Dr. Rosen and The Snowden Effect

Jay Rosen is a professor of Journalism at NYU with a fairly large following, who, like most left media critics, never critiques establishment liberal/left media, and whose anodyne media analysis perpetuates myths about press freedom in the guise of critiquing infringements upon it and who rationalizes the continued hegemony of traditional elite-run media like The Guardian under a veneer of ostensible support for what he calls ‘stateless’ news organizations, like Wikileaks.

So Rosen will happily tweet out some shit written by a shill of shills like Josh Marshall, and even have robust friendly discussions with him online, without once mentioning that Marshall literally gets his talking points straight from the White House.  Or he’ll look at Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s trivializing, weird confession of acquiescence to government repression, without even a hint of mystification, let alone disparagement, at how long Rusbridger suppressed this story. To the contrary, in Rosen’s piece about it, Rusbridger’s capitulation to government thugs and his failure to immediately disclose it to his readers, metamorphoses into heroism and prudence, as Rosen extols the overwhelming importance of knowledgeable, responsible journalism elites like Rusbridger to opposing mass surveillance. 

Those who would expose and oppose the security state also need good judgment. What to hold back, when not to publish, how not to react when provoked, what not to say in your own defense: alongside the forensic, the demands of the prudential. All day today, people have been asking me: why did The Guardian wait a month to tell us… [Rusbridger’s] answer:

Having been through this and not written about it on the day for operational reasons, I was sort of waiting for a moment when the government’s attitude to journalism –- when there was an issue that made this relevant,” Rusbridger said.

That moment came after Sunday’s nine-hour airport detainment of David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist at the center of the NSA surveillance story.

The fact that David Miranda had been detained under this slightly obscure schedule of the terrorism act seemed a useful moment to write about the background to the government’s attitude to this in general,” Rusbridger said.

Hear it? The holding back. The sensation of a political opening, through which the story can be driven. The alignment of argument with information. The clear contrast between a terror anyone can identify with — being detained for nine hours while transiting through a foreign country — and the state’s obscure use of terrorism law. These are political skills, indistinguishable from editorial acumen. In a conspiracy to commit journalism we must persuade as well as inform.

Let’s put aside the idea — much beloved, I’ve found, to even the most radical members of the management class  —  that we really, really, need super savvy media elites to meticulously shape and temper whistleblowing  for the rest of us, and just examine Rosen’s interesting conclusion that Alan Rusbridger, by virtue of his particular ‘prudence’ and ‘acumen’, is supremely qualified for the job.

Dr. Rosen seems far less curious than I am about those ‘operational’ reasons that kept Rusbridger from telling his readers that Cameron’s government had demanded he turn over the files, two months before his bizarre, clueless mea culpa.  Nor does Rosen linger at all on Rusbridger’s peculiar claim that once the initial government threats were made — and those ‘operational’ things got in the way of disclosure — there was never another good time to alert his readers to the two months of government harassment that followed. Finally, like far too many others, Rosen is clearly not at all curious about what on earth possessed Rusbridger and his colleagues (Greenwald?) to send David Miranda to Heathrow with 50,000 Snowden documents shortly after Rusbridger had destroyed all the files in the Guardian’s offices on government orders.

It’s times like these when I think about shit like this — about Rusbridger’s capitulation, his failure to disclose, the strange timing of Miranda’s shakedown, and Rosen’s down-is-up defense of it all — that I sincerely wish I were less envious of the magisterial excellence and awe-inspiring courage of these people and could  lead a normal left-wing life of uncritically trusting vaguely liberal media elites, instead of smelling bullshit on everything they do and say.

Which brings us around to The Snowden Effect, a buzzphrase Rosen copiously applies to, in his words:

Direct and indirect gains in public knowledge from the cascade of events and further reporting that followed Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified information about the surveillance state in the U.S.

Meaning: there’s what Snowden himself revealed by releasing secrets and talking to the press. But beyond this, there is what he set in motion by taking that action.

Every time anything related to Snowden’s disclosures comes up, Rosen blows his horn about the Snowden Effect, like this, from yesterday:

Now some of my fellow scare quote radicals admonish Rosen and his Snowden Effect for obviousness, to the effect that, of course, there is going to be a cascading effect to something like Snowden’s whistleblowing, and do the ramifications of a big, ongoing news event really need to be a thing with a name, the main effect of which is a constant flow of self-promoting  ‘Look! See!’s like the above. But I dislike this Snowden Effect gimmick not because it’s obvious, but because it’s conception of the news environment and its relationship to everything else is very wrong.

All kinds of remarkable news stories come and go, without any cascading effect on other journalists, or corporations, or  the government  or the public.  Let’s just look at Snowden’s NSA predecessors: where was the Russell Tice effect? The Thomas Drake effect? The William Binney effect?

What was the cascading effect of this detailed and fascinating Washington Post series from 2010, Top Secret America?

Where was the Manning effect on American foreign policy discussion?

Yes, I know, I know, I know, we’re all focused on the NSA now because of the meticulous selection of documents, the precision timing of the disclosures and the brilliantly deft handling of the news cycle.

Fine.  But can we just pause for a moment to consider that we inhabit a marketplace of ideas where third party candidates get handcuffed to chairs  in warehouses while the ‘serious’ candidates debate? Where single payer was almost unmentionable during a lengthy debate on a federal health insurance program? Where a cable news host who expresses misgivings about the word ‘hero’ is bullied into saying that as a civilian, he has no right to such opinions? Can we just consider all of that, alongside the facts of media ownership, momentarily, or does that sit too uneasily with the David and Goliath story far too many people want so desperately to believe in?

Yes, there are all kinds of ‘effects’ like ‘The Snowden Effect’ that radiate out from big news events. One could say, for instance, that there was a Trayvon Martin Effect, where more space opened up to discuss ongoing oppression and violence against African Americans. But you could not say there was a Ramarley Graham Effect or an Oscar Grant effect, following the murders of those African American men by cops. There was no Abdulrahman Al Awlaki Effect. There was no Ibragim Todashev Effect, after FBI agents murdered Todashev during questioning about the Boston Bombing.  There was no Aaron Swartz effect after that young activist hanged himself in the midst of hounding by Federal prosecutors. There was no rippling news and policy effect from the leaking of Department of Homeland Security documents detailing widespread surveillance of Occupy encampments and individual protesters.

The problems with The Snowden Effect are the implication that a piece of news is inherently durable on its own merits, and its idealized view of the general public as both the final judge of newsworthiness and the driver of public policy. In Rosen’s view, the cascade of events he attributes to the Snowden Effect followed inevitably from Snowden’s disclosures. In mine, Snowden, like every other news event protagonist, is just the raw material with which people with genuine control of the news cycle tell us the the things they think we should hear in the ways they think we should hear them. It may seem unfathomable that, under a different set of conditions, Snowden would at this point already be a relatively obscure figure, but this is, of course, highly possible.

