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April 18, 2009

Preposterous!

The nerve of these folks - shielding some wingnut just so he can criticize the President of the United States without disclosing his identity!

... the right of scared Bush officials to participate in public debates without being identified is hardly some noble journalistic value -- former Bush officials have not exactly been shy about attacking Obama. Indeed, the very same day that Allen published his Drudge-attracting screed, Michael Mukasey and Michael Hayden published an Op-Ed in The Wall St. Journal voicing exactly the same stale accusations about how Obama had helped the Terrorists, and the day before, Hayden was on MSNBC spitting out the same attacks. Obviously, there are all sorts of ways to include criticisms of Obama's decision in a story without granting protective anonymity to an allegedly frightened Bush official.

The anonymous attack Allen printed added nothing to the world other than yet another Politico-based Drudge headline -- but it did allow a former top government official to make all sorts of factually dubious and sensationalistic claims without any accountability at all. That's why anonymity, when used so recklessly and for such shallow ends, is so poisonous.

Anonymity is dangerous. I mean, can you imagine if that kind of thing spread to the Internet? And anyway, it's not as though this so-called "source" were performing a valuable public service ... like, say, illegally releasing diagrams showing snipers how they can defeat Marine body armor! How dare he presume to criticize the leader of the free world?

Sure, the New York Times published gazillions of anonymous criticisms of George Bush from acting government servants speaking on condition of anonymity because disclosing sensitive information to the media violated the terms of their employment contracts. But that was completely different because we agreed with them. Reasonable folks knew these truth telling patriots could be trusted - after all, they were willing to bravely go on record (in an anonymous fashion) even though they had previously promised not to do that very thing! What better proof of someone's credibility can there be than the demonstrated willingness to go back on your word?

Allowing these patriots to release sensitive information for worldwide publication was eminently sensible -- and motivated only by the very highest ethical principles! There should be no secrets between us and al Qaida: we are all safer when the terrorists know our plans.

But expressing an opinion critical of Barack Obama presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States, and is probably racist too.

Update: SHAME. SHAME ON YOU, MIKE ALLEN!

Update II: Feel the awesome force of my Tweet Outrage!

Update III: Here, I excoriate thee upon Facebook! Oh, and I de-friended you.

Update IV: Andrew Sullivan doesn't like you, either. So there! What further proof is needed that you should be locked up in an airless cell in Bagram?

Update MCVII: I knew it! Glenn Reynolds, deranged torture apologist, wants to waterboard Nancy Pelosi!!!!

Conservatives are all sick, perverted criminals - every last one of them. I don't need to prove it; their actions speak for themselves. We have consensus on our side, and every time we bravely call them names rather than engaging their twisted world view, we demonstrate our commitment to tolerance and diversity; our transcendent moral superiority.

America is listening, I tell you.

Update 10,493: (panting) This is why we need a federal Shield law, I tell you. So journalists can have even less accountability than they presently do.

Of course, only journalists who tell the truth should be allowed to break the law. After all, free speech has limits. I think we all know what kind of dissent is dangerous and should never see the light of day.

Oh yes... I think we know. You can always tell a true progressive because unlike the hate-filled minions of hate, we in the Reality Based Community rely on facts and logic to make our case for us.

And that is why we'll always be better than them.

Posted by Cassandra at April 18, 2009 12:20 PM

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Comments

Glenn Reynolds, deranged torture apologist, wants to waterboard Nancy Pelosi!!!!

Probably the sole instance in which I'd pass up viewing a wet T-shirt contest...

Posted by: BillT at April 18, 2009 01:16 PM

Well, apparently I'm as dim as a fluorescent bulb because I read Greenwald's post - and his previous one - and I read the Politico article and I read some other links and I don't really get what Greenwald is so upset about. It does seem to me that the Politico article sort of dragged the anonymous comments in by the scruff of the neck - there was none of that segue stuff my English teachers taught me about - and I get that Greenwald is death on anonymous sources. However once I read that the guy trashing what Obama did is (a) speaking only on condition of anonymity and (b) "a former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush", I pretty much know everything I need to know to evaluate what the source's point of view is likely to be.

