Sunday, March 23, 2008

Glenn Greenwald: Liar

As is customary, Andrew Sullivan courtesy-links the meta-obnoxious Glenn Greenwald. This time it's in reference to what at first appears to be Greenwald making an insightful critique of the racial double-standards of movement conservatives. In his gouty, larded prose, Greenwald indicts a blog called Instapunk, which Glenn "Army of Corkies" Reynolds appears to appreciate. Reynolds has linked to it occasionally, most recently here to an Easter meditation. Through his snot-plug, Greenwald snorts:

Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds today linked to what he called "EASTER THOUGHTS" from one of his favorite right-wing blogs gers, his namesake, "Instapunk." That Easter post has a large picture of a crucified Christ along with a lovely religious poem.

Immediately beneath that righteous celebration of Easter is a somewhat less charitable post purporting to take up Barack Obama's invitation to speak about race. After listing a few black entertainers and sports figures he says he likes, here are some of the thoughts Instapunk offers on race...

What follows is an excerpt of a truly nasty post extending the old Gut Rumbles saw that some black people really are niggers, and all of us know it and might as well admit it if we want to take Barack Obama up on his call for a candid discussion about race. Suffice it to say this garbage is the right-wing inverse of the victimological identity politics of Jeremiah Wright, both of which Obama held up to censure in "A More Perfect Union", his brilliant speech in response to the Wright kerfuffle.

The problem -- now please go back and reread the Greenwald quote before continuing -- is Greenwald implies the Easter Meditation and the "nigger" excrescence are by the same author. They're not; Instapunk is a group blog. This in turn implies Reynolds' assent to or endorsement of the racist post. He gave no such thing.

Yes, you are absolutely right that guilt by association can be deserved. A political movement is by definition a group of ideas that coheres across many people. I myself wrote about the unsavoriness of Ralph Nader trying to court radical Muslims and far-Leftists in 2004 by invoking the specter of Jewish control of the White House. I also pointed out how M. Shahid Alam, the fool academic who compared the 9/11 hijackers to the American Revolutionaries, had published his piffle on, a radical Muslim web site that also published cartoons in the style of Der Sturmer and sold Henry Ford's The International Jew through an affiliated web site.

I did these things, however, while taking care to differentiate between the primary sources I was discussing and the secondary material with which they chose to affiliate. I took care to emphasize this was the nature of my observation -- that it was guilt by association I thought germane. Greenwald did neither, although later he made one of his supernumerary "updates" trying to set things straight. Instead Greenwald plays the smarmy lawyer's trick of making a factual recitation that is carefully worded to fool casual and lazy listeners into believing the facts are different, and more damning, than they are. Using Google, I can only find one post on all of Instapunk by "Oldpunk". It's therefore unlikely this author's oeuvre has much to do with Reynolds' admiration of the blog.

Greenwald might have written: "Glenn Reynolds links to an Easter Meditation on Instapunk, a namesake blog of his that he's praised before, by a blogger named 'Chain Gang'. That's troubling, because right underneath that post is a nasty racist screed about 'niggers' by some other guy named 'OldPunk'. Don't you think this calls into question Reynolds' judgment?" If so, I would have wholeheartedly agreed with him. But he didn't. He made it seem like Glenn Reynolds personally endorses Oldpunk's post.

Update: In this Rube Goldberg Machine of a sentence, in which he tries to extenuate the dishonesty on which his whole post is predicated, Greenwald lies again:

The original purpose in pointing out that Instapunk is a favorite blog of Glenn Reynolds was not to suggest that Reynolds is directly responsible for the particular racist screed I quoted, but rather, to demonstrate that I did not select some obscure unread blog nor go searching deep in the comment sections in order to find something inflammatory -- the typical method used to generate almost every liberal blog "controversy" -- but instead had found this written by a principal contributor on one of the most heavily-promoted right-wing blogs.

Greenwald refers to "Oldpunk" as a "principle contributor" to Instapunk. Again, this is factually true, if you interpret "principle contributor" as someone who contributes a post to a blog that happens to be on its front page right now. But Google and Technorati searches show that "Oldpunk" is not a principle contributor to anything, let alone Instapunk, which gives the lie to the interpretation Greenwald means you to make, which is Reynolds' appreciation for the blog is based on its racist oeuvre.

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