Consequently, in my scare quote radical way I am inclined to roll my eyes at all the jubilation that greeted ‘the most important day for The Snowden Effect’ when members of the FISA court and DNI Clapper himself admitted, that yes, perhaps talking about the NSA is a good thing.

Of course, Rosen and Clapper are right, talking about the NSA is a good thing, but so is talking about the other branches of the United States Intelligence Community, like the CIA, for instance, the most lavishly funded of all the agencies, no slouch in the surveillance department itself (including internet snooping) and also no slouch in murdering the people it surveils. Then just under the NSA in budgeting terms is the National Reconnaissance Office, which maintains the country’s spy satellites in a shroud of secrecy.  This Business Insider graphic of the so-called Black Budget is helpful in showing both where the priorities are and how really rather arbitrary a unique focus on the NSA , as one of sixteen agencies, seems to be.


Look at the little tiny Justice Department and how insignificant it seems. But when you count up the surveilled, harassed, murdered and imprisoned bodies credited to its various arms — which includes the The Bureau of Prisons, The FBI, The DEA and their local proxies in militarized police departments —  the singular focus on the NSA seems even more perplexing, and that’s putting aside that the Department of Homeland Security isn’t even on this map.

Perhaps one aspect of The Snowden Effect will be increased interest in all the various pieces in the Total Surveillance puzzle. Certainly Snowden’s disclosure of the Black Budget is a step in the right direction. But at this juncture, that’s not what this is looking like at all, so there’s risk that The Snowden Effect is a bad apple effect,  causing people to become convinced that the NSA is  uniquely terrible by virtue of being uniquely newsworthy. Unless I’m missing something, it’s neither one.


Courtesy of commenter Gil Alexander, here’s an amusing (sorta) video of Rosen speaking on Wikileaks. Being smarter than these people is becoming degrading.


For Laughs, Omidyar Media Advisor Jay Rosen in His Own Words

A Harbinger Of Journalism Saved

Viva The New Journalism

Oligarchs Approve the NSA Debate. I Guess We’re #Winning

Cliffs Notes for a Pile-on

Fuck the Guardian:  Take Your Drip and Stick It

Fuck the Guardian: Part 2

Fuck the Guardian: Part 1

My Reply to Glenn Greenwald’s Comments on Take Your Drip and Stick It

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110 Responses to Dr. Rosen and The Snowden Effect

  1. jif says:

    Todashev, right? Not Tamarlan Tsarnaev.

    Great point about the degree to which lefties (and the public in general) assume that the uproar over the Snowden disclosures was inevitable. If that were true simply because people are too principled to ignore the disclosures, there would almost certainly have been an Abdulrahman effect, though his brown-ness would have diluted it (and it has). Media/govt did a remarkable job of covering up that story.

    • Tarzie says:

      Thanks for the catch on that dumb error.

      Among the many surprises of entering this fray on the wrong side is the starry-eyed view of a lot of lefties on how discourse is disciplined and shaped. Someone actually referred to Greenwald as an infiltrator, which is just stupid beyond words.

      • cojoco says:

        I have to admit that your diatribe against Greenwald seemed a bit over done, but I’m starting to like what you say.

        However, I’m really unclear as to what you’re fighting for. Given that The Guardian controls the Snowden news cycle, and given that there is really no alternative, what do you offer instead?

        Drip-fed leaks are better than no leaks at all, right?

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think I could have been more explicit than I was in the last section of Take This Drip and Stick It — where I pose a number of pointed questions — about what I think would be preferable. Therefore, I am left sincerely hoping that you’re not one of those dimwitted, status-conscious conformists who read Greenwald’s comments on my piece and found them so very informative, and the source so authoritative, that they felt no need to verify them by reading the piece he was overreacting to.

        Whether or not anything I want will actually get done is beside the point. Most of what people say about ‘what should be done’ on blogs and on twitter and in newspapers and on television never gets done. But asking questions and attempting to answer them is useful in its own right, and there’s always the chance that someone with influence might agree. Why did you step forward to say you thought my ‘diatribe’ was overdone? Do you think you will change anything?

        People only start asking what’s the point of writing when in the writing some sacred icon has been defiled. They ask why you’re writing and why such a tone and why at such length, and couldn’t this really have been put much better. It’s all philistine as hell and very very very boring, especially when coming from people who are dull at 140 chars. Defiling sacred icons – when done honestly – is a good thing to do, even if it affects nothing.

        As to the question ‘Drip fed leaks are better than no leaks’, I think the jury is still out. If the end result of this is the public view that the NSA is uniquely bad and can be made right with a few new regulations and if throughout the debate the NSAs functioning has more or less gone along as normal, then no, not better and possibly worse.

        PS my piece was very far from a diatribe, though there is certainly nothing wrong with a good diatribe now and again.

  2. AmishRakeFight says:

    Hey, Tarzie. I’m somewhat new to you and your blog. But I really value the angle your opinion commonly takes regarding current events and discourse. You provide criticism and questioning from a viewpoint I had previously not been exposed to. And regarding this whole NSA/Snowden spectacle, I think one of your most insightful observations (alluded to in this post) is that perhaps this whole debate is being ALLOWED to happen, and it would thus be useful to question why that’s the case and also why it clearly wasn’t the case with revelations from Manning and other whistle blowers. I find this entire debate you’ve initiated much more fascinating than whatever the latest NSA revelation happens to be. It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that you take so much petty shit for it.
    On a side note, I want to genuinely thank you for continuing to explore these unpopular questions. Your last several posts have posed fascinating questions and discussions, and at this point you must know that doing so means continuing to subject yourself to trolling idiots and petty insults from the True Believers. I can imagine it’s quite frustrating, so thank you for putting up with it. I wish there were better odds of receiving meaningful answers and responses from your inquiries.
    Regardless, to borrow some of Arthur Silber’s recent language, thanks for stirring shit up.

    • Tarzie says:

      Very thoughtful. Thanks.

      I do take a lot of shit for this, but I’m also kind of a big baby about it. Trying to grow a thicker skin.

      In addition to being annoying, I find any line of discussion that aims at shutting debate down, rather than just arguing where you think it’s wrong, to be really depressing and it’s particularly unbecoming in lefties. The knee-jerk Greenwald defending is literally sickening in its blind stupidity.

      I don’t think there is any question that this debate is being allowed to take place. I sincerely believe the media system is so well-disciplined and mature that it expunges dangerous ideas without any official commandeering. I think the reason this discussion is welcome is because there are elites that have all kinds of interests in bringing the NSA to heel. I am quite sure for some of them there are genuine principles at stake, but I don’t think that’s the case for all of them. When you consider the NSA alongside the CIA and the Department of Justice, the end game looks to be two-tiered surveillance to go with two-tiered justice, with everyone getting a nice big cut of the money pie.

      • thedoctorisindahouse says:

        “for some of them [elites] there are genuine principles at stake, but I don’t think that’s the case for all of them.”
        Do you mean principles of control or moral principles (like a fetishized good Ted Kennedy) ?
        This sounds like a belief in batman/brucewaye. I’m going to guess principles of control but then what are the alternatives to that (since those contain advantage/security from factions).

