Ann Coulter and Little Greenwaldâ€™s Footballs: Revised as a Carnival of Fisking -New Submissions 3:45 PM CST, March 4th
Cassandra at Villainous Company (hat tip McQ) has pointed out the ever present hypocrisy and mendaciousness of Glenn Greenwald and hits a point I have made several times in the last few hours, which is that he and Ann Coulter are at bottom quite similar:
Admit it. Hidden deep within the recesses of your unconscious mind… at some primordial level… you’ve always known. They totally deserve each other. Think about it - they’re two peas in a pod:
Sweeping, broad brush rhetoric? Check. Always outraged about something? Check.
Desperate need to command center stage? Check.
Chock full of facile, brainy arrogance? Check.
Legions of adoring fans? Check.
And the best part is, they’re both lawyers!
Ah, yes, and what does she object to now?
How sad, in just a few short months, to see all that is Good and Noble, corrupted by Evil Incarnate. How did we get from “it’s not anyone’s duty to disassociate themselves from every vile thing said by someone on their side and silence does not necessarily imply acceptance” to “even if you do disassociate yourself from a vile comment, I don’t believe you because you should have known better”?
This Unholy Alliance of the Reich and Left does not bode well for the upcoming silly season in Washington. One imagines future political conventions turned into virtual ghosttowns - who will dare to attend any large event where they may encounter diverse and often polarizing (or just thought-provoking) speakers for fear someone, somewhere, might say something which may cause Glenn Greenwald to alert the Denunciation Police?
What will this do to intellectual inquiry, if we begin to shrink from uncomfortable subjects? Or perhaps just unpopular ones where we’re afraid of being shouted down by the crowd?
The very thing Mr. Greenwald claimed to oppose last July - quasi-intellectual bullying posing as a morality test is now standard practice. What does he think of it?
According to his latest broadside, he seems to think none of us ought attend any conference, at any time, without having scoured the list of attendees in advance to ensure no one has never said anything objectionable. Because if they have, and they again make even the slightest verbal faux pas, we may be sure he feels entirely justified in assuming on no other evidence that not only do we approve of their comment, but we had no other reason for attending an entire conference, with many other speakers, other than to hear that particular person make a gratuitous and inflammatory remark
After I am done please read her whole post.
Of course I pointed this out a while back, but it goes further, they use the same rhetorical, propaganda and textual techniques. I won’t go further with that, because I have decided to reprint that post which tars and feathers the two of them here in full. Given the two’s similar nature, though Greenwald seems to be taken far more seriously, despite his supposedly libertarian beliefs, amongst a great many intellectually serious people on the left, it seems fitting to celebrate them as a pair.
Ann is different in one respect, she knows she is entertainment, but Greenwald has no idea how entertaining he really is. So if Ann is a train wreck, well, as my Good friend Peter pointed out train wrecks get lots of attention, and she knows it. But, “That’s Entertainment:”
Ann is getting lots of attention at the moment, but one tiny essay seems too small a way for me to truly express the depth of the King of the Sock Puppets impact upon the art of fisking, so I am making a call for submissions. Maybe Greenwald will eventually be viewed on the left and in his circle as intelligent conservatives and libertarians view Ann.
In addition to my little analysis of the two I am going to put up a host of links to a man who has done Robert Fisk proud by giving many of us the opportunity for more fisking fun than just about anyone else. This is a real achievement. So let us have a Greenwaldian fisking carnival. I will start off with my post to prepare readers for his perfidy and then start putting up links from us, Patterico, QandO and any others I can think of. I can’t do this alone though, not enough time or familiarity with the whole of the blogosphere and every contribution every blogger has made. For this document to really do the man justice I need your help. Serious, analytical, mocking, whatever. I don’t have to read you, like you, like the post, you can dislike me and my blog, it doesn’t matter. this is bigger than such petty things. Scour your archives and send them to me ([email protected]) Post a link with all your submissions in the body to direct your readers and other bloggers to help out as well in finding suitable material. Then send me a trackback from the submitted post or posts so that until I can post it personally, our readers can find your works. If I have linked one, but you have others, please send them on. Readers, please help out. I’ll have this page prominently displayed as an archive for future researchers use, a bloggers library for Greenwaldian fun and games. If you want, link to the page in your blogroll. This project should not die of neglect and fading memories. Those submissions with a Coulter connection are especially prized. In fact, if you write one in the future send it as well, this collection should grow over time. My co-bloggers should feel free to add posts from here and everywhere. Pictures and other visual aids are welcome. Oh, and while for now I haven’t included any specifically, please feel free to include any of his Greenwaldian sycophants.
