Calling out Glenn Greenwald


Glenn Greenwald asked this a couple of months ago, after he interpreted polling as showing rank and file Democrats having greater qualms than the party’s leadership about Israel’s actions in Gaza:

Is there any other significant issue in American political life, besides Israel, where (a) citizens split almost evenly in their views, yet (b) the leaders of both parties adopt identical lockstep positions which leave half of the citizenry with no real voice?  More notably still, is there any other position, besides Israel, where (a) a party’s voters overwhelmingly embrace one position (Israel should not have attacked Gaza) but (b) that party’s leadership unanimously embraces the exact opposite position (Israel was absolutely right to attack Gaza and the U.S. must support Israel unequivocally)? Does that happen with any other issue?

I fired off a response just off the top of my head, Guns and Cuba. He, in an email, (fairly) asked for evidence; I updated the post with material on the gun lobby that I uncovered after a 10-minute Google search. In another email, he replied that the Democratic leadership at least pays lip service to gun control; I don’t consider that adequate. Moreover, he ignored my evidence that the Republican leadership defied its rank and file on the issue, with not even an attempt at lip service. He never linked to my fuller reply. Fair enough – his blog is his playground.

Andrew Sullivan repeated Greenwald’s question and later, was up front enough to say he had received a number of replies, covering government bailouts, illegal immigration, medical marijuana – and guns. M.J. Rosenberg notes Cuba in a posting today.

Today, Sullivan asked the question again, noting the continuing Gaza fallout:

And yet this assault on top of a blockade, carried out with an "iron fist" as the US was in transition from one president to another was backed by a resolution carried by unanimous consent in the Senate, and with only 5 votes against in the House. American public opinion, as Glenn Greenwald noted, was evenly divided, and Democrats sided more with the Palestinians enduring a blitz with some white phosphorus thrown into the mix. Is there any plausible explanation for this discrepancy apart from the Walt-Mearsheimer one?

The answer, Greenwald says, is "no."

Greenwald is entitled not to publish replies to questions he pretends are not rhetorical; he is not entitiled to pretend he has not seen such replies and to pretend they do not exist, especially when he has just waxed pious on the "cocoon" and the need to field criticism:

People who want to opine politically or otherwise have an influence on the political process have — in my view — an obligation to engage criticisms.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Greenwald is stringently honest in some respects; he has not spared the Obama administration on its uglier consistencies with its predecessor, for instance on detention without trial.

He suffers a kind of Israel derangement syndrome, however, one that has led him to embrace a National Intelligence Council chairman who thinks it would be fine to forcibly remove demonstrators from the National Mall.

Derangement is fine, I have a few of my own; but you need to expect to get called on it.

Recommended from JTA