I would note that I've seriously wondered whether or not writing this would be helpful to overall progressive causes. Regardless of the vileness and mendacity of so much of Greenwald's content, and the fact that his purest venom is typically reserved for liberals who have the unmitigated gall to be effective politicians, it is entirely possible that the result of his commentary (intended or otherwise) is to draw greater public attention to real issues of concern. Does his work have beneficial effects on discourse despite its egregious ethical and factual flaws, or does he poison real issues by distracting from them with so many petty, intractable prejudices and false insinuations?
On reflection, and based on how I've seen his writings used here and in other progressive forums, it seems likely to me that the effect on the wider community is exactly the same as the face-value content: Spreading hate, paranoia, and disinformation against the Democratic Party among its progressive base, and thereby undermining our causes. However, that is not the source of my criticism here - merely a fact that precludes any political excuse to ignore the repugnant reality of what Greenwald often does.
I. Review Background:
This review was initiated in order to fulfill a promise I made to certain of Greenwald's supporters here on Daily Kos who were offended by seeing him dismissed, and demanded that I justify my comments about him. This was a reasonable demand, but occurring within the context of similar discussions occurring over a couple of years where I've answered the same demand only to see the information ignored, forgotten, and then challenged once again not long thereafter, I was skeptical of the sincerity of the request. Part of the reason I'm undertaking this review is in order to address my own skepticism on that point, so that any subsequent demands along these lines can be answered with a single link to this post without having to repeat the same work.
Now, my original promise - which I made unsolicited, so the responsibility for it is all mine - was that I would review Greenwald's entire Salon archive. There are a few things to point out: (1) I was drunk when I made that sweeping promise, and therefore wasn't especially mindful of the fact that (2)the archive is 173 pages long, containing about a dozen articles per page, for well over fifteen hundred articles total. For the sake of practicality, I looked at limiting the scope only to the most recent four years, beginning with his commentary on Inauguration Day of the first term. If that were my standard, the archive would shrink to 103 pages - still well over a thousand articles. But at my observed rate of carefully parsing articles, this would have taken me over two months of work, if I worked on it every single day.
So I proceeded forward from articles beginning January 20, 2009, reviewing the content of each in detail, and identifying problems of logic, factuality, evidence, innuendo, personal attack, and other flaws along the way. I finally decided I had seen enough when I had reviewed 30 articles, because of those 30 - whose content I had not known in advance - fully a third came up with problems I identify below, and at least two articles were so riddled with flawed and propagandistic content as to be irrevocably corrupt, deceptive, and unethical. In other words, they were not random anomalies cherry-picked out of some otherwise distinguished career, but commonplace examples heavily represented in the reviewed sample.
I am mindful that these 30 articles, as numerous as they sound, only span a period of a few weeks, and as such I've gone through different pages of the archive at random looking for evidence of some major change in the pattern, but neither that effort nor my experience from prior run-ins with his content tells me there is anything unusual about the examples highlighted below. Content such as this is ubiquitous, and he has continued writing like this after departing Salon to work for the Guardian.
II. Review Results:
Here are the numbers:
Total articles reviewed: 30
Articles with identified problems: 10
Total problems identified: 26
Contradictory statements: 3
Hypocritical statements: 2
Personal smears: 4
Unsupported claims: 2
Both outright lies were, surprisingly, about the Democratic Party rather than Barack Obama, but innuendo (groundless insinuation) is Greenwald's favorite illegitimate tool when discussing the President. The contradictions I note refer to instances where Greenwald says something that discredits - or at least casts doubt - on an earlier statement of his without acknowledging the dissonance. Hypocritical statements are those involving a moral judgment that apply standards his own comments violate, or that appear to impose Catch 22s, and as such admittedly have a subjective aspect to my identification of them as such. The personal smears, however, are explicit and do not require any interpretation to identify. Unsupported claims are just that - he says things that might or might not be true, but which he either won't or can't possibly demonstrate (e.g., reading Barack Obama's mind, and invariably finding fault via telepathy).
If these numbers were extrapolated to the entire archive up to the most recent posts, and we set the number of articles at 1000, the result would be 67 overt lies, 67 unsupported claims, 133 personal smears, and 433 innuendos. Quite a career. That is, of course, assuming (based both on anecdotal experience with subsequent articles, and random perusal thereof) that his other work does not drastically improve in moral, ethical, and factual content...or that he hasn't gotten any worse.
