Blame “Everybody But Themselves” for Collapse of Their Party

Glenn Greenwald talking:

I’ve done some, you know, pretty controversial and polarizing reporting in the past decade when I’ve been writing about politics. And when you do that, you obviously get attacked in lots of different ways. It’s not just me; it’s everybody who engages. It’s just sort of the rough and tumble of politics and journalism. But I really haven’t experienced anything even remotely like the smear campaign that has been launched by Democrats in this really coordinated way ever since I began just expressing skepticism about the prevailing narrative over Russia and its role that it allegedly played in the election and, in particular, in helping to defeat Hillary Clinton. I mean, not even the reporting I did based on the Edward Snowden archive, which was extremely controversial in multiple countries around the world, not even that compared to the attacks now.

And the reason is very, very obvious, which is that it has become exceptionally important to Democratic partisans to believe that the reason they lost this election is not because they chose a candidate who was corrupt and who was extremely disliked and who symbolized all of the worst failings of the Democratic Party. It’s extremely important to them not to face what is really a systemic collapse on the part of the Democratic Party as a political force in the United States, in the House, in the Senate, in state houses and governorships all over the country. And so, in order not to face any of that and have to confront their own failings, they instead want to focus everything on Vladimir Putin and Russia and insist that the reason they lost was because this big, bad dictator interfered in the election. And anyone who challenges or anyone who questions that instantly becomes not just their enemy, but now, according to their framework, someone who’s actually unpatriotic, that if you question the evidence, the sufficiency of the evidence to support this theory, that somehow your loyalties are suspect, that you’re not just a critic of the Democratic Party, you’re actually a stooge of or an agent of the Kremlin.

And obviously we’ve seen this rhetoric for decades during the Cold War, although back then it was the far right using it against Democrats for wanting to have better relations with Russia. We saw it in 2002, when people who questioned the sufficiency of the evidence about Saddam’s WMDs were accused of being apologists for Saddam or agents of Iraq. We’ve seen it repeatedly through the war on terror. Whenever anyone questions the policies of the U.S. government, you get accused of being pro-terrorist or on the side of al-Qaeda. These are the kinds of bullying smear tactics that have become very common.

But because Democrats are so desperate to put the blame on everybody but themselves for the complete collapse of their party, they’re particularly furious at anybody who vocally challenges this narrative. And since I’ve been one of the people most vocally doing so, the smear campaign has been like none that I have ever encountered. I have been accused of being a member of the alt-right, of being an admirer of Breitbart, of being supportive of Donald Trump, of helping him get elected and, of course, of being a Kremlin operative. And it’s just this constant flow, not from fringe accounts online, but from the Democratic operatives and pundits with the greatest influence. In fact, Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, went on Twitter three weeks ago and said, “I think it would be really interesting to find out whether The Intercept is receiving money from Russia or Iran”—something that he obviously has zero evidence or basis for suggesting, but this is what the Democratic Party has become.

That Breitbart has had a huge impact on American politics is something that no honest person could possibly dispute. Their traffic alone has quadrupled, or even more, just in the past six to nine months. They became the go-to place for the part of the Republican Party that ended up dominant, that ended up electing—nominating and then electing a candidate who the entire political establishment thought had no chance of ever winning. They gave voice to a huge part of the Republican Party that had been completely and systematically excluded from all of the Republican mainstream venues, like National Review and Weekly Standard. The impact that they have had is immense. And to deny that is just delusional.

But even worse is to suggest that acknowledging the impact that they have somehow makes you an admirer of them. In that very same interview, I told them directly to their face that the content that they’re producing is repellent. That was the word I used. I said that I have all kinds of terrible things to say about Breitbart reporters and about Breitbart’s content. All of the work I’ve done over the past decade—the sort of primary issue on which I’ve worked has been a defense of the civil liberties of Muslims—is completely antithetical to everything that Breitbart believes in. So, to take a comment that I made which is observably and undeniably true, which is that the impact that they’ve had on the political process is extraordinary and impressive, and convert that into me saying that I somehow like Breitbart or am a sympathizer with Breitbart or an admirer or supporter of Breitbart is just dishonesty in the extreme. And it’s obvious for anybody minimally literate that that’s the case.
____

Glenn Greenwald
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept.

— source democracynow.org

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