Glenn Greenwald's Selective Outrage

by James Kirchick | February 29, 2008

Yesterday, Dayo pointed to Glenn Greenwald's attack on John McCain for accepting the endorsement of the evangelical preacher John Hagee. The pastor of Cornerstone Church of San Antonio is indeed a pea-brained bigot (so much so that the equally obnoxious Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has denounced the presumptive Republican nominee), and it's sad -- and uncharacteristic -- of McCain to accept his support. Those people unsatisfied with Barack Obama's equivocations about Louis Farrakhan should have the intellectual consistency to admit that McCain's embrace of Hagee is far more troubling.

But Glenn Greenwald really has little credibility on the subject of deeming which individuals are fit for mainstream support. In December, just a few weeks before my article on Ron Paul's political and intellectual mileu appeared, both Ezra Klein and Dana Goldstein of The American Prospect took issue with Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan, who, at the time, were the leaders of Paul's amen corner in the respectable liberal blogosphere. While most of the Prospect writers' critique was predicated upon the specious contention that self-proclaimed libertarians must support abortion rights, Goldstein did highlight some of Paul's objectionable newsletters which had long been a part of the public record. This ought to have bothered Greenwald -- who regularly goes after the right for its bigotry -- but apparently the Texas Congressman's rabid neo-con baiting was just too attractive to the excitable man over at Salon. Rather ominously, Goldstein also noted that, as a result of a piece she had written about Democrats and white male voters, "about a dozen of the hundred odd emails I received referenced support for Ron Paul, which at the time, I brushed off as a curiosity, a case of the white supremacists wrongly seeing an ally in Paul because of his wacky ideas about monetary policy and the threat of a North American Union" (now, we know that this white supremacist support for Ron Paul is hardly a "curiosity.") 

Throughout these debates, the Torquemada of the liberal blogosphere ignored the mountains of evidence concerning Paul's fringe, right-wing beliefs and associations (painstakingly highlighted by liberal blogger Dave Niewert, whose efforts Greenwald labeled "distortions and smears" ) for which Greenwald would have readily denounced all manner of Republicans. Several weeks later, once Ron Paul was revealed in his own words, Sullivan (somewhat) recanted his support. The Cato Institute and Reason magazine jettinsoned themselves from the man they once championed as the great libertarian hope. Noticeably absent from this series of recriminations was the Very Serious Glenn Greenwald.

So before I heed Greenwald's drive-by denunciations, perhaps he can first end his conspicuous silence on the man he once championed, apologize to Goldstein, Klein and Neiwert, and stop providing liberal justifications for the presidential candidate of choice for white nationalists.

--James Kirchick

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/glenn-greenwalds-selective-outrage