So go, get busy and let the the carnival begin! Check back and find the new submissions. My analysis of Coulter and Greenwald at the bottom:
New Submissions 3:45 PM CST July 4th:
In which Ace asks, as the I am not calling you chickenhawks chickenhawks argument is trotted out, why he isn’t volunteering to go to Afghanistan?
Instapunk skewers one of the examples of subtle distortion Greenwald uses in discussing comment policies on “right wing” blogs. Throws in an example of why Coulter’s bombshell’s are not as offensive as some other things (and in my opinion not the real issue with her for precisely those reasons) plus giving us the 7 dirty words challenge.
’nuff said and complete with a candid Greenwald and Marcotte interview!
New Submissions 10:40 AM July 4th:
From Cadillac Tight:
In which it is pointed out that agreeing with a policy of the President doesn’t mean one agrees to him becoming a dictator
Joe takes umbrage at Greenwald’s call to smear “right leaning” bloggers such as Jon Henke. Truly despicable given Jon’s patience and attempt to defend and give the sock puppet a fair shake. He threw up his hands even later than I did.
Exposing the “I am not calling you chickenhawks chickenhawks routine.”
Newsflash: Greenwald Does Not Get Sarcasm
Michael dissects Greenwald’s attack on Charles Johnson and John Hindraker
Further notes on the tactics of Greenwald and the Greenwaldians
Newsflash: Greenwald doesnâ€™t get anything
Greenwald claims Glenn Reynold’s is anti gay!
Eric Schei proves Greenwald is right!
A personal favorite of mine and McQ’s
McQ defends Lieberman from The Puppetmaster’s smears
Patterico notes that Greenwald doesn’t feel commenter’s comments count, or at least sometimes they don’t.
Greenwald calls Rush Limbaugh a pedophile?
Greenwald launches a preemptive attack
XRLQ documents why Glenn is a douche.
Patterico lays out the sock puppet in all his glorious detail, with visual aids!
Highlighted as one of the funniest posts I have ever read as Ace lets me know for the first time that Greenwald is the Puppet King. The absolutely delicious pleasure as Ace writes this is a joy. (Ace, please send others.)
Ann Coulter and Little Greenwaldâ€™s Footballs
First published Sept. 4, 2006:
The Blogosphere, and politics in general, is full of arguments. We are not always fair, clear about what we say, or clear on what others mean. That should be no surprise nor is it in my mind of any particular concern. Like many issues that have many of us outraged these days, this is not new or exceptional.
Often the way we characterize others or phrase our arguments is technically dishonest, but I donâ€™t really care much. It is part of the gag, a running stream of rhetorical slipperiness that is as much entertainment as commentary. Admittedly this is not generally what I read online, but it is often hilarious and as long as we realize it is what it is, so be it. Unfair attacks are the meat of partisan politics, it wonâ€™t change and we can all just take it a little less seriously.
Therefore I could care less about Ann Coulterâ€™s overheated rhetoric, with its allusions of violence or other outrageous statements that nobody takes seriously. Insensitivity may be a problem in our world, but I think we all have bigger fish to fry. No, what makes Coulter offensive to me is the fundamental dishonesty. Not her quips and asides, obviously they distort, that is what makes them funny to those who want to hear liberals and other assorted victims made to look ridiculous. We hear the same from commentators of all stripes. What is offensive is what she says when she is attempting to be serious. Not what she says about her own views, though like most of us her own views are offensive to many as well. I mean what she says about others. Even when I believe she is right or has a good point she makes her case in a dishonest manner.
