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That’s What You Did

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Ryan Grim recently took a kind of victory lap for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win and, you know, it’s earned. This is what a lefty alternative media should do: uncover a superlative political talent and a story that major media outlets, including the ones based in New York, largely missed. And Ocasio-Cortez represents the viable model for party change: primaries in safe seats, not throwing elections to the Republican Party in exchange for nothing.

For the Intercept’s most famous name, however, this has all been revealing in another way. As Paul observed, during the 2016 campaign when Greenwald was pressed on spending his time hyping inane bullshit about Hillary Clinton while ignoring the major threat posed by Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, he pretended to adopt a “view from nowhere” posture while also preemptively and obviously erroenously denying that anyone but the candidates affected or bore any responsibility for the outcome of the election. And while I know people will willfully misread this argument anyway, the moral urgency of the 2016 election doesn’t mean that media, whether mainstream or lefty advocacy outlets, should have avoided criticizing Clinton or ignored actual misconduct by her or her associates. If the ratfucked emails had revealed that, say, Hillary Clinton had bilked millions of dollars out of people with a fake university or had paid off beards to cover up affairs or indicated her propensity to commit sexual assault or shown that she was running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor, obviously this should be covered whatever its effect on the election. Since what the hacked emails that ended up blunting the impact of the Access Hollywood tape actually contained was stuff like “Neera Tanden does not think very highly of David Brock” and “Hillary Clinton had a strategy for beating Joe Biden,” the point is moot.

Anyway, looking at the arguments Glenn is making now and the arguments he made then is amazing:

  • To argue that how far to the left of the median vote the senator from Delaware is constitutes a matter of the utmost moral urgency, requiring a full-on effort by advocacy journalists, after having argued that the contest between a competent, moderate liberal and an utterly unfit and unprecedentedly corrupt cross between the worst parts of George Wallace and Calvin Coolidge is a matter of indifference at best, is…well, I guess it’s good someone making 500 grand a year to write an anti-anti Trump blog and make regular appearances on white nationalist shows on Trump’s propaganda network can afford to be made to look ridiculous.
  • Not that this hasn’t been obvious for a long time, but the interaction with the HuffPost reporter settles the question of whether Trump was Glenn’s preferred major-party candidate in 2016. The question only makes sense of “seeing Trump as a greater threat than Clinton” is a category that excludes him. And the phrasing of the question itself is pure Clinton derangement — it excludes the possibility of anyone affirmatively supporting Clinton, and also implies that people should find a choice that for anyone actually on the left is at worst a choice between Pizza Hut and Anthrax agonizing.
  • The bad faith in that interaction is staggering: “he was literally featured in the NYT arguing that journalists should be openly honest with respect to their biases & spent the entirety of one of the most consequential elections completely refusing to state his own.”  And the reason for this is clear: being open about preferring Trump would have undermined his credibility with his audience and the effectiveness of what he was doing. But for him to pretend to adopt the “view from nowhere” pose he had long attacked to claim that if a media outlet published accurate stories that were critical of Trump it was “openly campaigning for Clinton” while refusing to even discuss his own views…”bad faith” doesn’t really adequately cover it.
  • With respect to both his conduct in 2016 and his anti-anti Trump stance and Russia trooferism after the election,  Glenn once wrote: “Imagine calling yourself a journalist, and then — as you watch an authoritarian politician get closer to power by threatening and unleashing violence and stoking the ugliest impulses — denouncing not that politician, but rather other journalists who warn of the dangers.” You know, I really don’t have to imagine it.
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