      • Tarzie says:

        There are a bunches of elites. I think some liberal elites find the surveilling of everyone offensive on principle as well as threatening to self interest.

      • thedoctorisindahouse says:

        I will confess I find the idea of principled elites à la Batman, highly appealing, albeit for disquietingly romantic reasons, not out of counting the possibilities (which are obv. possible but just not an assumption I can make: don’t know any elites/enough about them).

      • Laurence Lange says:

        When you consider the NSA alongside the CIA and the Department of Justice, the end game looks to be two-tiered surveillance to go with two-tiered justice, with everyone getting a nice big cut of the money pie.

        (1) There’s no reason to believe that there is, or must be, a precise number of tiers. What purpose would those multiple tiers serve? Are you still stuck on the idea that Petraeus got hammered because they surveilled his email? Come on now, get off that delusional trip.

        (2) There’s always been two systems of justice. Top tier = rich, well-connected. A narrow tier. Then there’s commoner justice, which correlates somewhat to wealth/connection, but more directly to vague American social status. If you live in a trailer park and have public assistance of one form or another, you’re a legal doormat. If you live in a lower-middle-class row-house and work in one of the few factories still operating in America, you’re slightly better off. If you live commoner middle class you may get decent legal counsel if you have good insurance. Et cetera. None of this has been changed by Greenwald-Snowden-Poitras-NSA stories. It wasn’t changed by what Russell Tice revealed, nor by what Mark Klein revealed. It’s old news.

        Tarzie, you’re still seeing things from a kind of remove that is very naive about how things work in America — much like Greenwald is naive about those things. You seem stuck on a mythology taught to you in K-12, probably in a comfortable middle class suburban area. Or an urban one, that urban/suburban thing doesn’t really matter here. What matters is a naivete about how information travels around in our society, in entertainment that is “news” for many people, in news that is gobbled up like it’s religious doctrine/scripture and not a fable, etc. It’s even taken you quite a bit of work to skeptically question Greenwald’s wisdom, motives, or honesty.

        You’ve shown some growth, but you’re still basically an adolescent. Time to move out of gossip, catty snark, and status/popularity bids and into reality.

      • MtVernonCannabisFarms... says:

        “The knee-jerk Greenwald defending is literally sickening in its blind stupidity.”

        mind expanding on your reasoning ?

        for the moment greenwald has the witches eye , and perseus is the hero
        and at this point , i’m just greatful he wasn’t Dumshit-Berg

      • Tarzie says:

        mind expanding on your reasoning ?

        Yeah, I do mind, actually, because it’s obvious. But if you want a demonstration, insist, in a public way, that the sun doesn’t shine from his ass. Or imagine a less beloved person, like, say, Bill Keller, hoarding documents and arrogantly lecturing people on priorities and strategies in the exact same way.

        at this point , i’m just greatful he wasn’t Dumshit-Berg

        Keep your expectations low, and you will never be disappointed. Also I think you just answered your own question about blind stupidity.

      • MtVernonCannabisFarms... says:

        sure , I can second guess how he wields it , but Zeus gave Perseus the sword .

        aren’t you assuming how much access ElGlobo , Der Speigle , NYTimes , WPost , and ProPublica have ?
        and your minds eye imagining the sun shining from Greenwalds ass … priceless

      • Tarzie says:

        sure , I can second guess how he wields it , but Zeus gave Perseus the sword .

        Oh God, if one more person says something like this. Go try it on people who critique the president or anyone else who wields disproportionate influence. I wield the power at this blog. So why bother replying to my posts? Hey, maybe there is just something useful in people asking questions. Answering them. Being intelligent instead of stupid, conformist and power-worshippy, just for it’s own sake!

        aren’t you assuming how much access ElGlobo , Der Speigle , NYTimes , WPost , and ProPublica have ?

        I haven’t had to assume anything. Everything about the relationship to these papers is right on the surface, and considering the narrow set of countries and interests these publications represent, it’s also very much beside the point, as any dipshit who doesn’t place the US and various Leak-keeper related news cycles at the center of the universe can surely see.

        your minds eye imagining the sun shining from Greenwalds ass … priceless

        Keep swinging. Self-regarding dimwits failing to be clever are always entertaining.

    • Laurence Lange says:

      I find this entire debate you’ve initiated much more fascinating than whatever the latest NSA revelation happens to be. It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that you take so much petty shit for it.

      To be completely fair to everyone who’s been engaged in the discussion of this circus, Tarzie did not “initiate” the discussion at all — he came late to the discussion, opening with a perspective that was fond of Greenwald and accepting of Greenwald’s grift, but over a series he’s shown a bit of growth. He still lacks the forthcoming honesty of explaining how and why his views have changed. Which undercuts his journalistic aims.

      Many people have been skeptical of Greenwald for many years. Many people doubted the relevance or importance of the Snowden con-job from its very beginning. You may hasten to dismiss the doubters as prepper kooks, bipolar stooges of conspiracy whacks, etc., but usually that kind of dismissal shows more about your own naivete than anything else. If you simply google “Greenwald lies” or “Greenwald sock puppets” you can find a bunch of discussion of the artifices practiced by the “constitutional lawyer”. And most of it is several years old.

      The building of Greenwald into an “expert” is parallel to the building of Obama into a “progressive.” Both myths are made of cotton candy floss.

      Tarzie has indeed done a good job of getting a small handful of people to discuss the Greenwald-Snowden-Poitras-Guardian-NSA circus from a perspective not often found, but don’t be deceived into thinking Tarzie is the only one having those thoughts or discussions. And don’t be fooled into thinking they originate with him. The only difference I see between prior discussions and those Tarzie is having here is the audience. The audience here seems to be one which normally spends its time following Hollywood gossip from Perez Hilton.

      If you strip away the obsessions with twitter-based pseudo-argument, there isn’t much here. Twitter isn’t reality. Gossip isn’t reality. They’re forms of entertainment, which generally distorts reality to make it either more palatable or somehow funnier — including making it the judas goat or the butt of the joke.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        Your comments lately have managed to write a great deal of words without really saying anything useful.
        “Many people have been skeptical of Greenwald for many years.” – I don’t get the point of this whole paragraph. Are you just puffing up your chest and saying, “Well finally you idiots came around. I’ve been saying this for years!”? How is that useful except to stroke your ego?
        As to the others who supposedly initiated this debate well before Tarzie got involved, have they managed to elicit responses from Glenn (the substance and usefulness of these responses aside)? And why not name these “others” so i can seek them out and learn more form them?
        If you want to set me up on your knee and explain how I’m late to the game and how full of knowingness you are, I don’t really have any interest in that.

      • Tarzie says:

        He still lacks the forthcoming honesty of explaining how and why his views have changed. Which undercuts his journalistic aims.

        What on earth are you talking about? The reasons for my disenchantment with Greenwald could not be more clear. I am not going to degrade myself by re-iterating them. Just read my posts. Also his. God, Lawrence, Oxy, whoever you are today, accuser of sock puppets guy.