The technique is old, but it is so pervasive in her work that I use the term Coulteresque to describe it. I have noticed that some when I call their argument Coulteresque miss the point, because to them what makes her so offensive is her mocking, insensitive, mean spirited and often cruel jabs and quips. What I am talking about is how they make their case. Coulter, exemplified by her book “Treason,” starts by setting the stage with a grave charge. Then the evidence of that charge begins with real evidence of that charge being true for some, though even then crucial distinctions are lost, quotes are taken out of context and footnotes (or links on the web in a blogger’s case) are piled up, though they often do not actually say what she claims they say. Then others are lumped in who have similar statements, but do not actually believe everything the guilty party or parties believe, so the association is tenuous, but that is unclear from the evidence presented. Thus an actual communist in the pay of the Soviet Union can be lumped in with a democratic socialist who underestimates the threat of communism, or who merely wants some programs similar to those of communists, such as nationalizing our health care system or extensive welfare programs for the poor. Certainly one can criticize socialists, I would, but it isnâ€™t the same as being a Soviet sympathizer. Then it goes further as people who are adamantly opposed to the Soviet Union, but see a role for the state in managing our economy, are lumped in as well using one time statements, poorly worded statements, conjectures, out right false characterizations of statements taken out of context and sometimes just a footnote (or link) to a source which says nothing of the sort.
Why does this work? Because partisans want to believe that those they are arguing with really are less intelligent, morally venal or riddled with motives which they are hiding and that should be brought to light by those who see what is really up. Sometimes writers truly believe what they are writing in these instances and actually believe they are characterizing others fairly. Often they donâ€™t care, because they believe that behind the distinctions and qualifications the truth of their opponentsâ€™ position is clear. The readers of course, should they follow the footnotes or links, already believe the same and read what is written as described by the writer, or even if they notice, they assume in the context presented it is only one piece of evidence, not quite right, but good enough. It gives them a sense of correctness. Psychologists have noted that this process actually has a physiological component, we literally feel better, the brain releases chemicals that make us feel happy. We can in fact become addicted to this form of confirmation bias. We are looking for what will make us feel better.
In Coulter’s case I actually find this less alarming than with others. Her fans want what she provides and she gives it to them. Yet amongst the intellectual leaders of politics, regardless of party, she is pretty much a joke. Even partisans as fierce as David Horowitz have condemned “Treason” for its smearing of liberals and Democrats.
The sad thing is when intelligent, humane writers and commenterâ€™s fail to distinguish these fraudulent arguments. When they become so ingrained that they accept and in essence perpetuate and absorb these arguments into their own discourse, distorting their own politics as well as those whose views they oppose.
Last week Michael started a bit of a dustup over the analysis of statements from Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs and John Hindraker of Powerline by Glenn Greenwald. Michael does a great job of pointing out how Glenn sets up a distressing narrative and takes two statements out of context and accuses the two of them with not only sanctioning, but advocating the murder of journalists. If you havenâ€™t read it, and the comments, do so. In the end, even if you wish to argue that their statements could be inferred so as to endorse such things, the question is does it necessarily do so? Michael and I didnâ€™t think so, but a better question, and the crucial one, is do they? This seems to some ridiculous. â€œOf course they will deny it.â€ My question is why would they? If they feel that journalists who report, or fabricate news to support terrorists are worthy of not just condemnation, but killing them and supposedly they have said so, why would they say otherwise now? If it is so obvious that that is what they are advocating then they must obviously have no trouble with advocating it? So my simple response is, why donâ€™t we ask them? Luckily in Charles Johnsonâ€™s case we have no need, he says here:
The leftâ€™s most dishonest blogger, Glenn Greenwald (aka Socky Sockpuppet), is on a quest to prove that Iâ€™m a blood-crazed, immoral, genocidal monster, and if he has to search the LGF archives for three-year old posts to do it, and pick one sentence out of context, well, no sacrifice is too great for our word-slinging hero. Instead of linking to this idiot, hereâ€™s an excellent post by MichaelW pointing out that Greenwald Does Not Get Sarcasm.
