Once Again – Glenn Greenwald, Standing Almost Alone Against the Wikileaks Myths – Updated x4
Monday, on CNN‘s Politics, Glenn Greenwald endured 12 minutes of bizarre hostility from CNN host Jessica Yellin, who seemed to be setting Greenwald up for being pilloried by former Bush national security apparatchik, Fran Townsend.
Yellin opened up by questioning Assange’s motives in making a book deal. From the start, she attempted to paint Assange’s motives for doing this as something that must be added to the list of things which prove Assange not to be someone we can trust. It went downhill from there.
Greenwald was more combative than I’ve seen him in most media appearances of this magnitude. The only thing about Glenn that amazes me more than the vast reservoir of facts he seems to be able to accurately throw out at media hacks without looking away from the Skype camera, is patience as he endures what essentially is one hostile talking head after another.
Townsend was challenged to say even one true thing. Greenwald had to go beyond saying she was misstating or disambiguating or whatever. He called her a liar. He should have called her a Goddam fucking liar.
Greenwald is almost alone in being asked to do segments in visual media that are longer than ten minutes. Hopefully, the degree of his mastery over these two shills Monday will gain him more media on this important subject, rather than less.
In passing, Greenwald paid tribute in his Monday blog post, as he has in the past, to firedoglake‘s efforts on this set of subjects.
Update: Greenwald uses this “debate” as the basis for his December 28th article, The merger of journalists and government officials.
Update 2: Hotdog!
hotdog has transcribed this incredible exchange and posted it as a MyFdl diary.
Update 3: At John King’s CNN blog, Jessica Yellin has responded to Greenwald’s post (link at update 1). She’s less pissed than I thought she might be, but her denials in the post of calling Assange a terrorist are overshadowed by her not addressing the issue of having characterized the latter as a criminal in the interview/panel. She is taken to task for that in the comments.
Give her credit for at least responding to the small firestorm that the video of the segment has created.
Update 4: I missed this important essay yesterday (it is now the 29th) by Digby. In it, she takes up “one zombie lie I’d really love to kill — the one that all of these so-called reporters seem to have absorbed as if it’s the received word of God — the one that says Wikileaks dumped 260,000 cables indiscriminately on the internet.”
The body of Digby’s piece is mostly details on how Wikileaks seriously and fully cooperated with news organizations on how to release information from the large body of diplomatic “cables” in its possession, and the lengths to which Wikileaks went to be, uh, careful.
Digby concludes with:
They originally thought there would be thousands of Marcy Wheelers combing through the documents and creating a narrative of events but found out that there were very few people of her caliber doing that kind of work and getting noticed. What they needed was professional journalism…..
The one real Marcy Wheeler writes this morning (the 29th) about Digby’s essay, and its premise as she also criticized the meretricious WSJ op-ed published today, by Floyd Abrams, who was one of the NYT attorneys in the Pentagon Papers case:
Floyd Abrams’ entire argument about WikiLeaks is premised on his claim that these diplomatic cables demonstrate no abuse of power at all. No misconduct by the US. (Note, too, how he moves the bar with the Pentagon Papers, apparently revealing some uncertainty whether the Pentagon Papers revealed “lack of candor”–something abundantly exposed in the WikiLeaks cables–or outright “official wrongdoing.”)
There’s a lot that has been revealed in this dump that I would consider misconduct and even more that I would consider abuse of power.
But consider just the examples of the cables showing the US pressure on Germany and Spain to drop prosecutions of US rendition and torture (and if you haven’t already read Carol Rosenberg’s examinationof our pressure on Spain, I recommend it).
I don’t see how any person–much less a constitutional lawyer–can claim that US efforts to get other democracies to set aside rule of law in their countries to help the US avoid responsibility for its crimes is not an abuse of power. Unless you believe that torture is cool, that wrongful kidnapping is cool, that the US should not be bound by its own laws or international law, or that the US should be immune from law generally, I don’t see how you conclude that our efforts to bigfoot the legal systems of our allies does not constitute an abuse of our considerable international power.
And yet somehow Floyd Abrams suggests just that–that revealing the US’ double standards about rule of law, all in the service of avoiding any accountability for torture, does not constitute a valuable revelation.