III. Case-by-case Analysis
Here is a case-by-case breakdown of false or unsupported claims, innuendos, personal smears, various other content problems - it starts off relatively subtle, but soon escalates into examples of truly surreal propaganda:
1. The effects of Obama's refusal to investigate Bush crimes (1/20/2009)
[...]and these excerpts from that discussion are ones which not only every establishment media figure, but also many anti-investigation Obama supporters, should read[...]
The implication was that being an Obama supporter implied being opposed to opening criminal investigations into Bush regime figures. Since there is no evidence the President has ever attempted to stop any such investigation from occurring, and no polling data to indicate that any significant proportion of Obama supporters would be against these investigations - and plenty of us have been strongly in favor - Greenwald is already making an improper and unjustified insinuation on Obama's first day in office
2. The impact of Obama's latest excellent DOJ appointments (1/20/2009)
This was back in the day when Greenwald occasionally had something positive to say about the administration, although despite the largely upbeat tone of this article, he still somehow finds an excuse to make a jaundiced insinuation about the President's values and intentions:
It is virtually impossible to imagine that particular group of individuals placing political allegiance to Barack Obama over the principles they have so forcefully advocated over the last several years.
The implication being that "political allegiance" to President Obama would involve taking actions that violate those principles, which suggests they are principles not shared by the President. This is still
Obama's first day in office, and already his morals are suspect from Greenwald's perspective.
3. Mohammed Jawad and Obama's efforts to suspend military commissions (1/21/2009)
This article was, on the whole, quite good, informative, and important. Which is why it's very unfortunate that one of his claims is an outright lie:
[...]tribunals that were created when [Obama's] own political party, in the weeks before the 2006 mid-term elections, helped to enact the Military Commissions Act.
Senate Democrats voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006 by 32 to 12, and House Democrats voted against it 162 to 32. (Source
). Apparently the Democratic Party was strongly opposed, and most likely the opposition was even stronger among rank-in-file members (the people who actually comprise a political party) than Washington insiders.
4. To favor due process is to favor Terrorists' Rights (1/26/2009)
This is also largely a decent piece, but he revisits Lie 1 in innuendo form:
[...]exactly the kind of hearing which the 2006 U.S. Congress, when it enacted the Military Commissions Act (with the support of most of the Washington Establishment), voted to abolish.
I guess 73% of Democratic Senators and 84% of Democratic Congressmen didn't count as part of the "establishment." But since any claim about the "Washington Establishment" tends to imply a moral equivalency between the parties, it's obvious why the comment is problematic in light of how the vote actually went.
5. Continuing Bush policies in Afghanistan and Israel (1/26/2009)
Rachel Maddow highlighted all of the right questions, pointed to a number of vital parallels between our occupation of that country and the Soviet Union’s self-destructive attempt to control it, and tried — with total futility — to induce key Obama ally Sen. Claire McCaskill to address any of these questions in a meaningful way.
What exactly was it that made Claire McCaskill a "key" Obama ally, other than the fact that - according to Greenwald (since the video is no longer available) - she gave an evasive interview about her support for the administration's foreign policies? It's a subtle thing, and maybe it was just an innocent turn of hyperbole, but the effect is still to exaggerate the association with the President himself (not merely "the administration") of a Senator whose performance he had just ridiculed. And as we will begin to notice further on, Greenwald tends to be rather emphatic in personally identifying Obama when being critical of administration policies, but becomes much more abstract when being neutral or (increasingly rarely) positive.
6. Dick Armey and post-partisan harmony (1/29/2009)
I’m glad that the stimulus package yesterday — which Democrats watered down and comprised on as much as possible to please Republicans — did not attract even a single Republican vote in the House: not one.
At the time Greenwald wrote this, only the House version of the stimulus bill had been voted on, and there was no numerical necessity to compromise with Republicans in the House - which is why that never happened. There may or may not have been compromises with centrist or Blue Dog Democrats in the House, but the extent of such a need would be doubtful given the 52-vote margin at passage. In other words, Greenwald just didn't think the bill as introduced was sufficient, and from that conjured out of thin air the idea that Democrats had somehow deliberately capitulated to Republicans even in the absence of a political rationale for doing so.