That seems pretty clear to me that he is saying Michael is right and Greenwald is wrong. There seems no reason to pursue the matter further. Johnson was merely saying he felt no sadness over their departure from this world.
Why does Greenwald and Coulter’s method work, and why even though Johnson clearly states his intent do people insist on defining his meaning for him? Because they want it to be true, but also because Johnson’s attitude seems callous to some, and if he is so callous as not to weep over these journalists lost lives they know that in Johnsonâ€™s heart he is asking for the murdering of journalists, he just doesnâ€™t want to say it.
Maybe so, I donâ€™t know what is in his heart, but I see no reason to believe such thoughts lie there, nor does it matter as long as he doesnâ€™t advocate such things. We all have desires we donâ€™t act upon, but the fact is, that isnâ€™t what he said. This is exactly what Coulter does, and it is for exactly the same reason that it works for her fans. She preys on our desire to know for certain what her enemies are really like, and so does Greenwald. If Greenwald and any of Johnsonâ€™s detractors wish to criticize him for callousness that would be a valid argument, and people can agree or disagree on whether we should weep for journalists who are openly propagandizing for terrorists, but that is a different argument. Don in the comments says something that is exactly right in Johnstonâ€™s approach to this issue. Johnson doesnâ€™t want to kill such journalists, he approaches it this way:
even if you could identify a Reuters employee as part of the Islamic fascist threat, that doesnâ€™t mean you should target him with a military strike. The LGF approach of shining a light on the cockroaches is the proper approach.
Certainly it is doing that that has made Johnson famous, not organizing hit squads or pushing for murder. Greenwald had to distort a three year old quote to smear Johnson. If that is Charlesâ€™ view, couldnâ€™t Greenwald have found something more recent?
Let me state once again what should end the matter, Johnson unambiguously has said what he was and was not advocating. That should be the end of it. It wonâ€™t be, but it should be and frankly it is disturbing that it isnâ€™t.
What about Hindraker? I made my point with Johnson so let us keep this short, I promised Glasnost I would ask Hindraker and Hindraker sent this response to my e-mail. I asked if I could quote him and he said yes. So here it goes:
Lance, I think it would be obvious to any person of normal intelligence that when I wrote, “Given Reuters’s coverage of the conflict in Lebanon, it would perhaps be understandable if the Israelis started firing on Reuters vehicles,” I was expressing sympathy with the Israelis’ constant struggle against biased news coverage, and not advocating the shooting of journalists. Leftists on the web are often intentionally obtuse.
Once again he is rather adamant that that is not what he was advocating either. Iâ€™ll disagree on the generality of the â€œintentionally obtuseâ€ remark, but not because it isnâ€™t true. It is just that we all can be, and I have seen little evidence it is an ideologically determined trait. That it applies to Greenwald, well, Iâ€™ll let Hindrakerâ€™s statement stand even though Greenwald is supposedly not a liberal. Hindraker hadnâ€™t read Michaelâ€™s post, but obviously Michael was right here as well. As a further note, even taking Hindraker literally and denying any sarcasm it is not true that Hindraker saying that an IDF attack on the Reuters journalists is understandable implies he believes it is justified, wise, morally acceptable or any such thing. I understand impulses, actions and beliefs that I disagree with and condemn all the time. So Greenwald misrepresented Hindraker whether you accept that he was being sarcastic or not. Understandable is not a synonym for justified or advocating.
