Patterico's Pontifications


A Response To My Good Friend Glenn Greenwald

Filed under: General — Justin Levine @ 6:25 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

As Patterico notes, Glenn Greenwald gets it wrong all over the place. I’ll lay out the facts and let everyone decide for themselves about me (and by extension in this instance, the controversy over “The Path To 9/11” – though it’s funny how Mr. Greenwald doesn’t seem to make a distinction between the two).

First let’s review the facts that Greenwald gets correct:

Yes – Nearly 10 years ago, I did work as a legal intern, and then paid employee, for the Individual Rights Association, which is associated with David Horowitz’s Center For The Study Of Popular Culture. We did some great work in defense of the First Amendment that I am proud of. I would have thought that Mr. Greenwald would appreciate that since he too has been a First Amendment litigator – but maybe he takes a limited view of that freedom after all.

Since working for the Individual Rights Foundation, I have held jobs with Playboy and Paramount among others. It’s fair to say that these entities did not have a right-wing agenda.

During my time with the Individual Rights Foundation, we were defending Matt Drudge in the defamation lawsuit brought by Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal.

And yes, I also screened the Matt Drudge radio show for a few years. I know that partisan liberals will never forgive him for breaking the Monica Lewinsky story, but I hardly think of Drudge as some conservative party hack. He will go wherever the stink is – a philosophy which I embrace.

I’ll admit to voting Republican more often that not. But I don’t think of myself as partisan. I gleefully slam people and institutions like Bill O’Reilly, Big Corporate Culture, Fox News and Lynne Cheney when I feel they are wrong. People who know me also know that I have slammed Hugh Hewitt as coming across as a partisan political hack at times. And you know what? Just like you, I have previously mocked Hewitt’s claims for having an audience “in the millions.”

Here is where Greenwald is even more mistaken:

The screening copy of “The Path To 9/11” was not sent to me. It was sent to “The Bill Handel Show.” As I’ve indicated before, I am one of 3 producers on that show, and don’t claim to have any special influence in the media beyond collaboratively consulting with Bill Handel and the other producers as to what we should be discussing on any given day. Disney/ABC probably don’t even know I exist. They certainly don’t know my background with the Individual Rights Foundation or Drudge. When the screening copy of the film first came in, it sat on the work desk for a bit along with all of the other books and videos that the show gets media copies of. Again, it wasn’t sent to me – it was sent to Bill Handel (presumably because he is the highest-rated morning host in the second-largest radio market in the country).

Nobody connected with the show (including Handel himself) had any immediate interest in seeing the film when it was first sent to us. Then, as it so happened, I heard KFI host John Ziegler praise the film, so I borrowed the screener copy that had been sent to Handel’s show, and watched it myself. At that point, I wrote my review and recommended to the other Handel producers that Bill Handel should see this thing, since I believed it would likely become a big news topic (which I was right about).

My own review of the film is my own opinion and naturally does not reflect the opinion of Bill Handel or anyone else. Because I was apparently one of the first people to post a review of the entire film (as opposed to just Part 1 which others in Washington had seen), it happened to get some notice in the blogosphere. But again, I don’t have any huge influence in the media, and I’m confident that ABC/Disney has never heard of me. I’m just a free-wheelin’ fun-lovin’ guy who happens to like his job in radio at the moment. So lighten up Glenn, ok?

As for Bill Handel – he wasn’t sent the advance screening copy of the film because he is some right-wing wacko. He was sent it because he has the highest-rated morning talk show in Southern California, on the single most listened-to talk radio station in America.

For the record, Bill Handel supports gay rights (including marriage), thought people were nuts for wanting to keep Terri Schiavo on life support, and supports socialized medicine among other things. Everyone who listens to him knows that Handel is not a “conservative” radio host (unless simply believing in the death penalty and criticizing illegal immigration makes you “conservative” regardless of your other opinions). Still don’t believe me? Judge for yourself. Visit, and listen to his show through the streaming link. Politics isn’t the main focus of the show to begin with – news and entertainment is.

