A suicide bomber apparently tried to kill Dick Cheney, and many commenters at the Huffington Post lamented his lack of success. The offending comments have been removed from the post in question, but you can read some of them here. Some examples include:
If at first you don’t succeed . . .
Better luck next time!
Dr. Evil escapes again . . . damn.
Glenn Greenwald is irate that conservative bloggers dared to take notice. Greenwald (also known as Thomas Ellers and Rick Ellensburg, among others) complains bitterly that conservative bloggers
went digging deep into the comment sections of various liberal blogs, found inappropriate and hateful comments, and then began insisting that these isolated comments proved something.
To the contrary, Greenwald insists, anonymous comments by hateful leftists prove nothing about the left generally. Nothing!
[T]he ideas and comments expressed by anonymous commenters at blogs prove nothing other than what those individuals think — particularly in the absence of an attempt to show that the commenters are representative of the blog itself. Is that really that difficult a concept to comprehend? To know what the views are of a particular blogger or “bloggers” generally, one can read those bloggers’ words.
But stray, anonymous comments prove nothing. And those who rely on them to make an argument — especially without bothering to make any effort to prove that they are reflective of anything — should be presumed to have no argument at all. That is why they are relying upon such transparently flimsy and misleading methods to make a point.
If your mouth is agape at the shameless hypocrisy of this, then you must be familiar with Greenwald.
These comments are staggeringly hypocritical, viewed in the light of Greenwald’s extensive history of spotlighting anonymous comments at conservative blogs to reach broad-brush conclusions about the entire conservative movement. Greenwald is a prime practitioner of this “transparently flimsy and misleading method” of tarring the other side. And, in marked contrast to Greenwald’s tender concern today for whether ugly leftist comments “are representative of the blog itself,” Greenwald is famous in conservative circles for highlighting extreme comments on conservative blogs — comments that in no way represent the views of the posts to which they are responding, or of the bloggers generally.
Here is an excellent example, in which Greenwald obsesses over comments made at Jeff Goldstein’s site, appended to a post Jeff wrote about New York Times photographer Joao Silva, who had taken a picture “showing an al-Sadr army sniper in the act of firing on US troops.” Jeff did not call for violence on the photographer. Rather, he simply responded to a claim by a Times assistant managing editor, who claimed that the photographer had shown “incredible courage” by photographing a sniper firing on our troops. Jeff’s sardonic response was not hateful — just common-sensical and (dare I say?) patriotic:
Well, far be it for me to question such self-congratulatory enthusiasm, but it seems to me that actual “incredible courage” would have entailed, say, Joao Silva getting word to US troops, or bumrushing the sniper and beating him unconscious with a heavy telephoto lens.
This is hardly an incitement to violence. It’s a funny, trenchant observation on a clueless comment made by a member of our loony-left media. Yet Greenwald felt obligated to act as though Jeff had somehow incited some angry responses from his commenters, who expressed viewpoints far more extreme than anything Jeff had written in his post. Here’s an example of Greenwald at his most dishonest:
LGF then links to Jeff Goldstein, who — in a post entitled “Sleeping with the Enemy” — declares: “Looks like the NYT has decided to go with neutrality over objectivity—essentially severing ties with their own country in the service of what they believe is a higher journalistic good: Pulitzer Prizes.” He then thanks Michelle Malkin for the tip. Goldstein’s post is then predictably followed by comments such as this:
It is clear (as it has been) that the NYT’s has chosen their side. They should suffer the consequences thereof. I just hope they do.
Talk of treason is out of fashion for some reason, but I could see some photographer hanged without losing too much sleep over it.
As i said over at LGF, pity the reporter didn’t catch any return fire.
That’s just from the first few comments I looked at following Goldstein’s Treason Accusation of The Day against the NYT. Undoubtedly, there are scores more like them as his comment thread “evolves.”
These comments are not “representative of the blog itself” — but then, that’s a concept that matters to Greenwald only when discussing ugly comments from the left. Ugly comments from the right acquire talismanic importance, regardless of whether they are “representative” of the actual views of conservative bloggers.
Here is another example of Greenwald finding Great Significance in anonymous comments left at a conservative site:
Here’s another item to discuss in the next newspaper article about the “Angry Left”: members of the Little Green Footballs community last night celebrate the death by Israeli bombing of four UN peacekeepers (UPDATE – the proprieter [sic] of LGF is apparently (and understandably) embarrassed by the comments appearing on his site and has therefore re-directed the link I had to that page to another blog. He has not, however, removed the comments from his blog).