        And as I keep saying, this is only about Greenwald inasmuch as he has made himself the only game in town. If he loosened up on the reins, I wouldn’t give him a second thought.

        It’s YOU that really really really cares about Greenwald. Not me.

      • Sandra says:

        I think you are wrong.

  3. thedoctorisindahouse says:

    The selectivity El Efecto Snowdeño is its great achilles heel.
    Focusing on the good makes it non scientific.

    The public has been turned against the situation, in their powerless opinion. What of the public that considers Snowden a traitor. Or that (to me, stunning) fact that women are more accepting of a surveillance state than men, in varying degrees (from insignificantly more, to trememendously more), according to polls. Is this the effect, too? Why or why not? The only “change” assumed here is the positive one, in the leaks-make-change model. The rest is cruft that won’t fall away because it’s bad.

    What of the fact that info security will be ramped up, while no punishments are doled out to the powerful that have been exposed? Is the further eroding of any information leaks, of any transparency, also a #SnowdeñoEffecto ?

    The US and Europe have more promisingly anti authoritarian polls than England. Which just happens to have, only by virtue of it’s choke point location advantage, the best infrastructure to catch/spy, according to the leaks. So, that the English are the worst of the worst and that this has not rubbed off on the public there and that the politicians there are spymaniacs on all sides, now that it’s out in the open. Surely that was not an intended #snowdeneffect?

    It’s a lot of hopeless hope looking for any bit of championing, among a consumerist segment, that wants to see what is happening as ‘generally positive’, around these leaks, instead of completely unknown. Because we don’t know what the elites are up to, who’ve been laughing and parading with embarrassingly gauche reform promises. We don’t have the data to work with, limited as that would be. And apparently, the fact that the little sallies into change that are spearheaded by congressmen and lawsuit-oriented activists around the world like the EFF, is no problem at all.

    The biggest change has come from lawsuits forcing more declassifying of docs.
    That’s from specialists having access to docs they can take to court.

    Much more important, I’m chure, is that we all sit around debating. If not that, then in the vicinity of debates on tv, in the background of dinnertime. Stuff like that.

    Fallacy: the public naturally turns against such a monster when they see what it is but the public would also be bored and side with it if they saw too much at once.
    One or the other or both halves of that must be wrong. Although it seems like the hand holding is the qualifier that would explain it, that would be seeming wrong.

  4. Jay Sauce says:

    I’ve always wondered, why does Jay Rosen have a pair of plain black-framed glasses at the top right of his blog?? For some reason they piss the fuck out of me. I don’t know why. They are just so plain and black-framed and pseudo-intellectual. An obvious symbol to convey intellectualism. Are these his secret ‘Rosen Lenses’ that give him the clarity of vision to produce his unmatched sleep-inducing insights into the media machine? Well maybe it’s just me. I don’t know why they are so annoying but they just are.

    • Tarzie says:

      Ha ha. Yeah, those annoy me too. That’s an amusing reading. Thanks.

      The blogger Digby uses something similar as her Twitter avi. Annoying in the same way.

      These people are all about signifying their great brains in the most banal ways possible.

      • Jay Saucy says:

        Digby’s Peter Finch thing always annoyed me (as if she’s the only sane one spitting truth in this insane media world. please) but interesting that she’s adopting the black-framed glasses thing too. One more person and it’s definitely trend!…I can see Andrew Sullivan who wears those glasses adopting it but he’s already got the most pompous little drawing ever. (“Political Junkie” up all night with the pooch just living for this politics shit all the way past midnight…ahh gotta love it.)

        Anyways small things but very telling.

        Great great piece by the way.

      • Tarzie says:

        Ha, you’re funny. Stop by here anytime.

  5. Has Rosen ever demonstrated how his analysis and theorizing leads to something that people (other than elites, his fellow intellectuals, and Rosen himself) find useful? By contrast, I think your paragraphs following the Rosen tweet are particularly useful, in a thoroughly dismembering kind of way. You’ve also invited us to wonder whose interests are served when a professor trades on his reputation for scholarship and knowledge (however unearned) to engage in self-promotion and savvy marketing of some pretty vapid ideas. Well done.

    • Tarzie says:

      Has Rosen ever demonstrated how his analysis and theorizing leads to something that people (other than elites, his fellow intellectuals, and Rosen himself) find useful?

      Not as far as I know, but I don’t think he intends to. I was actually shocked by how elitist his Rusbridger piece is.

      This whole ‘debate’ is completely elitist, and just about everyone is perfectly fine with that.

      Thanks for the compliments. I’m glad to see you sticking with the blog.

  6. poppsikle says:

    Jay Rosen is cautious, not bold, and doesn’t cross lines he is told not to cross, even when the issue is his own profession, journalism. That has been my experience with him. Liberal? I guess… liberal in the way too many liberals are these daze. Lacking in courage, and in times when it is most needed, like now.

    As for the Snowden effect, you are right to say its been publicized but that has been a good thing. So much has come out we needed to know.

    You were right when you said this though:
    “It may seem unfathomable that, under a different set of conditions, Snowden would at this point already be a relatively obscure figure, but this is, of course, highly possible.”

    Its astounding what the media can hide when it chooses to. That’s why those who question are so important.

  7. Gill Alexander says:

    I have always thought there was something fundamentally wrong with Rosen from this moment on.

    “Hi. Its Jay Rosen and welcome to my 4th “Late Night with Press Think” video. Tonight I’m going to try to explain how I think about Wikileaks… which is certainly in the news lately. Aaand for assistance… DEWARS ON THE ROCKS! I’ve been asked this week many times by journalists seeking interviews and others who know me whether I think Wikileaks is a good or bad development and I have to say at the start – I don’t have an answer to that. Aaand that I really don’t think in those terms.”

    So many tropes all in one intro. Retro journalist”hard boiled” alcohol brand choice, “late night” while we sleep atmosphere, the ponderous, deliberative tone signifying he is above it all – complete with Obama-esque “Aaaaaaannnd”s, signifiers that he is in demand (seeking interviews and people who KNOW ME). Aaaannnd still he doesn’t know. If he didn’t “get it” about Wikileaks then, he’ll never get it. Then again, that’s the point, isn’t it?

  8. walterglass4 says:

    The weird thing about Rosen’s “Snowden Effect” is how little analysis it really contains.

    I actually used to really like Rosen, up until the 2012 election when his stuff about Romney became too hackish to take, but if you go back and read stuff about the “sphere of deviance” and so on, it’s not horrible. Definitely obvious and self-promotionally buzz-phrasey (“stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen”), but it’s thought-through, with the motivations of the players clearly delineated and a clear sense of what the stakes are.

    With the “Snowden Effect,” he ostentatiously performs a grappling with some new inexplicable phenomenon that he can’t quite explain but we can clearly see it’s happening and only time will tell why. I’m sure he would be able to come up with response to your counter-examples, but it would be improvised and unsubstantial. The whole theory rests on a victorious and ascendant insurgency, which I guess is true in some ways, for all the good it does the rest of us.

