The authors of the Nation hit-piece on John “don’t touch my junk” Tyner have posted a long response to Glenn Greenwald’s critique of their article. Greenwald has updated his original post with a lengthy response to their defense, but here’s the key point:
What they call their “treatment of Tyner” was not merely some ancillary sideshow mentioned in passing; it was a prominently featured aspect of the article. Six of the first seven paragraphs were about nothing other than John Tyner, and the one that wasn’t — buried in the middle of the Tyner attack — contained multiple serious accusations that any rational reader would have assumed applied to him.
I agree with ED and DougJ that the Tyner piece was nothing more than a hit piece and a smear. It’s time for the Nation’s editor to respond, not the authors of the article. She’s the one who’s ultimately responsible for what appears in her magazine, not them.
Is this Katrina’s Katrina?
Beat me to it.
Couldn’t we send an ombudsman or two over to The Nation? I for one welcome their truthy article and await Tyner’s appointment to the WP or NR editorial page.
My second choice: “she’s walking on sunshine”. also.
Fuck! A Duck
srv: Conveniently enough, it just so happens that Balloon Juice has a spare ombudsman that isn’t currently being of much use. Maybe we could send him over.
Prepare the catapault!
@Cat Lady: Ha!
@Fuck! A Duck:
I think the process is that we all vote on it first. Or that we all “demand” Cole do something or other.
Can we add a “Don’t Tunch My Junk” t-shirt or flag to the BJ store? Then Ed, Doug and John will have something to wear at the next teatard convention.
I read the Nation piece and thought it was pretty benign. I thought the case was weak, and the shots at Tyner pretty cheap, but I’m not really seeing the reason your panties are in a bunch over it—and I don’t plan on wasting the entirety of my four-day weekend reading Greenwald’s response to figure it out.
Marcus’ screed on the other hand, was pure Hack 30 bullshit.
not a good marketing move, since liberals hate freedom and love the TSA.
@Mr. Furious: You really should read Greenwald, then. It’s a good piece.
Said it before and I’ll say it again:
Glenn is compromised on this issue because he has taken money from the Koch-funded Cato Institute. Where is his disclosure on this fact given the vituperation unleashed upon the introduction of “Libertarianism” and “Koch-funded” in this story? Greenwald, by definition, is a (sometime? more often? Maybe he should tell us…) Koch-funded Libertarian. Much like his cutesy non-denial denials about not sharing funding with FDL and/or Hamsher, he’s really got to be cleaner than clean when wielding these sorts of “Only Crime Was Not Being a Loyal Democrat/Obot” brickbats lest his righteous anger be misconstrued as paid propaganda in the service of his sponsors.
BTW, that is not the only GG-Cato connection. Apparently he is also a listed contributor at something called Cato Unbound.
@Persia: I’ll wait for the Cliff’s Notes.
@tomvox1: Greenwald goes to Defcon 1 over many things, but I also thought that he was particularly up in arms at the impression he thought the story left–that if you self-identify as a libertarian and a gadfly, you might be on the take. Remember how there was a whole discussion here about to what degree Greenwald makes money from Hamsher, and he similarly got outraged? The guy loves guilt-by-association and kickback kinds of arguments, until they’re applied to him. I would have said he was too committed to proclaiming his own purity. But your suggestion is intriguing too.
@Mr. Furious: Classic Greenwald: find something sloppy in the media or politics, call out its creators, then draw hugely sweeping conclusions about cabals that silence dissent and manipulate opinion and would get away with it too if not for the pluck and vigilance of Glenn Greenwald. If he just did the first part, he’d be a mensch. But _so often_ he goes careening off into interpretations of the second kind.
The Nation article was junk. Nothing but speculation and innuendo. They deserve to get ripped for it.
Alas, Greenwald is showing his well-known inability to determine when he’s done enough to make his point.
I sometimes wonder whether Urge Overkill is Greenwald’s favorite band.
The article’s treatment of Tyner was weak (as the authors admitted) and unwarranted, but their point was a lot broader. This was not an article about Tyner only – and the other examples, and examples of funding were solid and interesting. I love me some GG, but, after reading the article, the multi-thousands of words he’s spent on this seems way over the top and I think KVH is right to ignore it.
I subscribe and enjoy The Nation.
The Nation also employs that “cranky communist” and global-warming denier Alexander Cockburn as a featured columnist.