This is an early example of another Greenwald behavior pattern: When he doesn't like the outcome of a process, rather than looking at the process to find out how something happened, he simply makes up a narrative about corrupt motives and weak morals among Democrats to explain it without supporting evidence. He does not appear to seek any deeper or more rational explanation for the output of American politics than to declare that everyone who disappoints him is either a coward, a fool, or a villain. Even in the Senate version of the bill, which wasn't voted on until later, the actual compromises with Republicans were limited to negotiations with three Republican Senators - Snowe, Collins, and Specter - two of whom were needed to reach the 60-vote threshold for passage. In other words, the process unfolded more or less as the composition and rules of the Senate dictated.
7. Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully (2/9/2009)
While I might agree with the title - the Justice Department's decision to maintain Bush regime "state secrets" positions with respect to torture victim lawsuits was certainly a failure of leadership - the body of the article takes its criticism well beyond a Presidential failure to impose change at the DOJ and instead posits an alternate universe where Barack Obama is not only the dictator of Justice Department policy, but someone intimately and personally involved in establishing the doctrines laid out in specific legal briefs.
Personal smear 1:
Yet here is Obama, the very first chance he gets, invoking exactly this doctrine in its most expansive and abusive form to prevent torture victims even from having their day in court[...]
Greenwald proposes a vivid image of the President as the devious, two-faced, inwardly-smirking villain who, having snuck into office by artfully deceiving everyone with a two-decade career of supporting the Constitution, now belts out laughing maniacally from the White House as he signs his name in blood to the legal brief continuing the Bush regime's state secrets claims. The only problem is that this portrayal is baseless, delusional fiction: Greenwald has no evidence of presidential directives to continue the Bush policy, and no evidence of the President's agenda being reflected in it.
All he knows is what we know: That the President failed to appoint people who would affect change in this area. Out of his disappointment with the result of that process, Greenwald constructs an alternate universe where "Obama" is another word for "government," and the failures thereof all add up to a personal indictment of the morals and motives of the President - a theme that has since become Greenwald's signature. We can't demand journalistic thoroughness in political commentary, but basic respect for reality is not optional when you represent yourself as a voice of truth, reason, and political accountability. The only way to credibly hold a President accountable is to first have some vague incling of what a President is, and be willing to communicate that clearly to an audience. Mr. Greenwald does not do that here, or indeed anywhere: If he does not like the output of a process, he simply lashes out personally at whatever Democrat is most politically prominent regardless of their actual systemic roles.
There's more of the same in several other parts of the article:
That’s what Barack Obama is now shielding from judicial scrutiny. Those are the torture victims he is preventing from obtaining judicial relief in our courts. And he’s using one of the most radical and destructive tools in the Bush arsenal — its wildly expanded version of the “state secrets” privilege — to accomplish all of that dirty work.
Barack Obama standing in the courthouse door like George Wallace blocking the schoolhouse. It's melodramatic enough that you would almost forget there is no evidence for any of it - no Executive Orders, no White House policy papers signed by the President or his immediate staff, no correspondence between the President and Attorney General on the subject, no reports of subordinates dissenting over it and being shut down by the Oval Office, nothing.
Unsupported claim 1:
This was an active, conscious decision made by the Obama DOJ to retain the same abusive, expansive view of “state secrets” as Bush adopted, and to do so for exactly the same purpose: to prevent any judicial accountability of any kind, to keep government behavior outside of and above the rule of law.
Where exactly is he getting this information? Greenwald cites no leaked memos or internal deliberations as evidence of his interpretation. He has no basis whatsoever for stating categorically what are or are not the intentions of the Holder
Justice Department in allowing state secrets to be invoked, let alone the President, to whatever extent he was involved (if at all). Greenwald's claim about the process that led to the decision and the DOJ's intentions in making it are pulled out of thin air.
Personal smear 2:
It will be extremely difficult for even the most loyal Obama followers to deny that this was an active and conscious decision on the part of the Obama DOJ to embrace one of the most extreme abuses of the Bush presidency.
At this point, a mere three weeks into the Obama Presidency, Greenwald has already decided that Obama is the Enemy and anyone who would question his baseless, unsupported claims about the President is a "loyal follower" acting out of blind piety. This article is really the jumping off point where his writings about the Obama administration begin to seriously depart from conscientious criticism into increasingly toxic realms of bigoted screed and conspiracy theory. Note that at no point does he have any suggestion for what the President himself should personally do within the context of his authority to rectify the problem.
8. The 180-degree reversal of Obama’s State Secrets position (2/10/2009)
Unsupported claim 2:
From the Obama/Biden campaign website, mybarackobama.com, here was what the Obama campaign was saying — back then — about the State Secrets privilege:
[...]The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and invoked a legal tool known as the "state secrets" privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.