    Looking back on Greenwald and Rosen’s previous synchronizations, the whole Snowden Effect really is the culmination of what they’ve both been building towards for a decade – infiltrating the mainstream, scrambling the media narratives, turning public opinion. It just turns out that these are all changes that the system is more than able to absorb.

    • Tarzie says:

      I find it really hard to believe that this guy ever said anything I’d find interesting but if you say so… I trust your judgment more than most.

      Your third paragraph, I don’t actually get it. I don’t think the system is required to absorb anything. Clearly people in high places are quite happy with this discussion and Greenwald; otherwise he wouldn’t be appearing so frequently on cable news. The system doesn’t have to absorb him at all. It can just ignore him and Snowden as they did Manning. But Greenwald makes himself welcome by tailoring his message, if indeed there is any real difference between his reformist vision/concern for national security and what the system requires. I don’t understand why people see him as more radical than he represents himself. No, actually I do. It’s that the Overton Window has been so far over for so long, anti authoritarian liberalism looks radical. But his and Snowden’s approach is extremely conservative. Look at his comments about national security. Tactically it could make perfect sense, if news-driven policy debates are the thing one dreams about. But making more of Greenwald’s highly principled civil libertarianism than is actually there is something else.

      Whatever this began as, this has been shaped into some kind of intra-agency turf war or an attempt to formalize a two-tiered surveillance system. There are five agencies and the NSA is the least of the problem. Greenwald didn’t infiltrate shit. He’s very much a part of whatever game is being played here, whether he knows it or not.

      • walterglass4 says:

        I don’t think my comment was in contradiction to yours, unless I’m missing something. When I say infiltration I mean it in the most literal way possible – he was mostly outside now he’s pretty much inside. Rosen’s analysis seems to assume that the shock of Greenwald being on CNN a lot somehow has a major effect; my only point is that the surveillance system can clearly absorb that shock.

        As to the intra-agency turf war I’m not very knowledgable about that but it sounds compelling as a contributing factor as to why this is all happening the way it is.

      • Tarzie says:

        You’re right. I misunderstood. It was late. Crazy people were spitting on me.

        However, when I hear infiltrator, I think of someone who has gained access to something they could damage or subvert — because the recipient doesn’t recognize the threat — not something that will readily appropriate them.

      • poppsikle says:

        When Topix trolls were attacking me 2 years ago in defense of the NSA, they said they were hires of Homeland Security. I think all the National “safety” agencies are so tight with each other, the NSA, the DHS, the DEA etc., all sharing info within that private “club” that when you crack one you do indeed, crack them all and they have been shaken to the core by the Snowden revelations and the subsequent reporting on them. They have proven themselves how much they have been shaken, by their jumpy, guilty reaction.

      • Laurence Lange says:

        There are five agencies and the NSA is the least of the problem. Greenwald didn’t infiltrate shit. He’s very much a part of whatever game is being played here, whether he knows it or not.

        Why are you limiting this to “five agencies”? Data spying and stolen/eavesdropped data sharing are not acts limited to federal govt entities, nor to just those 5 you list.

        Greenwald is an infiltrator of a sort. He has infiltrated the legal-ish and natsec-ish punditry, replaceing Dershowitz and van Susteren as the nation’s pseudo-expert on legal issues, and oddly he’s become a point-man for natsec matters that used to be the domain of that dude from the Easter Island monoliths, Brit Hume. But you’re correct that Greenwald is used as a conduit — he may actually believe he’s doing groundbreaking research, but he’s not once disclosed anything not previously disclosed. He’s a re-hasher, with the Guardian-gift (or Salon-gift) of “authority” and “expertise” and frequent publication lending a false gravitas, false because it hasn’t been earned by experience and hasn’t been a product of demonstrated competence.

        I would wager a hefty pot o’gold that Greenwald knows he’s a fraud, and that because of some long-brewing sense of insecurity relative to his desired peerage, he’s willing to pretend at holding information he doesn’t, and a status he hasn’t earned, because that helps him feel good about himself. He is very obviously obsessed with status and wants celebrity so much that it oozes from his essays and spoken pieces when interviewed. More than anything he reminds me of a combination of Russell Brand, Lindsay Lohan, and Paul Reubens. He’s certainly never struck me as battling for legitimate legal scholarship by pitting his legal analytic chops against someone like Laurence Tribe or Page Keeton — and very likely for the good reason that he isn’t, and never will be, at their level.

      • walterglass4 says:

        You’re right, my use of the term was pretty inaccurate.

  9. Jay says:

    Tarzie, great post as always, lots to think about. Might I make a suggestion though – it looks like you’ve been going at the Twitter EXTREMELY hard – maybe take a 2 week holiday? Or at least a 2 day on, 2 day off approach for a while? Endless sniping with those completely entrenched in their mindset can’t be good for your mental health…. and I think the annoyance you’re experience is starting to leak a little into your writing and becoming a bit of a distraction from your great observations. I don’t think twitter is helping your writing, and more importantly I don’t think it’s helping your day to day happiness!

  10. nigh says:

    An “effect” actually “occurs”, it interrupts the normal function of the discourse. If there was a “snowden effect” we would see e.g. mass demonstrations around the world against surveillance. What we see instead are the massive efforts to control the impact of the snowden material, to integrate it into the discourse. This includes Rosen, Greenwald et al de facto.

  11. Anon says:

    Please email re twitter attacks on you.

    • Tarzie says:

      now why would i do that? so that I can be attacked via email? I don’t really care about this stupid twitter beatdown by people i dislike or don’t know.

      • Anon says:

        Wasn’t going to attack you, just wanted to tell you privately that you’re spending too much time responding to irrelevant trolls like the goat idiot.

      • Tarzie says:

        You’re right. But when you’re in the middle of a beatdown and parody accts are popping up it’s hard to keep your head. And it wasn’t just yolo_goat. Matt Cornell was one of the ringleaders.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’ve a got a locked account now, and wasn’t too bothered today. I don’t think these people realize that it’s fairly easy to render them invisible. I think I saw less of the of the little orgy than just about anyone in my TL. I saw very little of it.

      • Anon says:

        No, I understand. I have a locked account and just follow people for news about Palestine and other stuff. The goat in particular and the Fanon (I’m sure he’s rolling over in his grave) are always trolling people in the most obnoxious ways fathomable. A few months ago goat was trying to start a movement to ban the guy that started Electronic Intifada from attending SJP events in universities. I can’t stand him and his retarded cult. Anyway, I don’t always agree with you but I find you informative and am always shocked when I see people attacking you. I remember ridiculous comments from Max Blumenthal about where you live or something, as if you weren’t allowed to opine on shit because of your neighborhood, says the son of one of Clinton’s staffers. Twitter gives assholes a false sense of self, without it we wouldn’t know who any of these people are.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yolo_goat went after Electronic Intifada??? Jeez, at least I’m in good company. Surprising when these campaigns start who jumps on.

