[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.
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.