I truly promise to stop blogging about Greenwald when he stops writing my blog posts for me or when lefts, media critics and transparency advocates start holding him to the same standard to which they hold everyone else.
In this post here, I showed how Glenn kinda lied on Twitter when pressed about Pierre Omidyar’s involvement in the suspension of Wikileaks’ account by eBay-owned PayPal. I showed that, contrary to what Glenn had said, Omidyar had, in fact, effectively supported PayPal’s decision. But Glenn knows that the most convincing 1/4 truths are the ones you tell over and over again, as this recent exchange with Amy Goodman shows:
AMY GOODMAN: …Are you concerned about issues like—well, you know, he’s a founder of eBay. EBay cut off—eBay owns PayPal, which cut off support for WikiLeaks. What kind of discussions have you had around that, which certainly would be relevant to what you want to do and your deep concerns about control?
GLENN GREENWALD: …I asked him about that exact issue. And what he told me was that, at the time—and this is absolutely true—he was not the CEO of eBay, he was not involved in its management or PayPal, and that he actually disagreed with that decision. And a newspaper that he owned in Honolulu, that he created and helped out and at which he was working, editorialized against the government’s attacks on WikiLeaks’s funding.
Glenn’s background as a lawyer comes in handy, again and again, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s true Omidyar was not CEO of eBay. He was simply its chair, which, as we know, is a position of absolutely no influence, the way 123rd richest person in the world is a position of no influence. And yes it’s also true that the editorial board of Omidyar’s little Hawaiian paper wrung their hands a bit over government interference. But in the same editorial, Omidyar’s board also unequivocally endorsed PayPal’s decision to comply with government interference, even without a court order to do so:
The executives [of Paypal etc] have a fiduciary duty to do what’s best for their shareholders. And if they didn’t respond to government warnings, they very well could risk their own business being shut down.
So if, as Glenn expects us to, we are to give Omidyar credit for his editorial board’s handwringing over government interference, then we must also credit him with his editorial board’s endorsement of PayPal’s decision to acquiesce. Which means that, in the absence of some record of Omidyar contradicting both PayPal and his own editorial board in some way suggestive of asserting genuine influence, Glenn is telling Amy Goodman the truth to the same extent that Omidyar meaningfully opposed PayPal’s decision to capitulate to the government.
Good ‘ol Goodman helpfully didn’t inconvenience Greenwald with an easily-researched follow-up and in that generous spirit allotted him free reign to offer up all kinds of risible lusciousness for the rubes, like this gem:
[Omidyar] would not start a new business in order to make money. He would only start a new business for some goal, some civic-minded goal.
Yeah, that’s the great thing about the toxic inequality that everyone is suddenly so enamored of. It leaves billionaires free to pursue civic-minded goals, as they so often do. Where would we be without them? Perhaps we can persuade Jamie Dimon to pursue some civic-minded goals with Matt Taibbi.
Poor Glenn. I bet Pierre hasn’t even briefed him on the Booz Allen connections yet, but no doubt he’s up for whatever may come. His rabid fans believe anything — and woe to the blogger who doesn’t — which is what makes him so very useful.
I am extremely pleased that Alexa O’Brien, an independent journalist who distinguished herself with excellent, thorough reporting on Chelsea Manning, has not gone the way of so many of her colleagues, who have put their brains on vacation while Glenn and Pierre fill the roster of their new venture. Instead she has taken up the matter of Glenn, Pierre and the PayPal Wikileaks blockade in a very thorough and thoughtful manner that puts the orgy of unprincipled sycophants in our midst right now to shame.
Uh oh. Another one bites the dust. Arthur Silber recants.
Arthur Silber has a very good post about the Greenwald/Omidyar exemption from critiques of the rich and powerful that Greenwald and fans would never grant anyone else. Arthur quotes Glenn from a recent interview saying this:
“I came to believe if you’re smart, skilled, and have the resources, you should use those things to fuck with the powerful.”
As we have recently been instructed, there is no better way to ‘fuck with the powerful’ than to forge quarter billion dollar business partnerships with them. But it was not always so for Glenn. Here he is ‘fucking with the powerful’ in 2005, when he was 38, in two posts which I submit for entertainment purposes only, because he’s just totally different now:
Mr. Bunny in comments concisely makes an excellent point about what bullshit the shareholder argument for endorsing the PayPal decision is.