        I first became aware of violentfanon by way of this bizarre interrogation of how I used the word ‘histrionic’ and how the only other person who used that word as much as I was Josh Foust (NatSec creep) and then some bullshit about how it’s a sexist trope, just grasping aimlessly in the bottom of their little tiny bag of troll tricks. Truly the most pathetically idiotic and desperate trolling I have ever been subject to, and I got hammered that week. It was almost sad how stupid it was. These people all strike me as just these really stupid liberals with a little theory and some radical affectations (like ‘violent Fanon’. Cringeworthy) That’s why they think a relatively principled anti-authoritarian liberal like Greenwald is a radical beyond reproach. A bunch of self-adoring middle class grad student mediocrities. They’re awful.

      • Anon says:

        Yes, he thinks EI is a shitty non-informative blog. Anyway fuck him, etc. Enjoying your blog, gnite.

  12. Laurence Lange says:

    Your comments lately have managed to write a great deal of words without really saying anything useful.

    You know what’s NOT useful? Stating a conclusion as if it’s inescapable, and not supporting it with any fact-based analysis.

    I suggest you keep doing the oblique rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Greenwald-Snowden-Poitras-Guardian characters. And keep using the “I’m really skeptical here” angle while you do it. Naivete and skepticism have always been fungible constructs, as have utter wrongness and skepticism.

    • Laurence Lange says:

      Also, ARF —

      You should ask Tarzie whose blogs or websites he read over the past 5 years and which of those writers influenced his (condescending) writing style. Ask him in private so he won’t have to admit his unformed self 5 years ago, and won’t have to reveal that he read and was influenced by writers whose horrible misogyny and potentially reactionary perspective (according to Tarzie’s mind, through his own projections) would be too embarrassing to allow Tarzie to admit he read that writer.

      Tarzie gotta keep up appearances, yo.

      Some of us have been reading the various Tarzie iterations around the internet for a while. It’s been interesting watching him move from an angry fixture of breeder-hatred and reactionary-despise at IOZ and SMBIVA, to a guy with his own site where he obviously has fed off the people who taught him how to think, but whose influences he cannot acknowledge.

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh fuck’s sake. You’re not gonna do this here, oxy. Do it on your own turf.

        Why is everyone turning into a mental case about this?

        I don’t make any secret of my influences, they’re just not usually relevant. Yeah I read IOZ and SMBIVA and even read from Pez Candy from time to time. Sometimes I thought you were insightful, though, at the time, I didn’t agree with most of what you said about Greenwald, and still don’t really. My analysis is that he is the raw material the media is using right now to have a very limited debate. I think he’s a bit of jerk, yeah, but that’s secondary.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        Ah, so now I see why you replied to my first comment. Obviously you have a personal issue with Tarzie and you got pissed that I posted a complimentary post about him.
        I don’t give a shit about the Tarzie of 5 years ago. Five years ago my political beliefs were utterly detestable to me now. How is that relevant at all? I am interested in the points and arguments Tarzie is making, not the man who happens to be making them. Leave me out of your juvenile shit.

    • AmishRakeFight says:

      “You know what’s NOT useful? Stating a conclusion as if it’s inescapable, and not supporting it with any fact-based analysis.” – And what fact-based analysis have you provided? Or are you going to suggest more things for me to Google and talk about other obscure people whose understanding dwarfs everyone here without naming them?
      This will be my last reply to you; I don’t want to shit up the comments here with more posts that are irrelevant to the topic at hand. You’ve done enough of that already, and I have no interest in arguing with you further.

  13. Laurence Lange says:

    What on earth are you talking about? The reasons for my disenchantment with Greenwald could not be more clear. I am not going to degrade myself by re-iterating them. Just read my posts. Also his. God, Lawrence, Oxy, whoever you are today, accuser of sock puppets guy.

    You need to get off the “Oxy” accusation here, buckowens. The world is much bigger than your little circle of gay men who exchange catty snark about their latest political gossip vectors. But really, if you want to pretend that every hetero male should be dismissed as unreliable and someone else’s “sock puppet” because that makes you more comfortable in your gay identity — have at it.

    And as I keep saying, this is only about Greenwald inasmuch as he has made himself the only game in town. If he loosened up on the reins, I wouldn’t give him a second thought.

    Which is the point that many people made well before you. Yet you claim it’s entirely your domain? That’s rich. But predictable, based on your past commentary at IOZ and SMBIVA.

    It’s YOU that really really really cares about Greenwald. Not me.

    Your sexual preferences have blinded you to the motives of breeders to whom you cannot relate. This gay snark may be a secret handshake among gay men, but it’s not really saying the truth about why I would pick on Greenwald’s fraudulence. There’s the simple point of not wanting people to believe lies and be deceived by that belief — but you can’t see that because in your gay man’s view, the only reason to pick on Greenwald is unsatiated lust. It makes you look like you are Greenwald in disguise when you say that, because one of his great deflection tactics is the accusation of jealousy.

    • Tarzie says:

      This is much better, it’s at least entertaining. Keep it up.

      • Laurence Lange says:

        Yes, being “bored” is the capital crime of all capital crimes in the gay male universe, isn’t it?

        Do you even know what it’s like to be a man who is not obsessed with other men’s dicks and asses? Here’s a few hints. Being “bored” isn’t bad. Not knowing how to be catty isn’t cause for suicide. And best of all, we don’t have to give some lying author a wide berth on truthiness simply because he is gay. In fact, a writer’s sexuality isn’t cause for generation of rhetorical and rational blind spots!

      • Tarzie says:

        Yes, being “bored” is the capital crime of all capital crimes in the gay male universe, isn’t it?

        No, it’s being boring.

        Do you even know what it’s like to be a man who is not obsessed with other men’s dicks and asses?


  14. Laurence Lange says:

    Oh fuck’s sake. You’re not gonna do this oxy. Do this on your own turf.

    You are obsessed with this “Oxy” character. What will you do if you learn he’s hetero? Will you still want to have sex with him, forever?

    I must disappoint you once again, and remind you that I am not “Oxy” nor am I any other of your fantasy men.

  15. Laurence Lange says:

    Ah, so now I see why you replied to my first comment. Obviously you have a personal issue with Tarzie and you got pissed that I posted a complimentary post about him.

    Hah hah hah hah. That’s riotous! Side-splitting stuff!

    I think it’s obvious Tarzie has a “personal issue” with “Oxy” and so that issue defines his interactions with me — causing him to accuse me of being this “Oxy” character whose cock Tarzie wants either to suck or drive into his arse, or maybe both! I find the obsession strange, but maybe that’s because I am straight and don’t understand the Gay Male Mind and Libido, Inc. (a profit vector registered in the State of Delaware).

    The handle “Amish Rake Fight” is really funny gay snark in itself. I bet you even have an amateur gay porn clip with two “amish rakes” fighting and then going from fight to fuck, which you watch every day, maybe even at a scheduled time! So yes, I’m honored that yet another gay man whose focus is unfunny snark has trained his sights on me. Maybe you should tag-team Tarzie and call me “Oxy” too? Betcha it will feel really really good to do that!

