14 Jul 2009 Glenn Greenwald and the QandO Debate
Supposedly, Greenwald’s post entitled “Prominent right-wing blogger today calls for the murder of Supreme Court Justices – the Right fails to condemn it,” was, in Jon’s words, “not a serious suggestion that the Right has an obligation to denounce any incidence of that kind of rhetoric; it was a response to the recent suggestion from some Right wing bloggers that the Left had been remiss in not denouncing an obscure blogger for obscene rhetoric.”
I guess he’s saying that Greenwald was being sarcastic the entire time, and readers were supposed to be able to tell. Otherwise, the “right fails to condemn it” would seem like a complaint about, well, a lack of condemnation from the right.
I re-read the original Greenwald post a few times, and (regardless of what Greenwald says now) the overwhelming message I still take from it is that Greenwald would like right-wing bloggers to condemn, for lack of a better term, inappropriate suggestions/language by other right-wing bloggers more often than is currently done.
Greenwald’s original post ends with these two paragraphs:
…Nobody needs to wade through the depths of comment sections to find this rhetoric on the Right, nor does anyone need to seize on totally obscure individuals and — a la Ward Churchill or Deb Frisch — absurdly try to transform them into some sort of political leader in order to impose responsibility for their moronic statements on people who never even heard of them before. One need only peruse the routine hate-mongering of the Right’s opinion leaders and their prominent bloggers — the Malkins and the Mishas and the David Horowitzs and the Ann Coulters — and one will find more hateful and deranged rhetoric than one can stomach. And it is almost never condemned, including by those who self-righteously parade themselves around as Defenders of Civility and have the audacity to demand that others condemn such rhetoric when it comes from far less significant and influential corners.Based on the grieving rituals we had to endure this weekend over Jeff Goldstein’s sensibilities, I presume it’s fair to infer that the silence from right-wing bloggers over Misha’s calls for the deaths of journalists and Supreme Court Justices means — as one of the most-cited sermons put it — that “one might be tempted to think that this absolute lack of condemnation was a tacit acceptance of these tactics.” One might be particularly tempted to think that given that such rhetoric flows not merely from obscure commenters on right-wing blogs, but also from the Right’s leading bloggers and pundits, with virtually no condemnation of any kind.
There is, somewhat unbelievably, a very long debate involving many people over at the QandO blog between Glenn Greenwald, McQ and others over the meaning of Greenwald’s original post. I won’t recap it, since folks can read it themselves. I will, however, say three brief things:
1) If a long debate breaks out between multiple people about what a post means, it probably was not written clearly. This, if true, is not a big deal. We’re talking about blog posts here, not Shakespearean plays.
3) Even if Glenn Greenwald had never been born, I would still, as I noted here, condemn, retroactively and in advance, all calls for the murder of, or death wishes expressed against, persons other than officially declared mortal enemies of the United States of America. Where’s the harm in that?