The next subject of his Greenwaldâ€™s method however is an even clearer case, Walter Williams. Walter is certainly an easy man for those he disagrees with to dislike, but to accuse him of wanting to use a nuclear holocaust against the Muslim world is beyond contempt. Here is Greenwaldâ€™s quote in a classic example of the Coulter method:
I read numerous pro-Bush blogs on a daily basis, including many war mongerers who routinely imply that we ought to be eradicating large numbers of Middle Eastern civilians as the solution to all of our woes, so it takes a lot in the extremism department to really surprise me. But this column from Walter Williams — highly recommended today by National Review’s Mark Levin — did so with plenty of room to spare.
Williams points out that we could easily “annihilate” Iran or Syria with nuclear weapons launched from submarines. He then claims that the Great Generation of World War II would have done so already, but laments the tragic fact that we are deterred from doing this by what he calls the “handwringing about the innocent lives lost, so-called collateral damage” (all emphasis mine):
[Note how Greenwald sets the reader up. First we have unnamed pro-Bush bloggers who wish to commit mass murder. Then of course introduce that it is Walter Williams who is taking extremism to new heights and it is recommended by Levin, because of course the writers of National Review certainly want genocide. The reader is now prepped to expect something to back such a statement up.]
Does the United States have the power to eliminate terrorists and the states that support them? In terms of capacity, as opposed to will, the answer is a clear yes.
Think about it. Currently, the U.S. has an arsenal of 18 Ohio class submarines. Just one submarine is loaded with 24 Trident nuclear missiles. Each Trident missile has eight nuclear warheads capable of being independently targeted. That means the U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria or any other state that supports terrorist groups or engages in terrorism — without risking the life of a single soldier.
Terrorist supporters know we have this capacity, but because of worldwide public opinion, which often appears to be on their side, coupled with our weak will, we’ll never use it.
Today’s Americans are vastly different from those of my generation who fought the life-and-death struggle of World War II. Any attempt to annihilate our Middle East handwringing about the innocent lives lost, so-called collateral damage.
Such an argument would have fallen on deaf ears during World War II when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan. The loss of lives through saturation bombing far exceeded those lost through the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Like all lovers of the Western way of life, Williams blames the free press for these threats to our freedoms: “Our adversaries in the Middle East have advantages that the axis powers didn’t have — the Western press and public opinion.” After spilling his nuclear annihilation fantasies out in the open, Williams pays lip service to the idea that we should at least think a little bit before eradicating entire countries — “I’m not suggesting that we rush to use our nuclear capacity to crush states that support terrorism” — but there is little doubt about what he is advocating.
Well he gave them what they wanted and as far as I can tell not one of Greenwaldâ€™s fans bothered to question whether this was a fair quote or not, so the technique worked. Of course Greenwald is giving them a truncated quote in which Williams seems to be backing away, but of course Greenwald knows what he is truly advocating. Do we see a pattern? However, what Greenwald is doing is taking Williams out of context and distorts the plain meaning of what Williams is arriving at. How plain? We donâ€™t even have to e-mail him to find out, because further down in the essay Williams says:
I’m not suggesting that we rush to use our nuclear capacity to crush states that support terrorism. I’m sure there are other less drastic military options. What I am suggesting is that I know of no instances where appeasement, such as the current Western modus operandi, has borne fruit.
What Europeans say about what should be done about terrorist states should fall on deaf ears. Their history of weakness and cowardice during the 1930s goes a long way toward accounting for the 60 million lives lost during World War II. During the mid-’30s, when Hitler started violating the arms limitations of the Versailles Treaty, France and Britain alone could have handily defeated him, but they pursued the appeasement route.
Williams is not arguing for using nuclear weapons, he is arguing that our approach could lead to greater peril and suffering down the road. Now maybe many of us might decide that even contemplating how far we would be willing to go if it was felt necessary, if the threat grew too large, may be beyond the pale. It might even be argued that discussing such things feeds an atmosphere that is undesirable. One can argue all kinds of points Williams is making that I would have sympathy with. Those are once again valid arguments, though not necessarily correct. What is odious and disgusting is to take what Williams said and characterize it as advocating genocide. To me that is unacceptable.