Apparently, the operative word in that highlighted paragraph — unbeknownst to most people at the time — was “the Bush administration,” since the Obama administration is now doing exactly that which, during the campaign, it defined as “The Problem,” the only difference being that it is now Obama, and not Bush, doing it.
Except the real operative "word" (sic) is "more than any other previous administration," which is why that phrase was used instead of attacking the privilege entirely on the basis of how it was applied. And, as far as I can find, that statement is still correct, regardless of the moral outrageousness and constitutional danger of invoking it to prevent lawsuits by torture victims. The unsupported implication is that the Obama administration reversed itself from this campaign statement, which would require some evidence that they had surpassed the Bush regime in number of state secrets invocations. No such evidence is forthcoming in the article, nor indeed could such evidence have existed in the third week of the new administration.
Personal smear 3:
[...]and for Obama followers eager to find an excuse to justify what was done[...]
Basically just a careless repetition of Personal smear 2
: In other words, doubting the logical validity, accuracy, thoroughness, or honesty of Glenn Greenwald's claims about the Obama administration and the President personally marks you as an amoral automaton who is every bit as spasmodic in defense of the President as Greenwald increasingly shows himself to be in attacking him.
To underscore just what a complete reversal the Obama DOJ’s conduct is, consider what Seante Democrats were saying for the last several years. In early 2008, Sens. Kennedy and Leahy, along with Sen. Arlen Specter, sponsored the State Secrets Protection Act. It had numerous co-sponsors, including Joe Biden. In April, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill, with all Committee Democrats voting for it, along with Specter. The scheme of restrictions imposed on the privilege by that bill was the consensus view of the pre-2009 Democratic Party.
Greenwald cites no evidence that the Democratic Party had rescinded its support for legislation introducing restrictions on use of the state secrets privilege, or even that the administration opposes such legislation: He simply insinuates without basis that because the Justice Department under a Democratic administration has made a particular claim about current law, the entire Democratic Party
must ipso facto now be opposed to a new
law we have previously supported.
We don’t actually have a system of government (or at least we’re not supposed to) where we rely on the magnanimity and inherent Goodness of specific leaders to exercise secret powers wisely. We don’t actually have a system of government (or at least we’re not supposed to) where we rely on the magnanimity and inherent Goodness of specific leaders to exercise secret powers wisely. That, by definition, is how grateful subjects of benevolent tyrants think (“this power was bad in Bush’s hands because he’s bad, but it’s OK in Obama’s hands because he is good and kind”).
Greenwald has spent quite a lot of breath implying that we can and should rely on the magnanimity and inherent goodness of a President to dictate who the DOJ investigates, who they prosecute, and what legal arguments are advanced in specific civil cases rather than on the professional judgments of US Attorneys - in other words, that we should look to Richard Nixon and George W. Bush for advice on how the White House should relate to the Justice Department. In fact, his entire line of attack on Barack Obama vis-a-vis the DOJ boils down to the President's "failure" to do so.
He (Greenwald) uses doublethink to imply that authoritarianism in service to freedom would be justified (let alone definitively possible), and a President's respect for the Constitution on the part of his own direct authorities is inexcusable if the result is that authoritarian elements are able to exploit his scruples. In other words, the ends justify the means so long as the ends are Glenn Greenwald's. Thus we find him accusing Barack Obama of "authoritarianism" for not politicizing the Justice Department and not imposing his arbitrary will on federal law enforcement.
Writing at FDL in September, 2008, Obama’s new OLC official, Assistant Attorney General Marty Lederman, criticized the exact State Secrets privilege theory embraced yesterday by the Obama DOJ:
So President Obama - who, if you'll recall from Personal smear 1
above, was just waiting on the edge of his seat to personally invoke states secrets privilege in a DOJ civil case as soon as he could - had appointed an Assistant Attorney General who had publicly taken a position against just that, on multiple occasions, over the two years prior to his appointment. That's some deep conspiracy there. Or we can go crazy and suppose that the President appointed him because litmus tests over specific cases were never part of his selection process, since he respects the role of the Justice Department. Heck, let's go outright bonkers and suppose Obama appointed the guy because he agrees with him on state secrets.
Personal smear 4:
There is no reason to rely on Obama’s good character or judgment, particularly since he has demonstrated that it’s insufficient.