  16. Laurence Lange says:

    This will be my last reply to you; I don’t want to shit up the comments here with more posts that are irrelevant to the topic at hand. You’ve done enough of that already, and I have no interest in arguing with you further.

    That’s swell stuff, Binkley. Always brilliant to quit while you’re (the) behind.

    What exactly is the “topic at hand” here? I think you missed my points stated above to Tarzie where I helped him understand how he’s splitting hairs for the mere sake of hair-splitting rather than helping others understand, but I guess that’s easy for you to dismiss because it provides very little that you can refute either factually, or with some 4th understudy level of failed humor in snark form. So yes, on that background, best to bow out — even without grace.

  17. Laurence Lange says:

    I don’t give a shit about the Tarzie of 5 years ago. Five years ago my political beliefs were utterly detestable to me now. How is that relevant at all? I am interested in the points and arguments Tarzie is making, not the man who happens to be making them. Leave me out of your juvenile shit.

    What a confused batch of sentiments on display there. You look like someone in a huff, in a tizzy, in a cycle of hysteria. “Dr Howard, Dr Fine, Dr Howard to the ob/gyn theatre please, hysterectomy scheduled in 10 minutes.”

    What someone thought or did 5 years ago is directly relevant when they hold themselves out as an expert, or as informed, on a subject. The evolution of a person’s perspective is relevant when they are suggesting they tell the truth. Motive is far more important than you credit. Motive tells you WHY someone would say WHAT they say. But then, if you’re only interested in gossip that is happening right this moment, and its entertainment value for distraction from the misery of Your Life, I suppose motive and honesty are totally irrelevant and discarded in favor of Do I Feel The Snark, Baby?

    It makes me wonder what line of work you’re in. Perhaps you’re imagining yourself to be the Font of Witticism, and have accepted that you’re currently the lowest head on the totem pole, and must work your way up. So for now, Font of Failed Humor would be accepted, with hopes that one day, Font of Occasional Chuckle Given Politely So As To Not Hurt Feelings would be within reach. Then, maybe if you live to 75 or so, you may hit Font of Unintended Hilarity.

    But if you were ever in any line of work where a person’s honesty was the focal point of daily labor, you’d know why the status of a person’s present story, and how he/she got there, are directly relevant. Without coming off too haughty, I might even suggest that’s the very center of political analysis (motive and message), but it would seem that conclusion is outside your intellectual grasp right now — so apologies for baffling you.

    • Tarzie says:

      What are you suggesting, bub. That I put a bibliography of all the blogs I used to read five years ago?

      Of course we’re all shaped by other influences. Why I am required to attest to mine?

      • Laurence Lange says:

        First, I didn’t say it was “required”, bubke. I suggested it’s something you should do. You know, it’s best to not push your imagined thoughts onto someone else, though I understand how resisting the temptation to do that is well outside your grasp right now.

        But as to why you should explain the evolution of your view? Oh, I don’t know — humility, and to more fully explain your perspective — to name just two reasons. I find it curious that you’ve gone from nearly worshiping Greenwald to being comfortable tossing barbs back and forth with him, but all the while you’ve emphasized that somehow his failings are due to the Guaradian UK’s involvement, rather than an urge toward dishonesty motivated by fame-clamoring. Even when you criticize him, you seem to be praising him. And since you’ve chosen to emphasize the realm of NSA and spy games, it’s double-interesting because it becomes a sibling or cousin of limited hangout tactics and method… give with one hand, take back with the other… is he giving? is he taking away? We just can’t tell!

        If none of this is intended as a meaningful discussion and the only purpose is to throw snark in some kind of Gay Dozens diversion, I suppose that’s just one more reason to ignore what I’m saying. But you are showing an impulse toward serious, meaningful analysis and if that’s really where you’re headed, being honest about your own evolutions is the best way to have people take you more seriously. Mainly because merely being “Rancid Tarzie of Internet Snark Fame” doesn’t translate to “informed analyst of natsec and legal matters”.

      • Tarzie says:

        I am not trying to establish myself as an expert on anything so…

        And it would be impossible for me to describe my evolution. I think people can assume other people influenced me.

        There is no evasion going on. Considering that I’m a nobody and, within my small sphere, kind of polarizing, I doubt that anyone besides you feels the need of credit.

  18. Laurence Lange says:

    I don’t really think that hearing/reading Ohtarzie or RancidTarzie “credits” someone named “Laurence Lange” would do anything for me, and I’d guess it would do nothing for you. Why do you assume I need YOU to give ME credit? That would imply that I find you wiser and more important than myself. Again you are sounding much like Greenwald, playing the jealousy accusation card, thereby inflating yourself in the bargain. I’d call it sad, but that really understates how pathetic it is. Be your own man, Tarzie!

    Also, it’s quite interesting how ARF and you slide back and forth into each other’s perspective. I told ARF that your discussion of a perspective evolution would be wise, and instead of ARF responding with points on that idea, ARF distracts with bold conclusions about my irrelevance and Tarzie responds as if I said it to Tarzie. You haven’t even responded to the first two pointed comments I made in this entire morass of commentary, but you have chosen to make a big deal not of what I’ve said, but of what ARF said about ARF’s fantasies about ARF’s conjectures about what ARF imagines lurks behind my comments.

    Oh well. You still have your legion of Tweet-hangers-on. That beats coping with reality any day!

    • Tarzie says:

      So we agree. For all the reasons you mentioned, giving credits would be silly.

      Trust that despite my haughty tone, I could not be more aware of my negligibility.

      • Laurence Lange says:

        Buster Bubke, your comic chops resemble those of an old granny who has misplaced her dentures. Gummy and toothless.

        “So we agree.”

        Uh, no we do not. Not on the point you allege, anyway. Do you honestly believe you “trapped” me on that one? If so — comical, but like I said, it’s gummy. Toothless. Maybe even kinda shriveled at the gumline.

        Website operators who use sock puppetry really need more practice at making the puppets own distinctive voices. (You don’t want to end up like Mr Greenwald and his aliases, Mr Ellensburg, Mr Ellis, et cetera. That was an embarrassing moment for him, and put a big obstacle in his Path to Global Celebrity.) So often it’s obvious, and so often the obviousness isn’t rendered a self-conscious point of irony-generation. I think in the Gay Dozens world, that’s called being BORING. And that’s bad, correct?

        Be your own man, Tarzie. Don’t take credit for what you copy off others. Don’t pretend that you “know” something because someone you “admire” has told you that thing with some form of conviction that made you believe it without proof. And learn to reject the mythology that was made immanent during your youth.

        You’re welcome. That’ll be $265. I accept payment from all major health care benefits providers, and all major credit cards. I also accept cash. No checks. No IOUs.

      • Tarzie says:

        Thanks, Laurence!

  19. nigh says:

    (so we at least have a laurence-lange-effect, and it is super masculin…)

    • Laurence Lange says:

      No SOOPAH at all, tremulous one. Nothing more than hetero, and thus confusing to those who aren’t hetero, and only understand the feminine hetero perspective.