As to the “stalker” comment – that’s a good one Glenn. What happened was that I was in a relationship with a co-worker at the building where the Drudge show is syndicated from (along with other radio shows that this co-worker was involved with). I broke off the relationship with her, and things regretfully turned ugly between us because we were sharing some of the same working space together. Being forced into the same working space with someone after you break up with them is hardly “stalking.” But the tension became so great that management was forced to split us apart. Given the requirements of the work there – one of us had to go since you can’t work on a live radio show from a different work space from where the show operates from. In the end, I was the one who was asked to step aside. Why? Probably because I’m the guy and she’s the girl, plus the fact that she was a more valued employee due to the fact that she was needed to work more hours in the building than me (I was also one of the highest paid screeners in the building, and I suspect that management didn’t mind getting rid of me in order so that they could pay my replacement less money. But that part is admittedly just speculation at this point). It was a regrettable incident, but there was no “stalking” involved and I have nothing to apologize for.

But hey, everyone who knows me knows that my life is an open book. If you feel that the best way to debate “The Path To 9/11” is to falsely slap a “stalker” label on me, go right ahead. It’s not going to affect my life in any way, dude. I’ve been involved with enough libel defense cases to know that trash-talkin’ is just part of the game. I get it. And with the advent of the blogosphere, more and more people get it too, since they have now managed to join a truly public debate and get sucked into the same dynamic. [Hey Glenn, feel free to use the previous “trash-talkin” link to slap the “misogynist” label on me too. It’ll be a hoot, and will no doubt boost your own credibility while diminishing my own.]

People who want to know the truth about something and engage the debate will do so. Others will find some false red-herring to fixate on in order to avoid the real debate. It also won’t stop me joining ranks with you in the future if you happen to find yourself on the correct side of First Amendment thought as a matter of principle instead of using it as a one-sided tool used to bludgeon political enemies with.

So, onward with the debate (for those who are genuinely interested…)

[posted by Justin Levine]

Greenwald Makes Wild and Untrue Allegations About “Path to 9/11”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:57 pm

[UPDATE: Because this post has grown long, let me sum it up in a paragraph. In essence, my guest blogger Justin Levine saw “The Path to 9/11” because he is the producer for a highly-rated talk-radio show, and the video was sent to his show. Although that makes perfect sense, Glenn Greenwald says that’s wrong; he believes Disney and ABC sent it to Justin personally, because he is (according to Greenwald) a rabid right-winger who has worked for David Horowitz and Matt Drudge. Justin’s true explanation makes sense; Greenwald’s is a wild conspiracy theory — laced with nasty personal attacks on Justin. Read on for the details.]

[IMPORTANT UPDATE: Justin Levine answers Greenwald’s wild conspiracy theories (and Greenwald’s personal attacks on Justin’s character) here. Read it all and judge for yourself whether Justin’s sensible explanation makes more sense than Greenwald’s nutty flight of fancy.]

Immediately below, I take Glenn Greenwald to task for his numerous misstatements about Justin Levine, and the reasons that he was able to receive an advance screening of “The Path to 9/11.” Now, in a second update to his post, Greenwald has come completely unhinged, theorizing that Disney specifically directed the advance screener of “Path to 9/11” to Justin Levine personally, because of his nefarious conservative background:

This interview with Justin Levine (h/t HM) tells you all you need to know about why he received a Path to 9/11 screener. His prior jobs: serving as an intern for David Horowitz, working on behalf of Matt Drudge in Sydney Blumenthal’s libel lawsuit against Drudge, and then, after that, working as a screener for Drudge’s radio show.

. . . .

Levine is obviously the exact person whom Disney would want screening Path to 9/11 — a former colleague of David Horowitz and employee of Matt Drudge who now works for a highly “conservative” radio station.