Based on a single decision by an institution not
properly under the direct management of the President, Greenwald has decided categorically that Barack Obama is a terrible person and an incompetent leader. This kind of careless arrogance and irrational bigotry is one of Greenwald's less pleasant trademarks.
Innuendo 6: Saying "Obama DOJ" once or a few times is a reasonable, shorthand way of saying "Obama administration DOJ" - thus informing the reader which administration you're talking about - but having done that, it starts to become conspicuous the more you repeat it in a single article. Especially an article suffused with (justifiable) outrage over something the Justice Department had done. In this article, Greenwald not only says "Obama DOJ" eleven times, but never just says "DOJ" at all other than in a quotation. And that is particularly interesting in light of another fact: Given the subject, how many times would you guess he mentions the Attorney General, Eric Holder, in a 20-some paragraph article? One? Two? Three? Nope. Zero. Never.
He never once mentions Eric Holder in an article about the Justice Department. Instead, he repeats "Obama DOJ" over, and over, and over...and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. The high official directly, institutionally responsible for the decision being criticized is never mentioned at all, while the one with indirect authority via appointments gets an 11x helping of personal association with the offending institution. One would think if Greenwald actually cared about holding public officials accountable, he might mention the people who actually did what he's criticizing, at least once or twice. But as we will see with sickening regularity, accountability is never the highest priority - Greenwald's inexplicable personal war against Barack Obama is.
9. Congress takes first step to impose limits on Obama's executive power (2/12/2009)
Innuendo 7: Notice how in the title it's "Obama's" executive power, not just executive or presidential power in general. I guess "Congress takes first step to impose limits on executive power" just wouldn't have been as effective for Greenwald's purposes, let alone something as inconveniently accurate as "Congress takes first step to limit Justice Department power." If we were to broadly apply his logic across the board, the title he uses could mean anything from a Constitutional amendment altering the powers of the Presidency to Congressional limits on the authority of the Postal Regulatory Commission over stamp prices. But since the whole point was to insinuate a confrontation between Congress and the President that wasn't occurring, this tabloid-level innuendo was a feature, not a bug.
As we will see increasingly often, Greenwald has developed at this point what we might call "Obama Tourette's," repetitively dropping the President's name into every negative context possible, whenever possible, no matter how tenuous the justification. A single disappointment with a single federal institution in the first three weeks of the Obama Presidency drove him off the Deep End, and he's been there ever since.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the State Secrets Protection Act of 2008, which was co-sponsored by numerous key Senators [including Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee's Chair (Pat Leahy) and ranking member (Arlen Specter)], and which was approved by the Judiciary Committee last year with all Democrats voting in favor. [...] Yesterday — as an obvious response to the Obama DOJ’s support for the Bush view of the privilege — Leahy and Specter, along with Russ Feingold, Claire McCaskill, Sheldon Whitehouse and Ted Kennedy, re-introduced that bill in the Senate. [...] Several hours before the Senate bill was introduced, several key House Democrats introduced a similar bill in the House.
Apparently the spineless, quasi-Republican Capitulo-crats who Greenwald lambasted in Lie 1
, Lie 2
, and Innuendo 3
really sound like they're on the ball now, a mere 2-3 weeks later - now that their actions serve his anti-Obama narrative rather than directly contradicting it.
A President who seeks to aggrandize his own power through wildly expansive claims of executive authority ought to be vigorously criticized.
Good thing Barack Obama is not that President. Unless Greenwald is withholding some direct quote, Executive Order, or memo from the White House asserting what he insinuates the President's position to be.
Restoration of that system [Congressional oversight] is of far more enduring value than Obama’s issuance of magnanimous and irrevocable-on-a-whim decrees.
And yet on which subject does Greenwald expend the greater passion and rhetorical ruthlessness? It's not even close - incessant Obama Tourette's on the one hand whenever the President fails to issue "magnanimous and irrevocable-on-a-whim decrees," even where basic governmental ethics might preclude them, and then a relative handful of occasional, brief, off-hand acknowledgements of the entire Legislative branch of government.
10. Obama and liberals: a counterproductive relationship (2/13/2009)
Innuendo 9: The title implies that Obama is not a liberal. Greenwald is welcome to his opinion on that matter, but why embed it in manipulative rhetorical tactics instead of openly discussing it?
Prioritizing support for a political leader as the highest objective is horribly bad for both a political movement and the leader.