Greenwald cites some of the comments and says:
That was just from the first 100 comments (more here). Consider the mindest [sic] required to celebrate the death of U.N. peacekeepers.
Indeed. It’s reminiscent of the mindset required to celebrate the gory and violent death of four U.S. contractors by saying “Screw them,” as Markos Moulitsas Zuniga said in April 2004.
This example belies a recurring Greenwald theme: that hate speech on the right commonly emanates from prominent figures such as well-known bloggers, whereas (he claims) hate speech on the left can be found only in obscure places, such as anonymous comments like those at the Huffington Post today. Greenwald’s post today repeats this remarkably silly claim:
Finally, it is undeniably true that there are people of every ideological stripe who express profane and reprehensible sentiments. The difference is that right-wing authors, talk radio hosts and bloggers — read and listened to by millions of people — traffic in such sentiments regularly (as several commenters noted, Dave Neiwert’s superb series on the use of eliminationist rhetoric, starting here, has documented this as well as any other resource). But to find such sentiments outside of right-wing circles, one must go where right-wing bloggers went today — digging into anonymous blog comments (or e-mails allegedly received). That difference is so obvious — and so meaningful — that it all ought to go without saying.
Does Glenn Greenwald have absolutely no shame? Markos Moulitsas Zuniga is the largest force in the leftist blogosphere. He has been described by Newsweek as among “the upper echelons of [Democrat] party strategists.” He is also the same man who conducted a virtual dance over the mutilated bodies of American contractors, stating: “I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic].” Yet Greenwald ignores the example of Zuniga, instead returning again and again to the subject of hateful comments by anonymous commenters at conservative sites.
Greenwald has no evidence that the LGF comments regarding the deaths of the UN peacekeepers are “representative of the blog itself.” Greenwald cites no evidence that Charles Johnson shares the repugnant views of the commenters cited by Greenwald. Again, whether anonymous comments are meaningful to Greenwald depends entirely on whether the anonymous commenters in question are purportedly conservative or liberal. If they are facially conservative, the commenters are Poster Children for the conservative movement. If you are a conservative, they represent you. They represent me. They represent every conservative thinker in the country. The significance of such commenters cannot be overstated. But if the hateful commenters are liberals — why, then, they’re just isolated crackpots who can and should be ignored.
This man actually claims to find these views consistent. That’s how twisted he is.
I don’t have space to cite (and you probably don’t have patience to slog through) every example of Greenwald screeching about anonymous comments deposited on right-wing sites. But if you’re interested, you can find a few more examples here, here, and here.
Indeed, even today, Greenwald adds an update finding great meaning in anonymous hateful comments on conservative blogs. The update is to a post in which Greenwald complains that conservatives find meaning in anonymous hateful comments on a liberal blog. You’d think Greenwald’s head would simply explode spontaneously at the evident incongruity of this position. But Glenn Greenwald is not a man to let consistency interfere with rank partisanship. All we can do is chuckle and shake our heads at the obvious irony.
Jeff Goldstein nails it:
Mmmmm. Irony so sweet and thick that, were we to sprinkle it with shaved nuts and have a Greek handle it, would make for a fine baklava.
Yes, it is the absolute height of rank hypocrisy for Glenn Greenwald to lecture conservative bloggers on the evils of reading too much into anonymous comments from the other side.
But wait. I’m not through yet. What was that Greenwald said today about whether comments are “representative of the blog itself”?
He has a point there — right? I mean, it’s not like a Huffington Post blogger ever called for Dick Cheney to die . . . right?
I give thanks O Lord for Dick Cheney’s Heart, that brave organ which has done its darn-tootin’ best on four separate occasions to do what we can only dream about.
O Lord, give Dick Cheney’s Heart, Our Sacred Secret Weapon, the strength to try one more time! For greater love hath no heart than that it lay down its life to rid the planet of its Number One Human Tumor.
In comments to that post, Huffington Post commenters conducted a spirited debate as to whether they agreed with the Huffington Post blogger’s call for Vice-President Cheney to die of a heart attack. Many denounced the post as disgusting and tasteless. But several commenters agreed that the prayer for Cheney’s death was appropriate, like this one:
The author is spot on. Cheney is a tumor upon the human race. Don’t you think that people prayed that Hitler would die? Same difference.