My take is that they publish – you decide.
@burnspbesq: I think they messed up by having the Tyner section be about how, because he was intent on causing trouble, he may have been a paid provocateur like that other case they examine later. And that’s, um, the beginning. Doh!
But it still is an interesting question, IMHO, to consider how much anti-TSA actions parallel anti-health-care-reform actions, and by noticing how quickly some of these stories are getting into the media, to wonder in turn if there’s a coordinated “astroturf” element as well as spontaneous outrage. There were plenty of people genuinely frightened about “death panels” who showed up at those town-hall meetings, but there were also people willfully spreading disinformation that benefited large insurance companies. Trying to tell who’s a grassroots protester from who’s an astroturf troublemaker is difficult these days.
I think The Nation article went too far in suggesting that Tyner was astroturf, but the larger issue of how much of anti-TSA action and outrage may be being whipped up by political groups and for political interests is worth asking. I don’t think the authors would say it’s _all_ fake, but some of it is.
@El Tiburon: I’m pretty sure they’ve even published pieces by Glenn Greenwald, or at least invited him to contribute to one of their roundtables.
Cockburn is a nasty piece of work. I can’t tell if he’s so far left he’ll never be satisfied with any human government, or if he’s just a dick.
Such complete and utter bullshit.
GG along with a multitude of other left-pundits, pointed out the complete hackery of the smear portion of the article in question. The author’s responded agreeing partially.
So GG doesn’t love these kind of tactics- he calls them out in lengthy and nuanced detail. He calls bullshit on them. He called bullshit when that same tactic was used against him here on this very blog. He was most certainly vindicated and the underlying article by Oliver Wills was complete and utter bullshit.
Yet for you and the other GG/Hamsher haters, the truth does not matter. All that matters is the allegation. So stupid.
Like I’ve said countless times: hate GG all you want to. But don’t make shit up.
I keep telling people, over and over again, it’s not a smear when our side does it. Glad to see I got through to so many commenters here.
@El Tiburon: Back atcha. You’re doing the same thing here the Greenwald defenders always do, which is glossing over the objectionable part: when he transitions from “calling bullshit” to making huge and unwarranted claims about What It All Means. No one has a problem with his “calling bullshit.” That’s his best feature.
But he’s rarely content to stop at calling bullshit. He cranks it up a notch, tells a much bigger story (Democrats take turns being obstructionists so that nothing ever gets done, Lawrence O’Donnell blamed liberals for Feingold losing, Obama never wanted the public option, this case). His take on this case is quite literally conspiratorial: he says that The Nation is publishing a piece like this in order to serve Obama and the Democratic party.
Then when anyone tries to question how he has drawn that conclusion, he (as you’re doing here) deflects and points to his bullshit-calling. _That’s not the issue_. He can call bullshit to his heart’s content, and be the world’s number-one bullshit-caller. When he does that, he’s very valuable. _But that’s not all he does_. And when he takes those leaps, I’m going to call bullshit on _that_.
Your hero has a few skeletons in his closet. Deal with that however you need to, but it is what it is and ad hominem attacks on other commenters won’t change that.
All it takes is a simple one line “Full disclosure: I have been paid to write articles for the Cato Institute, which is funded in part by Koch Industries.” But I guess those sort of basic journalistic standards don’t apply to the World’s Greatest Civil Liberties Crusader. Because to Glenn, everyone else is in the tank for somebody (and since 2008 that somebody is usually on the Left and a supporter of the Koches’ nemesis Obama–funny that)…but not Glenn, of course. Accountability now for thee but not for me.
For fuck’s sake. Since this is such a burning issue, could someone please quote all the words in the Nation article that “smear” Tyner, and explain what’s objectionable about them? All Greenwald did was take words from the article, put them in quotes, and claim they sound menacing. SIX OF SEVEN PARAGRAPHS, OH NOES. I’m not buying it.
@Dave: From memory… Tyner says he’s a libertarian, Tyner may have been looking to create a controversy, other people who have been looking to create a controversy and who call themselves libertarians have been astroturf, ergo Tyner may be astroturf. The part that really didn’t need to be there was the few lines about Tyner’s educational background. The “smear” is the suggestion that because Tyner is up front about his libertarian politics and his desire to provoke a confrontation, he may have done so at the behest of some deep-pocketed group.
