involved in the attempt to destabilize the Ukraine and Mark Ames (PandoDaily) pursued that angle:

Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.
But that’s not the shocking part.
What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark deep force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).
Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, in the annals of independent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine.

It actually had a joke in it that I pulled -- a joke so funny the friend I was dictating it to (a professional stand up comic) dropped his phone while he laughed.  By the end of the snapshot, I ended up pulling it.  The joke will show up in my friend's act -- unconnected to Glenn because Glenn's not famous enough for inclusion in stand up.

And as I type that, I can just see Glenn preparing his response, "Oh fame, humor and (as always) me."

The same person -- maybe it's Glenn e-mailing under a pseudonym -- who always insists Glenn has been treated unfairly e-mails again to ask why I loathe Glenn.  I actually don't.  I disagree with him often.

Along with what I've written here about Glenn, you can also refer to "About Glenn Greenwald (C.I.)" where I filled in for Elaine and "Barack, can you hear me now?" where I filled in for Ann.

I don't loathe him and I don't even dislike Glenn Greenwald.  We are among his harshest critics on the left.  Before he broke the Ed Snowden story, we were his harshest critic from the left.  Even then, if he was right, he got credit for being right.

He's not often right but when he is, he has received credit.

Now if I disliked him, I'd have no problem saying so.  Watch this:  I despise Jeremy Scahill.


Not afraid to say it.

He's a fake and I worked very hard on the Oscar party circuit to ensure that worthless didn't go home with an award.  (And thanks, Jerry Scahill, I and two friends used your 2008 playbook in the Democratic primaries, that's how we took you down.)

I found his documentary to be weak and refusing to pin down the people responsible.  I also found it to lack a cinematic feel.

But Jerry Scahill's bad film making isn't why I don't like him.  I don't like him because he's a liar who refuses to get honest.

We're the ones who outed the Samantha Power control of Jerry.  Samantha bragged about it which is how I learned of it.  She was the handler for Barack's campaign when it came to 'independent' media.

They treated her like a god.

She's a War Hawk.

And everyone makes mistakes but before we red-rover-red-rover-let-Jeremy-come-over again, he'll need to either own up to what he did or he'll need to do something so spell binding and amazing that praise can't be denied.

I don't see either happening.

He was dishonest, he was a liar.  2008 is not forgotten.  And those who elected to misuse power that year, those who lied to their audiences and followers to whore for Barack?

They own up or they're not forgiven.

(To be clear, everyone supporting Barack in 2008 was not whoring.  I often note Halle Berry because she's a friend and Barack was her candidate for good reasons.  I'm referring to those whores who attacked one candidate -- usually Hillary -- for a stance that was the same stance Barack held -- a detail they whored and stayed silent about.  I will also never welcome in John Nichols who lied when Barack's campaign was caught telling Canada that Barack's NAFTA talk was just talk -- Nichols announced -- on Amy Goodman's crappy show -- that it was really Hillary.  He had the scoop and the facts.  But he had to write it before he could talk.  He had nothing and there was never any written report.  He was whoring.  Spinning lies in an attempt to take the focus off Barack.)

Glenn didn't stay out of it as he likes to pretend today but he wasn't as bad as some.

A friend also argues that I give Glenn a break because he's gay and out.

And that's probably true.  LGBT rights have always been important to me and I do appreciate that Glenn is out and a commentator of some level of recognition.  I think that has an impact on future generations as well as right now in terms of media portrayals of LGBTs.

Glenn was called out for his nonsense of working for a man who got in bed with the US government to create a crisis in the Ukraine.

I stand by that call.

Prior to that, he got a pass for his strong scoop (Ed Snowden) and I certainly defended him and his partner here through many unfair attacks on them.

But Glenn creates his own problems.

The reason this is such a story is because Glenn has denied (and lied) about how much influence his boss has on his outlet.

In one of the pieces above (the one at Elaine's site), I noted Glenn's problem: He can't enjoy himself.

I said he needed to stop slamming critics and stop feeling the need to respond to everything.

Doing that makes it about you and not the work.

Glenn's a celebrity.

It's a shame few see him as a reporter now.

But that's what happens when you're forever responding to whatever a critic says about you.

I have never, ever commented on a review about my professional work.  I've never even read them.  I felt if I read the early stuff (which was praise -- I'm referring to offline, not my 'C.I.' work), I'd have to read it when it wasn't praise.

I know when I suck.  I don't need a review to tell me.  I know when I've done okay.  I don't need a review to tell me.

I never fired off a letter to the editor in response to a piece on me.

Liz Phair did.  And that was stupid.

She was slammed by the New York Times.

Liz wanted to speak back.

She shouldn't have.

Once she did, it became, "Is Liz right?"

Stevie Nicks is immensely talented and a true legend.

But part of the reason her fans love her so is that Stevie was trashed by critics for years.

You'll find little praise in the 70s ("space cadet" was among the more popular terms appearing in music 'critiques').

Only slightly more in the 80s.  But the 90s?  That's when they can't get away with it anymore.

Stevie was slammed and didn't respond to it.  She shouldn't have.

Her work was strong.

More importantly, by not responding, it left the focus on the review.

And an unfair review riles a lot of people.

It helped solidify her standing and gave her fans a battle to take part in.

Glenn's followers could do the same if he'd learn to stop responding to everything.

Instead, he responds and it becomes about him.

It's not smart celebrity wise.

And if he's not trying to be a celebrity, he should have stopped responding to every critique long ago.

When I filled in for Elaine, I concluded with:

It's not easy to be criticized, I understand that.  I really do. It's why I never read reviews of my work.  (Much easier to do in the pre-online days.)  But I did my work and the critics did their work. By the same token, Glenn did his work and the critics are doing their work.  Sometimes that's nothing but jealousy.  Sometimes it's quite a bit more.  But unless you're going to get caught up in the "I will respond to everything!" trap, you have to learn to let it go.
I have a body of work (in the entertainment world, not press) that I'm very proud of.  Glenn would do himself a huge favor by learning to blow off some of the criticism, to even ignore it.  A career is peaks and valleys.  If you can't enjoy the peaks, how are you going to feel at the low points?  Just have fun with it.

His need to respond to everything has robbed him of moments of joy he should have embraced because the Ed Snowden reporting does not happen every day, every year or even to every reporter.

He's made himself a celebrity and stupidly presented himself as the one true voice.  Of course other outlets are going to run with a story about hypocrisy when they encounter it.  My last tip for Glenn, learn to laugh and say, "You know what, you're right."  It often disarms your critics.