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MediaLens, usually good, fucks up embarrassingly

MediaLens (ML) often does good work, as does Cook, but this is bordering on ridiculous. Have a read before you read the following, or the following will make no sense. 

Even if you take all of Cook’s criticisms on board, and I do (and I bet Glenn Greenwald [GG] does, too), it literally doesn’t mean that GG is wrong that the Guardian often does good work and it would better if it didn’t collapse. It does and it would. Half the thing is clickbait identity-politics-mongering crap, too, which doesn’t get mentioned…but they also do good work. 


Is this shocking? The FT, the NYT, the WSJ—all of the non-Breitbart, non-Fox, etc, news orgs can and do do good work, in and among the crap. That’s all GG is saying, as far as I can tell.

ML is being purposely obtuse here: maybe they’d like to see the Guardian go down in flames, and surely The Canary, noted herein, which I recently wrote an article for and may happily do so again, might, too, in order to gain market share, but I don’t. GG has zero connection to the Guardian; not even really a competitor to it. The Canary is. Not a good look that ML doesn’t note this obvious fact. So much for the fair application of institutional analysis. GG, just as a matter of common sense, is less likely to have some interest in this than The Canary. Which of course isn’t responsible for this piece.

This is really just trolling: 

"At time of writing the tweet has received 57 retweets and 82 likes. Greenwald has been tweeting and must have seen some of these responses and yet has chosen not to reply. We would guess that he finds himself in a pickle: if he attempts to defend his false claim that the Guardian is 'solid and reliable', he will be shot down in flames for the reasons described above by Cook. And if he agrees with Cook's analysis, he risks alienating former colleagues and important allies on the paper. The conclusion, then, is that Greenwald is following so many Guardian and other 'mainstream' journalists before him in simply blanking reasonable, rational questions.

Worse, it’s using the framework Chomsky and Herman forged, as well as “rationality," to justify trolling and near-self-aggrandizement. We all know that GG could say, “Yeah, they often suck. And they also do good work. I’d frankly not like to see the institution collapse. What’s so hard to understand?” Which would literally just be a restatement of what they reproduce here. Which might be why he's not repeating himself. 

Yes, when a paper supports the Snowden revelations, to the point of being invaded by the British government to have some of their computers destroyed—when all know that was a Potemkin act—when a paper will take those kinds of risks for those kinds of stakes, like, just a few years ago, yeah, I don’t want to see it go under, either.

This is just childish, and also using Chomsky (or is it "Chomsky") as a stick to beat GG with: 

"Despite defending us against critics in the past, and despite the fact that we are writing from a similar political viewpoint inspired by Noam Chomsky, for whom he has expressed immense admiration, Greenwald has almost completely ignored our work. We cannot remember that he has ever retweeted our media alerts or retweeted any of our tweets (there may have been one or two exceptions). Our Twitter search 'from:ggreenwald "medialens"' suggests very little interest or interaction from his side. We saw no point in sending him a review copy of our new book, 'Propaganda Blitz', about which Chomsky has said: 'Great book. I have been recommending it.' (Email to Media Lens, November 22, 2018) We, on the other hand, have cited, praised and tweeted Greenwald's work many times.

"One might certainly ask why Greenwald would bother with a two-man, tinpot operation? Who are we? But it does seem extraordinary to us that Greenwald comments so much on the UK press whilst apparently ignoring writers who are indisputably the most honest, important and popular critics of the UK press, and of the Guardian in particular."

Apparently, this is about citation whining. Does David Edward want a cookie and a pat on the head? Why bother when he’s complimenting himself nonstop. This is really silly—transparently silly—stuff. Egotistical, and too bad, too, because (wait for it!), yes, ML does great work, too. I’m sure their book is great. And they can also produce sophomoric, almost stereotypical lefties than thou garbage like this, while dressing it up as faux-befuddled, patronizingly sad Brave Chomskyan Defenders. Why bring Chomsky into it at all, including quoting his email? Why bring in Pilger? Why try to start a food fight? Seems almost sibling-rivalry-ish: “I’m telling Daddy AND Uncle on you, cuz I'm the bestest little offspwing!” Stand on your own two feet and make your case, for god’s sake. What’s next: Chomsky's a turncoat for supporting GG’s work?

There’s another hypothesis why GG doesn’t respond much (except of course when going out of his way to defend ML): perhaps no amount of attention and defense is enough for these two? Because there’s more than a whiff of, "kneel to us or you’re an apostate," in their tone?

Why would GG care, beyond what he wrote, about the Guardian’s opinion of him? I don’t see any evidence he cares about anyone’s opinion of him. How does it benefit GG to “play nice” in some dishonest fashion with the Guardian?

This is the tell (bolded): 

"The key point, for us, which has nothing to do with lefter-than-thou sniping, is that this indicates the extraordinary extent to which the best, supposedly 'centre-left' media are protected from rational criticism. Even a comparatively honest, Chomskyite journalist like Greenwald is either not willing or not able to tell the whole truth about a paper that has done enormous harm in supporting Blair (still now), attacking Corbyn, and in promoting Perpetual War with endless nonsense about 'our' supposed 'responsibility to protect' civilians in oil-rich countries like Iraq and Libya."

That’s exactly what it is, which is why David Edwards, the author here ("DE"), has to say it isn’t. The virulence of the response, when, mind you, GG himself is leading a charge against the Guardian’s idiocy (and Harding’s) in this regard, is also telling. Please—you’ll have to pick someone else if you want to paint your target as some kind of coward. GG is not afraid to take on Bolsanaro while living in Brazil—you think he cowers at the idea of criticizing the Guardian? I’m actually laughing right now.

And what is this use of Chomsky and his name as some marker of Truth? I don’t dig that, and I’m sure Chomsky wouldn't, either. Chomsky's honest and fearless, yes; but he's also not into cultifying, especially himself. Of course the point is to argue that GG is an apostate whereas they have the true faith.

Not that there is no point to be made here, but the personalization and trolling nature of this piece really ought to be beneath ML. And apparently isn’t.

Oh, well. They still do great work most of the time.

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