Despite El Tiburon’s objections, I still think that Greenwald himself makes similar leaps, even in this very piece, when he goes from saying that the authors treat Tyner unfairly to saying that the authors… must have done so at the behest of some powerful group.
He didn’t actually do that, so you might want to find another spot on your GG voodoo doll to poke.
Hey, are Greenwald’s fans driven to madness like his critics are? I’d have to read Salon comments to find out, and that’s not gonna happen, so I’m just wondering if my indifference is serving me as well as I think it is.
Fuck Greenwald. He’s in the tank for the Koch brothers, whether because of money or sheer self-righteous stupidity.
Anyone who wants to be associated with Jane Hamsher’s piss-filled slander rag has no grounds to ever ever ever complain about someone else’s lack of journalistic standards.
@FlipYrWhig: That’s my understanding too, FYW (though I’ll grant what gil mann says above, too). Can’t understand why some of these here liberal blogs feel the need to play hall monitor all weekend.
ETA: for me this isn’t an issue of Greenwald critics v. fans or whatever. My complaint is that he turned it to 11 over an inconsequential, uninteresting article, and convinced others to pile on. It’s mind-boggling.
Just read the article in The Nation; it’s as short as it is snotty:
‘graf #1: an “ordinary guy,” (sneer quotes, theirs)
‘graf #2: “ordinary citizens,” and suspicious fake-grassroots outrage (they made a general reference with these words, but were clearly including Tyner in this general slur)
‘graf #3: all we know about “ordinary guy”, John Tyner III (in addition to sneer quotes, they made sure to include III in his name — all the better to ID him as a probable member of the white upper class)
It continued, thusly.
Glenn went straight to hyperbole as he commonly does, but, as is invariably the case, his hyperbole was on behalf of a guy with no megaphone, against those who misuse theirs.
I don’t have any problem with him — or anyone — turning the tables on well-ensconced journalist-insiders who feel safe using sneer quotes to slander a guy who cannot defend himself in a similar manner. That was done to Tyner in The Nation article — repeatedly, in the ~6 leading paragraphs.
This is pretty close:
OK, he doesn’t _actually_ say that Democrats put the writers up to it. I went too far on that. But he seems to be saying, especially in the first excerpt, that Tyner was targeted because he did something that embarrassed Obama. I don’t find anything in The Nation piece that suggests that the writers had as a motive anything even slightly partisan, much less that they disparage “anyone who stands up to government power” or “venerate” “mindless obedient drone behavior” or expect that good citizens submit.
And yet, that’s where Greenwald goes, because that’s where he _always_ goes. He draws too sweeping and too accusatory conclusions from what he has before him, by making leaps about what his target’s “premises” must be and what they “seem to” believe, and in such a way as to make his own critiques edgy and dangerous and always on the brink of suppression.
And here’s Glenn doing his Glenn-ness again in the update:
For Greenwald, his “inferences” about your “logical premises” have a tendency to make him look like a principled critic and you look like a blinkered hack, and when you take exception to him, it’s because he’s _such_ a principled critic and you’re _such_ a blinkered hack.
@Holly McLachlan: Glenn is sticking up for a fellow libertarian. Fine, cool. Why does he need to say that the writers of The Nation article must have attacked him because he wasn’t a “loyal Democrat”? Probably because Glenn thinks that the only reason anyone ever takes exception to his own material is that _he_ isn’t a “loyal Democrat.” It couldn’t possibly be that he did something fishy with his material, it could only be that he has so much integrity that he has a target on his back and Obots have to take potshots at him.
@Holly McLachlan: Oh, god. I know what the Nation article said. I read it. Nothing you point to constitutes a smear. Sneer, fine, but who cares?
Liberals playing hall monitor here would do better to think about why a guy “with no megaphone” as you put it was able to start a firestorm, while we can’t persuade the public at large to care about TSA procedure by ourselves.
ETA: I can’t help point out the line about this Nation article has gone from “It’s a shameless smear” to “They used sneer quotes for six paragraphs.” Grumble if you must, but maintain a grip and focus on the actual problem of gate rape and porn scans.
I’d say Katrina is a dumb b…, but that wouldn’t be politically correct, so I’ll say she lacks the intellectual abilities to discern serious analysis from Beckian hackery
“Greenwald has updated his original post with a lengthy response…”