So I'm not sure why this particular grant of anonymity is so much heinous than any other especially since - to turn Greenwald's argument the other way - the anonymous guy didn't say anything other critics of Obama's action hadn't already said. I suspect Greenwald's real problem has less to do with anonymity and more to do with the source's ties to the Bush Administration.

I dunno. I've look askance at Greenwald since back during the primaries. Still it seems to me he's gotten more strident since Obama was elected, not less. Must be that whole J-curve of rising expectations thing.

I have to admit, though, that when I clicked through to the Greenwald post where he first mentioned the Politico article, I loved this bit:

There is an unhealthy tendency to want to make categorical, absolute judgments about the persona of politicians generally and Obama especially ("I like him"/"I don't like him"; "I trust him/I don't trust him") rather than case-by-case judgments about his specific acts. "Like" and "trust" are sentiments appropriate for one's friends and loved ones, not political leaders.

First of all, I'd say substituting "Bush especially" for "Obama especially" would make that more true. Second, I think "like" and "trust" are perfectly appropriate sentiments for political leaders so long as the liking and trusting are informed by analysis of actions. Third, I thought "I like him so I won't really look at what's he actually done" was pretty much the whole basis of Obama's appeal. Kind of late to be complaining about it now.

Posted by: Elise at April 18, 2009 03:21 PM

First of all, I'd say substituting "Bush especially" for "Obama especially" would make that more true.

AIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!! WINGNUT!!! YOUR CORPUS CAVERNOSUM IS SHOWING!!!

Posted by: Janeane Garuffalo at April 18, 2009 03:34 PM

"Like" and "trust" are sentiments appropriate for one's friends and loved ones, not political leaders.

In a time of crisis, a political leader who doesn't have the trust of those he's leading will be totally ineffective at leading, and will find he's been replaced.

In general, people liked and trusted Jimmy Carter until he proved he was a bumbler in a crisis -- at which point he lost both like and trust and was defeated when he ran for re-election.

In general, people liked Bill Clinton, but didn't trust him, and in the absence of a crisis, he was re-elected.

George Bush was the target of absolute paranoid hatred, but he proved he was trustworthy in a crisis, and he was re-elected.

Should be interesting to see what Obie does to get people to trust him...

Posted by: BillT at April 18, 2009 03:57 PM

...and I get that Greenwald is death on anonymous sources.

Yes, he believes in complete transparency. And did you know his blog was cited by Russ Feingold on the floor of the Senate? Not everybody knows that.

Posted by: Homesock at April 18, 2009 04:40 PM

If I were ever cited on the floor of this particular Senate, it would probably be for contempt...

Posted by: BillT at April 18, 2009 05:20 PM

"Should be interesting to see what Obie does to get people to trust him..."
Probably will have something to do with water treatment plants... Fortunately, some of us treat our water with 90 proof antiseptic.
"If I were ever cited on the floor of this particular Senate, it would probably be for contempt..."
To be held in contempt by the majority of the 111th would be nothing less than a badge of honor to most of us out here amongst the unwashed.

Posted by: Ron White's third cousin, twice removed, once repossessed at April 18, 2009 06:44 PM

did you know his blog was cited by Russ Feingold on the floor of the Senate? Not everybody knows that.

We hear he's a world-famous author, too...

Whatever.

Posted by: Sifl and Olly at April 18, 2009 06:55 PM

If Glen Greenwald wrote it--it's both idiotic and irrelevant--and you can take that to the bank!

Or at least that's my general opinion of Greenwald's "stuff".

Posted by: Mike Myers at April 19, 2009 10:47 AM

"Whatever"

Yanno.........?
I seriously worry about you sometimes. 0>;~} Where in helk do you find this stuff? And how often do you go lookin'?

Posted by: DL Sly at April 20, 2009 01:08 PM

Update MCVII: I knew it! Glenn Reynolds, deranged torture apologist, wants to waterboard Nancy Pelosi!!!!

I'd pay-per-view that!

Posted by: Tony at April 23, 2009 03:52 PM

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