According to Greenwald, Disney had Justin specifically in mind due to his notorious conservative credentials:

Levine also says in the interview that he is “one of three producers on the Bill Handel morning show on KFI,” and that duties include “dealing with fan mail and hate mail.” Does that really sound like the kind of person with towering influence which Disney, in normal circumstances, would want to ensure has a screener? Isn’t it infinitely more likely that it was his connections to Horowitz and Drudge, and the reliable ideological leanings those connections reflect, which caused a video to end up in his hands, ensuring that the quite predictable praise would thereafter gush forth?

“Man of substance” Greenwald also takes a personal swipe at Justin, which I won’t repeat.

Justin is away from the computer right now, but I just phoned him, and he assured me that Greenwald’s theory is utter nonsense. Here, in a nutshell, is what really happened — and it makes a lot more sense than Greenwald’s paranoid rantings:

As you would expect, radio personalities get all sorts of DVDs, books, and CDs in the mail from people hawking their wares. Justin heard John Ziegler talking about the movie on KFI, and asked to borrow the copy that had been sent to “The Bill Handel Show.” (By the way, while I don’t listen to Handel regularly, my impression of him is that he is hardly a doctrinaire conservative, but rather a man of eclectic and very strong opinions. Justin agreed with me about this.) Justin wasn’t sure whether Handel was going to talk about the movie, but lobbied Handel to talk about it once he’d seen it. (Wait . . . I hear Greenwald saying: THUS BRINGING DISNEY’S EVIL PLAN TO FULL FRUITION!!!)

So no, the U.S. Government didn’t blow up the Twin Towers, JFK was not killed by a conspiracy of thousands of government workers, and the Walt Disney Company did not direct that an advance copy of “The Path to 9/11” be sent directly to wild-eyed conservative nutcase Justin Levine.

Good. Freakin’. Lord.

Since Greenwald and other lefties have made such a huge deal out of the astounding fact that a radio producer has seen an advance copy of a TV movie, I have asked Justin to do a post about this. He says he can do so very soon.

UPDATE: Greenwald has an “UPDATE V” to his post, in which he blames his paranoid ravings on me. In order to do so, he has to distort what I said yet again:

One minute, Patterico says that it’s so obvious that Levine got the film because he’s a producer of a highly important (conservative) radio show, so of course Disney would get him a copy. The next minute, he calls it “paranoid rantings” and “wild and untrue” to suggest — based on Patterico’s own post — that Disney gave Levine a screening.

Greenwald thus claims that I said Disney sent the video directly to Justin personally, as opposed to what really happened: the video was sent to the Bill Handel Radio Show, which Justin produces. But Greenwald’s claim is not true. Here’s what I actually said:

Justin received his advance screening, not because the publicists knew he would be writing guest posts on an “obscure” blog with a “tiny” audience — but because he produces the highest-rated morning talk radio show in Los Angeles.

Since the publicists have obviously been trying to generate buzz by promoting the movie on talk radio, it’s natural that Justin would get an advance screening.

That is completely consistent with what Justin told me earlier today: Justin’s radio show received a copy of the video addressed to “The Bill Handel Show,” and Justin was able to borrow it because he is Handel’s producer.

Neither Justin nor I ever said that the video came special delivery in an envelope bearing the words: “Justin Levine, Member, Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.” What we said was that he obtained the video by virtue of his position as a producer of the Bill Handel show at KFI — not because he is a guest blogger on my blog, as Greenwald initially (and incorrectly) suggested. That is what Justin has consistently told me, and I believe it to be true. Greenwald is distorting what I said because he wants to try to paint Justin and myself as liars and zealots.

Greenwald’s sycophants will buy off on this. Sensible people won’t.

This, incidentally, is exactly why I have rarely tried to debate with Greenwald on matters of substance. Wiser men than I have said that you don’t debate with someone who can’t accurately quote back your argument to you. I have never — not once — been in a debate with Greenwald where he has fairly represented my position. If he can’t do that, he’s not worth engaging on the issues.

UPDATE x2: Again, don’t miss Justin’s response to Greenwald. It is excellent.