      • nigh says:

        (sorry, i was not precise, i ment we have a laurence-lange-effect INSTEAD of a snowden-effect – from a “nothing more than hetero” perspective.)

  20. Laurence Lange says:

    I love how gay men can’t say or type “hetero” without fuming derision and red-faced scorn.

    Be comfortable in your gayness. Heteros like me don’t threaten you. Heterophobia is ugly bigotry.

  21. Jay's Sauced says:

    Shittt you locked your twitter? Is this permanent? Don’t have one yet (I know, I know. I’m getting to it soon) but like to see what happening in the rancid sector regularly…

  22. Ronald Perry says:

    I’m interested in this naive progress tendency. It seems like getting things into the conversation is a minor achievement but liberals like to tout it as a major achievement. Seeing people comment on the two year anniversary of occupy, I read people say things like that it got income inequality ‘into the conversation’. This is good but it seems to me that single payer has been in the conversation for a long time and that’s nowhere close to getting passed in the near future. This just seems to keep liberals, liberals. Do a certain action then overstate it’s effect. Maybe the few genuine people don’t want to admit that all that work they are doing is actually moving the ball backwards ever slowly. And others are financially incentivized to promote this ‘progress’. It seems that the starting point should be ‘we got this thing (spying, income inequality, climate change, etc) into the conversation BUT….” It’s very interesting to me right now. Could you comment more on this almost blind tendency to overstate progress re: spying vs. recent occupy anniversary. Also, Greenwald does this a lot, which before gave me more hope, but now I’m starting to see how harmful it can be. He always links to an article preceding it with something like ‘a professor who’s quite establishment usually just wrote a column against this or that, this is very telling’. That done multiplied by a lot and create this myth that people are just going to slowly change when they hear the real truth. It would be interesting to hear you comment on all those little ways (in addition to the drip drip) that Greenwald gets his readers to stay in the myth. He’s a smart guy and he has to have read your Chris Hayes post and has to know what function he serves just from watching him, yet, he still links to him enthusiastically. Never grudgingly but always ‘wow. very strong segment by Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow’. He has the leverage with he sizable readership to make a clean break with them yet he continues to give them links and kudos.

    • Tarzie says:

      I agree with almost everything you say, though I’m not too sure Greenwald has the leverage to go further. You might be underestimating how one wrong move can get you devoured by wolves.

      Also, I think it’s pretty clear that GG wants more of the things ambitious people like than what he currently has, and that is definitely at odds with a more radical approach.

      But ultimately I don’t think much of what I mentioned matters, because I don’t think there is anything more to GG than what you see on the surface, an ambitious, genuinely civil libertarian liberal incrementalist. So even if he had the leverage to push things further, I don’t believe there is any strong desire to do so. He’s become sort of the journalistic equivalent of Obama in the extent that he is blank slate on which people project their aspirations, despite any evidence. Pretty sure he believes every silly little incrementalist thing he says.

  23. Ronald Perry says:

    Yes, you’re definitely right with that. He would be marginalized in a few weeks if broke with the Rosen-Hayes crowd.

    And I agree that he doesn’t want to. Getting over Greenwald takes a little time. There are still traces (as evidenced above) but they’re getting out of the system fast. And yes, I think many suffer from the Obama syndrome of projecting hopes onto Greenwald. He can rip to shreds people to his right making him seem more shrewd and intelligent. Toobin and others are easy pickings. I guess many assume from this that he is more aware than he is. It’s like that supposedly ‘anti-war’ Obama speech where he was subtly saying he wasn’t against war. Just got to take them at their word. Have to come to grips that there are no stealth radicals in high places….Nice dream.

  24. Commenting here though this isn’t really the right place and I’m late–

    You’ve mentioned a couple times the idea of a two-tiered surveillance system paralleling the two-tiered legal system and I’m wondering if you could elaborate on what you mean by that, because I have a hard time envisioning it.

    It seems like modern surveillance technology is in its nature nonspecific in its target; the whole structure is organized around these broad nets that bring in everything, and the act of filtering people out, like the rich and powerful, would involve identifying the very data they wouldn’t want found. I mean, perhaps the dragnets could be shut down and the focus shifted to much more specifically targeted surveillance techniques, but I find that unlikely; I imagine the panopticon is just too tempting to the powerful.

    The problem reminds me of DRM and locked computers and the like; a lot of elites seem to think it should be possible to simply add something to computers or digital files that prevents piracy, when it’s simply impossible and results in broken computers. It seems like any attempt to “fix” surveillance by the elites would follow similar lines and similarly fail.

    But it’s very possible I’m just not seeing the way it could work quite well, hence the asking.

    Thanks for writing, as always. Hope the hate has died down a bit at least.

    • Tarzie says:

      My point is that what the NSA does, as opposed to what the DEA, FBI and CIA do, is less two-tiered than elites might want, and that this discussion may have something to do with anxiety about that, and seeing if it might be resolved.

      I think the discussion is being confined to the NSA in part because it sweeps everything and everyone into the net.

    • Tarzie says:

      I have another post coming up that touches a little on this and I don’t want to give too much of it away. Trust that I am not assuming that anxiety on the part of elites will necessarily culminate in a solution they all find satisfactory. I am only recognizing the tension. Just as it’s a mistake to see elites as all alike, it’s also a mistake to assume they always know what they want in every detail and can always get it.

    • Ronald Perry says:

      This is just musing here. I’m pretty sure that if they can dream of two-tier surveillance they can get it some sort of way whether that be in a few years, a decade or beyond. Once the really high elites get themselves off the NSA’s list they just won’t care. But that lingering “What if” paranoia of the slightly lower elites, say the .1% who’ll be skeptical of the .001% seems to me will always cause a tension. (Other elites as well to though) The non-Clinton/Obama/Rubin/Alexander/etc elites feel threatened and I am wondering just how much some lower elites would believe these big players when they tell them they wouldn’t be under watch.

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  37. Sandra says:

    This is excellent. Since last summer I have been trying to figure this Snowden thing out. It makes no sense to me. What has been disclosed thus far has been published for years; there has been no secret about the govt spying on our communications. My shock came at the extent, if it’s all true. I hold out some healthy sceptisism at this point. I can not help but wonder if he is a government asset. That may seem far fetched but how do you go into hiding yet end up getting awards, get visits from family, and conduct interviews and pen editorials while in exile? How special is that? How ironic is it that Russia has given him asylum? (I don’t have a media driven hate for Russia) Raising questions about this affair is precisely what no one is doing except this author and I for one say “Hooray” thank goodness someone else thinks like me albeit he, this blogger, is sharper that me, and I can see I have a lot I can learn here on this blog. As a wee in the morning hours reader, thank you!

  38. Pingback: Greenwald’s Fireworks Finale Postponed | The Rancid Honeytrap

  39. Pingback: The Celebrity Left Wars | The Rancid Honeytrap

  40. Pingback: Inept Empire | Stupidity Tries

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