Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Third Musketeer: Pathos

Poor Joe Klein over at Time Magazine:

Twice in the past month, my private communications have been splashed about the internet. That such a thing would happen is unfortunate, and dishonorable, but sadly inevitable, I suppose. I ignored the first case, in which a rather pathetic woman acolyte of Greenwald's published a hyperbolic account of a conversation I had with her at a beach picnic on Cape Cod. Now, Greenwald himself has published private emails of mine that were part of a conversation taking place on a list-serve. In one of those emails, I say that Greenwald "cares not a whit for America's national security."

A few points before I go on:
1) Joe, as any long term denizen of the Internet...not the World Wide Web, but the thing that Al Gore helped Tim Berners Lee turn into that pretty little colorful Flash animated monstrosity that is the WWW, the Internet, Usenet and Listservs...any long time user of the Net will tell you that ListServs are not "private communications".
If you are dumb enough to post something on a listserv, then you deserve to have your shit called.
2) As anyone with an ounce of sense knows, a conversation with an "acolyte" is going to get reported back. And if you did not know she was an "acolyte," then maybe you should have stopped staring at her tits and started engaging your other head.
But I digress...
I can't speak for Greenwald or his position on the US military. Frankly, most of his columns bore the shit out of me, but he's a popular blogger on the left and likely enhances his prose to appeal to part of his base. My suspicion is he is not as anti-military as you want to make him out to be in your notes.
All writers write what they think their audiences want to read, particularly if they are being paid for presumably attracting a readership (thus negating any need I have to write what I think my audience wants to read...I do this for love). It's no different for Greenwald.
Or for you, Joe. I don't know the authority structure at Time, but I would imagine there is someone with one of those clickers that keeps tabs on how many eyeballs your columns attract to determine if Time is getting enough bang for its buck.
Some of us on the left think your focus is here, and not on reporting and analysis. This is sad, in my opinion. You seem like you could be a fairly bright guy who once worked hard to tell a story. Now it seems more often than not, you're rewriting someone's press release.
Left, right, center. It doesn't really matter. Sometimes, like in this column, you don't seem to want to think things through all that carefully and see if there's a different conclusion you could reach.
In this column I linked to, you posted the following note you sent to the listserv:
Therefore, I have seen no evidence that he [Greenwald] cares one whit about the national security of the United States. It is not hyperbole, it is a fact.
It's hard to prove a negative, but it seems to me that Google is your friend. One verified, pro-soldier stance is hadly "no evidence." And based on Googling "Greenwald military," it seems as though you don't want to look at his nuance. He's not attacking the military as keeping close tabs on the legality of their actions, particularly with respect to human rights not just of terror suspects but of American citizens (in particular, possible posse comitatus violations proposed by Dick Cheney).
I'd hardly call that attacking the military. Attacking an unecessary war (Iraq) is not attacking the military. Attacking Pentagon abuses is not attacking the military. Attacking power hungry politicians, the ones you chat up at cocktail parties in Georgetown, is not attacking the military. Talking about wanting to freeze military spending when the US outspends the entire world combined is not attacking the military.
It's taking a rational stand athwart history, pleading for sanity.