Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Glenn Greenwald > Tom Ricks

Objectively Pro-Putin
Tom Ricks' authoritarianism is certainly creepy.  But honestly I have pretty much ignored him since I read Fiasco (new in hardcover no less) and realized halfway through it was a novel-length combination puff-piece* on David Petraeus and hit-piece on Ray Odierno. 

Haven't had much use for him since.
Ricks claims that Greenwald and Snowden are "profiting" from Russia (how that's happening is rather obscure) and therefore, if they fail to loudly denounce events in the Ukraine, they are objectively Pro-Putin. Greenwald refuses to bow to his demands because well ... bowing to such a demand is unethical in itself (and useless.) Anyone who requires you to denounce someone else to prove that you are not a sympathizer is playing an authoritarian power game and giving them the "denunciation" they demand will never fully satisfy. We have a long history of witch hunts both real and metaphorical in this country. One of the defining characteristics is this requirement that one prove one's loyalty to the group. You may recall that the way they used to do it was to strap the accused witch to a chair and throw him or her into the water. If the accused floated to the top and lived he or she was obviously guilty. If he or she sank to the bottom and drowned, she was not. I think we can all see the problem with that. Ricks is free to think what he wants about Greenwald and Snowden's political beliefs and if he has some evidence that they have signed on to Vladimir Putin's Ukraine agenda, as a top journalist I'm sure he can figure out a way to prove it. Otherwise this is just another example of a certain strain of creepy social coercion that rears its head in our culture from time to time and should be resisted by anyone who believes that administering loyalty oaths and demanding intellectual conformity, whether it comes  from a church, the government or one's social group is antithetical to a free society. One would think that journalists would be at the top of that list of resistors, but if there's one thing I've learned in the past few years it's that there are no greater enforcers of elite membership rules than political journalists.

* A sloppy, wet euphemism right there.

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