I patiently await the cessation of the misused organ called Dick Cheney’s “heart” — an organ pushed and prodded to pump the blood (?) of a very evil man, a man responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocents, the theft of billions, and the breaking of the laws of this land. If he were not VP, he would likely be tried, convicted and executed.
When that beating organ finally succumbs, the earth will breathe a very big sigh of relief. I, personally, will throw a farewell party for this POS. And I pray the party comes soon.
By: PRevere on November 24, 2006 at 06:12am
and this one:
If Cheney were to die in the next couple months, an unnecessary, illegal and disastrously counterproductive military strike against Iran might be averted, and hundreds of lives might be saved as a result.
So if I were a religious person, I WOULD pray for Cheney’s death. In fact, if he dies in the next couple of months, I’ll reconsider my atheism.
By: WmC on November 24, 2006 at 08:30am
and this one:
Get Some Gonads,
So Much Outrage from left and right about the cheney heart prayer….So He’s Praying For Darth To Go Down Like A Holiday Turkey..
We All Know The World Will Be Better Off, Not That there aint some clown waiting in the wings to fill his bloody shoes…
It’s natural to pray death upon killers, that’s where capital punisment comes from.
Can You Imagine The Size Of The Worldwide Celebration When That Happens!!
By: redstdem on November 24, 2006 at 08:45am
and this one:
. . . .
For all those who respond and boo-hoo that this piece actually dares to call for the death of Dick Cheney I have this — fuck off. Dick Cheney is the spawn of Satan and is responsible for the deaths of more Americans than anyone since WW II.
Oh boo-hoo we can’t talk of putting him to death. Fine. This was a prayer asking for the hastening of Cheney’s demise and lifting his scourge from this earth. I have no problem with that.
. . . .
By: cynic on November 24, 2006 at 10:44am
That last commenter later added this:
. . . .
Now that there is a Democratic majority in both houses, there will be subpoenas of the White House and the entire Bush administration. The truth will out. The enormity of the deeds and policies of Bush/Cheney will become fully public. If you have any shred of humanity at that time you will join in my unbridled loathing of Cheney and Bush and will gleefully wish death to come upon them both.
. . . .
By: cynic on November 24, 2006 at 03:20pm
There was also this commenter:
A little harsh,but I agree with the sentiment . . .
By: postalernie on November 24, 2006 at 03:39pm
Yeah, I guess praying for the Vice President’s death qualifies as “a little harsh.” But who can disagree? Certainly not this commenter:
Reading the prior post to this fantastic article. I say this to those of you with your faux shock at Mr. Hendra’s prophetic and wholly accurate writings: perhaps if you had shown such shock and dismay at the evil acts of 43 and Cheney, we would not be in the debacle that we are in today. This author speaks the truth; nearly 3,000 American servicemen and women are DEAD because of the punk boy’s need for daddy’s attention AND Cheney’s unsatiable lust for profit. Period. So the next time you want to speak up, all of you who pretend to object to the wishful demise of the V.P., make your objections about 6 years earlier and many many lives will be saved. If not, shut up.
By: donnam on November 24, 2006 at 09:03pm
And a few commenters responded to the Huffington Post blogger’s prayer for the death of the Vice President with a simple: “Amen.”
These comments were directly responsive to the blog post itself. Indeed, these vile, disgusting comments did little more than to express simple agreement with the Huffington Post blogger’s fervent wish that our Vice President die.
Somehow, the hypocrite Glenn Greenwald didn’t get around to mentioning any of this today.
Neither did Rick Ellensburg or Thomas Ellers. But, you know, they tend to agree a lot with that Greenwald guy. Sometimes I think those guys are almost as flagrantly hypocritical as Greenwald himself.
Don’t even get me started on that Ellison guy.
UPDATE x2: Jeff Goldstein has been busting Greenwald lately . . . with style. Read more here.
UPDATE x3: Greenwald’s response to my criticism is simply to bold parts of his post — regarding the need for comments to be “reflective of the blog itself” — that I addressed at length in my post above.
In other words, he has no response at all.
In the post above, I show clearly that a Huffington Post blogger himself called for Cheney’s death. Thus, comments wishing for Cheney’s death were expressly reflecting similar sentiments previously expressed by a HuffPo blogger — sentiments which had elicited similar comments that were never deleted. Meanwhile, the comments criticized by Greenwald are in no way reflective of the sentiments of the conservative bloggers on whose sites they appeared.
For Greenwald to respond in this way, he must think his readers are really, really stupid — or that they are unaware of my actual arguments. Or both.