Leave Glenn Greenwald alone

So now the powers that be who don’t like Glenn Greenwald, and presumably don’t like Glenn’s reporting on NSA-leaker Edward Snowden, have decided to smear Glenn by leaking details of his past.  Details that aren’t in fact terribly leak-worthy.

For example…

Glenn was kind of a dicky lawyer…

Glenn owes some back taxes that he’s negotiating with the IRS over…

And Glenn, who is himself gay, once held an interest in a gay porn studio. (Sorry, but that last one simply makes him cool.)

Glenn details the charges in a new story over at the Guardian.

Could it have been the government leaking these things to try to make Glenn look bad?  Sure.  It also could have been liberals, or even conservatives, who are ticked at Glenn for [insert issue here] and want to hurt him for doing what Glenn does best, taking on the powers that be.

While it’s tempting to think it’s the government, don’t underestimate the venom that’s out there in both parties.  I get far more personal attacks – not disagreements, personal attacks – from fellow liberals than I ever do from conservatives, and most of what I write targets Republicans.  And while Glenn is loved by many, me included (even though I’m starting to really dislike his friend Edward),  he’s viscerally hated by some folks on both sides of aisle.

And we do live in an era when to disagree, to utter the words “I think you’re wrong,” is the equivalent of an act of war.  Every issue now has its own endless number of litmus tests, and if you aren’t quite 100% on the same page as everyone else – or if you enunciate your accordance with the wrong noun, verb, pronoun or adjective – you are evil, have always been evil, will always be evil, and simply must be destroyed.


Glenn Greenwald

People like to say that this is what goes with the territory of being a public figure, but I don’t quite buy that. While I suppose one should just expect that some people will be asses, the Internet does empower the mindless haters in both parties in a way that’s unprecedented and unfortunate for the very issues they espouse (if everything is racist, sexist, and homophobic, then nothing is), and for all of us.

Having said that, Glenn does seem to relish a fight, even (especially?) with the folks I refer to as Outrage Inc., so these latest revelations will probably roll off his back as they must with anyone who does great things (like my other sometimes embattled friend, and another gay civil liberties hero, Dan Savage).

Jessica Testa over at Buzzfeed has a new profile out about Glenn, and I have to admit I was a bit nervous clicking on the link.  After Buzzfeed though it wise to pen a piece, in the wee initial hours after the Supreme Court had struck down DOMA, about how thrilled polygamists were with the decision, I was leery about what they might do to Greenwald.  But in fact, it’s a wonderful piece.

Perhaps my favorite part of Testa’s profile of Glenn is something she didn’t even write.  It’s the transcript of some lawsuit Glenn was involved in (when he wasn’t litigating in court, Glenn was litigating against people who ticked him off).  Glenn was being deposed, and the commentary is priceless:

Greenwald [speaking to opposing counsel Andrew Bernstein after coming back from a recess]: Before we continue, I’d just like to note for the record that this is the third time that you’ve returned to the deposition significantly later than the time that you said the deposition would resume. The first time that this occurred was yesterday when the deposition was scheduled to begin at 9:30. I arrived punctually at 9:30 and waited 20 minutes for you to arrive. The second time was yesterday during a break at approximately the same time in the morning when you arrived ten minutes late after the time that you had indicated the deposition would resume. The third time was just now when you’ve arrived again about ten minutes late for the deposition to resume, which means that approximately 45 minutes of deposition time has been squandered as a result of your inability to resume the deposition or to commence the deposition on time. And I would just like to note for the record that in the event that you need an additional day in addition to today, which was an unplanned and unnecessary additional day for deposition, for time to depose me, that the fact that you’ve wasted 45 minutes by being late compounded by the fact that you’ve spent most of the deposition time asking questions which are patently irrelevant, will certainly be a substantial reason why you are not entitled to any more deposition time of my time for the purpose of deposing me.

Bernstein: Let me first start off and note for the record, Mr. Greenwald, that you have this wonderful flare of making broad sweeping generalizations without any attention to detail … You have been completely obstructionist and unwilling to answer questions; that has necessitated this deposition taking a lot longer than need be … Just because you view a certain issue one way does not make it the be all and end all.

Greenwald: Mr. Bernstein, I’ll just note that if you would like to have a court decide whether or not I ought to be compelled to answer questions that you’ve asked, such as whether or not I’ve been romantically involved with a roommate that I had for three months six years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, or questions pertaining to the sexual orientation of individuals who have absolutely nothing to do with this litigation, or what clubs I was in eight years ago in college, feel free to go to the court and explain to the court why you believe that questions, such as that, which are intrusive and vexatious, have relevance to this litigation and I ought to be compelled.

Bernstein: I think we’ve had enough colloquy. Quite frankly, I’m bored with it.

Glenn is what I like to call an “A**hole for Justice.”  I consider Dan Savage one too.  As are lots of the friends and colleagues I most admire, like Robin McGehee who formed the LGBT-rights group GetEqual, and gay-rights veteran Robin Tyler, an old StopDrLaura.com cohort who’s a royal pain in the ass, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The world would be a better place if we had more A**holes for Justice.  And fewer a**holes.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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