Prioritizing opposition to a political leader as the highest objective is horribly bad for both a political movement and the leader. See what I did there? The difference is that my implied criticism is targeted at a specific person whose record of doing just that is being established right here in this examination, while he is broadly implying that general support for President Obama in the liberal community is a product of an obsequious and irrational personality cult.
Three weeks into the first term, and Greenwald has already settled into what would become teabagger memes before there even was a Tea Party: Obama the Wagnerian dictator and, simultaneously, weak-kneed milquetoast, both supported by armies of faceless and mindless "followers" (see Personal smears 2 & 3).
During the 2008 election, Obama co-opted huge portions of the Left and its infrastructure so that their allegiance became devoted to him and not to any ideas.
The word "co-opted" is a blatant insinuation that Barack Obama orchestrated some kind of fiendish, nihilistic plot to deceive people about his values and politics - and apparently the vast majority of his administration that has pursued liberal policies was part of the devilish conspiracy to cunningly draw our attention away from the areas where the President and/or (and there is an or
, Mr. Greenwald) his appointees have disappointed. Moreover, the rest of the comment is a rather savage and indefensible personal condemnation of everyone who supports the President as mindless tools who have abandoned their values. Greenwald's Enemies List just keeps getting bigger the more frustrated he becomes.
Many online political and “news” outlets — including some liberal political blogs — discovered that the most reliable way to massively increase traffic was to capitalize on the pro-Obama fervor by turning themselves into pro-Obama cheerleading squads. Grass-roots activist groups watched their dues-paying membership rolls explode the more they tapped into that same sentiment and turned themselves into Obama-supporting appendages. Even labor unions and long-standing Beltway advocacy groups reaped substantial benefits by identifying themselves as loyal foot soldiers in the Obama movement.
Got that? Obama's campaign drove attention, membership, and money to liberal activist groups, blogs, and labor unions. The fiend! It must take an awesomely devilish conspiracy to "exploit" and "betray" the Left by flooding it with cash and eyeballs.
Part of the political shrewdness of Obama has been that he’s been able to actually convince huge numbers of liberals that it’s a good thing when he ignores and even stomps on their political ideals [...]
The problem with this comment is that Greenwald has never shown that the President did anything of the sort - once again, he just doesn't like the outcome
of a handful of practical instances (in fact, at this point, just one) where a liberal administration didn't produce the result
he wanted, and from that pulls elaborate conspiracies and personal moral perversions on the part of Barack Obama out of thin air.
Hordes of Obama-loving liberals are still marching around paying homage to the empty mantras of “pragmatism” and ”post-partisan harmony”
Just one of many increasingly deranged iterations of the "followers" smear from above. A comment like that would rightly be regarded as trolling on Daily Kos.
No matter how large you expand the scope of the inquiry, Greenwald's record since Barack Obama took office is rife with exactly the same kind of commentary identified here. Now, it's true that the problematic excerpts are generally a minority of the content in articles, and articles containing that content are a (large) minority of the total reviewed, but you can't get a little bit pregnant - especially not when representing yourself (and being represented by those who support you) as some kind of courageous voice of truth.
Greenwald is most definitely not that. Rather, he mixes high-concept political commentary with the lowest forms of tabloid propaganda in service to a religiously anti-Obama narrative, cavalierly dispenses with even the barest semblance of truth, honesty, and intelligent thought when it suits him, applies double standards and doublespeak when convenient, and is rewarded for it with major online media syndication. In other words, he is far more a part of the problem than any likely role the remainder of his content could play in solutions.
There will always be a market for lazy, exploitive, tabloid demagoguery that conceals and distracts far more than it illuminates or focuses, but there will also always be people who see it for what it is and call it out. That doesn't mean Greenwald's articles should never be used as a conduit to other information, but in light of his routine and unrepentant excesses as an allegedly professional commentator, there is no justification for ever using him as a direct or sufficient source. However, whatever the problems with his own commentary and interpretations, he may be considered indirectly useful as a link aggregator toward more credible sources than himself.
Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:53 AM PT: Meteor Blades and I have had a pretty interesting discussion about Lie 2 in comments. What he tells me in comments is that there was a significant perception of compromise having taken place on the part of the House version of the stimulus bill, even before there was a stimulus bill. I haven't been able to quite understand how this works - how does one compromise what doesn't exist? But it seems worth noting, even though Greenwald appears to have possibly taken some rumor he heard and run off the deep end with it. Still seems like a made-up claim. I'll need more evidence to downgrade it from a lie to an unsupported claim.
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