On Thursday of this week, Glenn Greenwald appeared on MSNBC to discuss Edward Snowden. Partway through the interview, host Kristen Welker asked Greenwald a question using the lifeblood phrase of cable news provocation: “critics say.” She wanted to know what Greenwald thought about accusations that he was a mouthpiece for Snowden. The answer came crashing out of the blue in a moment of schadenfreude awesome.
“I think that’s ludicrous is what I say to that. Every journalist has an agenda. We’re on MSNBC now where close to 24 hours a day the agenda of President Obama and the Democratic Party are promoted, defended, glorified. The agenda of the Republican Party is undermined.”
Bonus quote: “Not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day” says Welker. Hey I don’t always beat my wife. Guy’s gotta eat.
File this one under “eating their own.” Earlier this year, Erick described Greenwald as someone who is “deeply hostile to the United States and routinely sides with every bad actor on the planet when their interests conflict with the United States.” And Neil Stevens has covered Greenwald as pertains to Snowden more times than can be reasonably linked here. So suffice it to say, this isn’t like having Rush Limbaugh criticize MSNBC.
After the above devastating quote, Greenwald goes on to say that every journalist, essentially, has a bias, but that what matters in the end is accuracy and verifiability. These are important to be sure, and it is certainly true that a partisan can be factual (or else what are we doing here?), and that a person with a political point of view can be a journalist, but what Greenwald hints at but never manages to state is that at MSNBC, the line between having a point of view and becoming an unquestioning cheerleader has long since been crossed.
A journalist’s first duty ought to be to the truth. At MSNBC, on both the opinion shows and the straight news, truth is in the backseat and knee-jerk blind allegiance and religious devotion are driving the car wearing “si se puede” shirts with Will.I.Am pumping at full volume. They haven’t simply crossed the line, they’ve crossed it, set it on fire, buried it in a shallow grave, swallowed the directions back to it, and left no witnesses. They wouldn’t recognize the line if it came up to them wearing a nametag and carrying a copy of the yearbook. Did I say they crossed the line? I meant traveled back in time and killed the line’s parents so it would never be born. I’m saying, they’re pretty darn far beyond simply having an agenda.
But Greenwald got them pretty good too, though. Broken clocks and all that.