Greenwald has a larger intent here though. As is usual he needs to sweep others up in this march to genocide. Mark Levin has already been included in the genocide camp, though if that is what he admired about the essay one would think he would have mentioned it.
Then Greenwald mentions a link to Shelby Steele who he has previously used the same technique upon. To question whether we are fighting the war effectively due to concern about collateral damage in the short run is said to be contemplating genocide. Most bizarrely we get a link to Glenn Reynolds. Here is how Greenwald characterized the link:
scores of others who — with varying degrees of candor — have insinuated their support for similar bloodthirsty proposals. All this complaining about how we are losing in Iraq, being humiliated by Iran and Syria, getting pushed around by Hezbollah, all because we are too restrained in our use of military force has been edging closer and closer to collective calls for all-out destruction of our enemies.
Not exactly genocide, but a march to it. Here is the text of the link :
JOE GANDELMAN looks at Republican pundits deserting Bush, which does seem to be a phenomenon. Bush — who, as I’ve said before, has always been politically weak, just stronger than Kerry or Gore — is in the “sweet spot” on the war, fighting hard enough to anger the antiwar folks but not hard enough to please the prowar folks. This might argue that Bush is getting it right, but I suspect not. If you’re going to fight a war, you should probably fight it full bore or not at all, raising the troubling possibility that both sets of critics are right simultaneously. But perhaps a nuanced approach is called for.
On the other hand, the Hotline Blog suggests that Bush-bashing has gone too far, asking, “What’s next, blaming Bush for ATM fees?”â€
Hmmmmâ€¦â€¦.I guess by this point Greenwald figures no one will even follow the link. I sure didnâ€™t see anyone in the comments mention the discrepancy between the link and how Greenwald described it. So, link to something that actually doesnâ€™t support what you say and lump in an opinion much different than earlier ones to imply a unified moral failing. Coulteresque.
Then Greenwald follow it up with this:
It’s plainly time to add pre-emptive nuclear annihilation of entire countries to the list of policies
Even Greenwald hadnâ€™t argued that Williams or anyone else here is advocating pre-emptive nuclear annihilation prior to this point, but it is just a step up and is an easy leap for his audience to accept this about Williams, Levin, Steele or Reynolds now. However, does anyone believe that if one were to ask any of these men about whether they believe in pre-emptive nuclear annihilation they would say they do? Of course not. Read each link in the Greenwald post and see if you can possibly discern such an idea in any of them. Classic Coulter and classic Greenwald.
Is this an example of a few regrettable posts? Unfortunately it is not. This is what Greenwald does. It is what defines his work, just like Coulter, though unlike Coulter he takes in a great many people who I admire and feel are regular reading stops and obviously have not thought through or looked carefully at how he is compiling his arguments. I discussed this specifically in the case of Glenn Reynolds. To read many of Greenwald’s posts one would think all of those who even tenuously support the Bush administration, much less strongly, are blood crazed fanatics determined to bring on WWIII, to strip of us even the most basic liberties. It even clouds any reading one does of his work on legal issues where after going in great and detailed depth and (supposedly) massive amounts of research to determine the validity of his views he claims that nobody can in good faith disagree with him. If that is true, then why is all the legal research necessary? It cannot be as obvious as he claims.
Like with Coulterâ€™s targets we know there are people who hold the beliefs he wishes to impart upon those he disagrees with, we can even see where we have disagreements with some aspects of what they believe, but all distinctions, their legitimate concerns and even respect for what they actually say and believe is lost or purposely distorted. A simple rule should be, what people say about what they mean should carry the greatest weight. Williams plainly says what he is talking about. Before accusing a man or woman of being a monster the highest standards of proof should be expected. What Glenn Greenwald and many who follow his lead do is little more than lying in the end.
[tags] Glenn Greenwald, Ann Coulter, Little Green Footballs, Powerline, John Hindraker, Walter Williams, Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, Reuters, Shelby Steele, Iraq, Charles Johnson, Sock Puppets, Treason
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