UPDATE x3: Since Greenwald’s sycophants don’t understand his misdirection, let me make it clear: I don’t accuse him of paranoia because he claimed that Justin was personally sent the video. I accuse him of paranoia for the reason he thinks Justin had access to the film. Common sense says Justin had access to the film because he produces a highly popular radio show. Crackpot paranoia says he had access to the film because he used to work for David Horowitz and Matt Drudge. That’s the point, folks.

UPDATE x4: In addition to falsely claiming that Justin is a “stalker” (a disgusting comment, but par for the course from this Man of Substance), Greenwald is remarkably silent about the incredible free speech abuses by Democrats that we’ve seen in recent days. Those who actually think Greenwald is serious about supporting the First Amendment are probably shocked.

I’m not.

UPDATE x5: Greenwald has finally mentioned the threats, and guess what? You’ll never believe it — this “real conservative” minimizes the Democrats’ threats and constructs a “you too” argument — pointing to past Republican efforts that he says are similar. Greenwald fails to point out that the current Democratic threats specifically mention ABC’s broadcast license and the fact that it is provided by the government, whereas the Republican letters don’t. Nevertheless, he goes on at length about how dire the letter from a single Republican Congressman is. And the current mafia-style Democrat threats, signed by numerous Senators including the minority leader? Why, it’s not clear they’re threats at all!

What a partisan hack.

UPDATE x6: I e-mailed Glenn Reynolds and John Hinderaker to ask them if they received advance copies. Both said “no.” I’m beginning to think this lefty idea that the publicists targeted only conservatives is a myth.

UPDATE x7: Charles Johnson didn’t get one either.

Clint Taylor on Fox News Channel (Again)

Filed under: General,International,Terrorism — Patterico @ 1:15 pm

Clint Taylor was on “Fox and Friends” this morning discussing the Hezbollah – Latin America connection that he had previously discussed on Hot Air. I TiVoed it, but Hot Air has the video here.

Very nice job, Clint.

Greenwald Propagates the Myth that “Path to 9/11” Publicists Gave Advance Screenings to Obscure Right-Wing Blogs Like This One

Filed under: Buffoons,General,Politics — Patterico @ 1:06 pm

Glenn Greenwald is spreading disinformation about “The Path to 9/11.” In this post, he endorses the myth — previously propagated by Think Progress and FireDogLake, and previously debunked by me — that the producers of “The Path to 9/11” are so desperate to push the film to conservatives that they even provided an advance screening to obscure conservative blogs with tiny audiences, like mine:

Think Progress has documented that bloggers with — to use Hewitt’s sneering description — “tiny” audiences received screeners, but they were individuals who were certain to ooze with praise for the film. And ooze with praise is exactly what they did (emphasis added).

The link is to Justin Levine’s praise for the film on this blog, which Greenwald then quotes, and terms “drooling, mindless praise.”

As when Think Progress noted that this blog is “obscure,” Greenwald argues that my blog has a “tiny” audience. Why are Think Progress and Greenwald so obsessed with the admittedly relatively small audience of my blog? The clear implication is that the publicists for “The Path to 9/11” are so desperate to reach out to conservatives that they are giving advance screenings to the most “obscure” blogs with “tiny” audiences, like this one.

This is either disingenuous bilge, or lack of familiarity with the facts. I have already explained, and Justin has confirmed, that Justin received his advance screening, not because the publicists knew he would be writing guest posts on an “obscure” blog with a “tiny” audience — but because he produces the highest-rated morning talk radio show in Los Angeles.

Since the publicists have obviously been trying to generate buzz by promoting the movie on talk radio, it’s natural that Justin would get an advance screening. Any connection between this blog and an advance “Path to 9/11” screening is only a coincidence — something I have already made quite clear.

No matter. For the above-mentioned lefty bloggers, the power of the myth is far stronger than the power of the facts.

UPDATE: I see LoafingOaf is over there banging his head against the wall in the comments seeking a correction — or even someone who cares about the facts. So far, he is (predictably) sorely disappointed.

UPDATE x2: Greenwald issues an update which notes this post, and tries to cast doubt on my assertions by making snide comments, slippery assertions, and by mangling the facts:


McCain/Feingold Incumbent Protection Period Has Started

Filed under: Civil Liberties,General — Patterico @ 11:19 am

The other day, Captain Ed commented on the beginning of the unconstitutional McCain/Feingold 60-day moment of silence concerning any defects in our glorious incumbents in elective office. Ed cited this editorial:

Something almost without precedent in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold — aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day. Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the elections themselves.

Ed added:

Be thankful I can even mention this. It took an FEC action to exempt me and my fellow bloggers from this ban, which does not apply to media outlets. Otherwise, I would have to refrain from telling readers that John McCain, Russ Feingold, Christopher Shays, Marty Meehan, and every politician who voted for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act had passed the worst restriction on free speech since the Sedition Act during World War I. And let’s not forget that George Bush signed the legislation into law and that the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of restricting political speech to protect incumbents.

Aw, c’mon, Ed. You can’t really be serious. Do you actually mean to tell me that you would refuse to mention candidates’ names within 60 days of an election? And so you’re grateful for the media exemption our government overlords have (perhaps temporarily) granted us?

To hell with that.

If I want to denounce John McCain on this blog, I will damn well do so — 60 days before an election or not, media exemption or not . . . McCain/Feingold or not.

To prevent me and other bloggers from doing so would be a travesty of historic proportions.

That is why I have repeatedly opposed a media exemption for bloggers, describing such an exemption as “nothing more than asking our masters for permission to speak.” And I have created a Free Speech Pledge that numerous bloggers have signed. Feel free to sign on; the more the merrier.

As Far As Phil Knows, Patterico Is a Hypocrite

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:41 am

Phil, a commenter, former journalist, and current liberal, says in a comment to my post about Howard Dean’s thuggish threat to ABC’s broadcast license:

On one hand, I agree that the very idea of censorship is anti-democratic.

On the other hand, I have to laugh at anyone who claims that Dean’s antics, or the yammering of any of the individuals speaking out against this film are a “democrat” phenominon. This is politics as usual in America.

Just look at the reaction to F/911, the successful effort to get CBS to quash “The Reagans,” and the current efforts to make the FBI the nation’s morality police by bringing obscenity prosecutions against porn producers. All the efforts of factions of the Republican party to control speech. As far as I know, none have been met with outrage on this blog.

(My emphasis.)

Phil’s “as far as I know” formulation is another way of saying: “I have no idea whether this is true, but I really want to suggest that it is.”

Let’s look at his examples.


Democrat Thuggery: It’s No Accident

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:14 am

Hot Air notes another Democrat mafia-style implied threat to ABC’s broadcast license — this time from Howard Dean:

“It’s deeply disappointing that ABC would put something on the air that has been proven to have factual inaccuracies about one of the most important events in our nation’s history. ABC should not air this distortion of history.

“The fact that the writer/producer of the piece is a well known conservative raises additional concerns and questions. The American people deserve to know who funded this $40 million dollar slanderous propaganda. Use of the public airwaves is a privilege conferred upon broadcasters in the public interest. It comes with a responsibility to the American people and a responsibility to the truth.”

Howard Dean, Thug.

The Death of Free Speech in America — Continued . . .

Filed under: Civil Liberties,General — Patterico @ 6:38 am

Some judges don’t think that First Amendment principles governing prior restraint apply to bloggers.

If Nothing Else, We Could Photoshop O.J. with Impunity . . .

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 6:35 am

Fred Goldman is taking legal action to gain control of O.J. Simpson’s right of publicity. I have no idea whether there is any legal merit to his action, but it sure would be nice to see O.J. punished in some small way for butchering two people. His lawyer, Yale Galanter, says that O.J. has no money. But Galanter is the same guy who said, after O.J. Simpson was ticketed for driving a boat in a protected manatee zone, “This guy just can’t catch a break.”

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