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The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Friday, January 6, 2017

Glenn Greenwald runs off at the mouth about Breitbart without ever mentioning racism

Breitbart News has been the leading organ for the white nationalist movement that took over the Republican Party and put Donald Trump in the White House, and Steve Bannon, the Breitbart editor and chief who made it the center of the alt-Right movement, is now the White House Chief Strategist. Glenn Greenwald has received a lot of criticism recently for an interview it published last month. In the interview, Greenwald was full of praise for Breitbart, but made no specific criticisms other than to say it publishes a lot to "vehemently disagree with and sometimes find repellant," even though it's famous for headlines like:

'Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage'
'Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew'
'Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture'
EXCLUSIVE–New Black Panther Leader: Blacks Need to Migrate to Five Southern States, Form ‘Country Within a Country'
VIDEO: Black Lives Matter Mob Chases, Beats Man Wearing Trump Hat
Black Lives Matter Supporters Celebrate Baton Rouge Police Shootings On Twitter
Rush: Black Lives Matter Is ‘A Terrorist Group,’ ‘Quickly Becoming a Terrorist Group Committing Hate Crimes’

What Glenn Greenwald doesn't seem to get is why only praising Breitbart and not criticising it will be seen by many as supportive of the alt-Right, just as he doesn't understand why The Intercept's pre-election policy of focusing all its fire against Hillary Clinton helped put Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Today Democracy Now gave him an opportunity to defend himself on the Breitbart charge:

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you mentioned Breitbart News, Glenn Greenwald. One of the pieces of evidence that people cite for your alleged sympathy with Breitbart is a part of an interview that you gave recently to Lee Stranahan last month in which you said, "Breitbart is actually a fascinating case. And I do think right-wing media has had a lot more success in pioneering ways to challenge establishment authority [than] left-wing media has." You went on to say that it’s, quote, "very impressive in terms of the impact they’ve been able to have." That is, Breitbart media has been able to have. And now, of course, the head of Breitbart media has been named by Trump as his chief strategist. So, could you respond to that and explain what you meant?
Even the bit Nermeen Shaikh quoted from Glenn Greewald's Breitbart interview is revealing. Does Greenwald really think that both right-wing media and left-wing media are equally trying to "challenge establishment authority"? News Flash Glenn: Right-wing media is actually about supporting US imperialism [established authority], even while appearing to oppose it. Hence, one of the reasons right wing media has been more "successful" is that they are really supporting the established order. Glenn, notice how the stock market has responded to its being "overthrown" by the Trump victory? Glenn, you should also note that right-wing media usually resorts to demagoguery and lies, whereas truth telling can be at once more difficult and less appealing. Or is it that you have so long confused the fake Left with what the Left should be that you see The Intercept as the fake Left equivalent of Breitbart News? He responded on DN:
GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. That Breitbart has had a huge impact on American politics is something that no honest person could possibly dispute. Their traffic alone has quadrupled, or even more, just in the past six to nine months. They became the go-to place for the part of the Republican Party that ended up dominant, that ended up electing—nominating and then electing a candidate who the entire political establishment thought had no chance of ever winning. They gave voice to a huge part of the Republican Party that had been completely and systematically excluded from all of the Republican mainstream venues, like National Review and Weekly Standard. The impact that they have had is immense. And to deny that is just delusional.
Notice Greenwald is very vague who has been systematically excluded from the Republican mainstream before and why. Since he is shy about calling them what they are, fascists and white supremacists, this is a problem for him. He calls them a "part of the Republican Party" but many on both sides of that line would dispute him. Trump himself has supported both capitalist parties, and while white nationalists have been most at home with the Republicans these days, that hasn't always been the case, and certainly they don't see themselves as just a downtrodden part of the Republican Party. Greenwald sounds like he thinks Breitbart News is performing a service by giving voice to the oppressed within the GOP. He continues:
But even worse is to suggest that acknowledging the impact that they have somehow makes you an admirer of them. In that very same interview, I told them directly to their face that the content that they’re producing is repellent. That was the word I used. I said that I have all kinds of terrible things to say about Breitbart reporters and about Breitbart’s content. All of the work I’ve done over the past decade—the sort of primary issue on which I’ve worked has been a defense of the civil liberties of Muslims—is completely antithetical to everything that Breitbart believes in. So, to take a comment that I made which is observably and undeniably true, which is that the impact that they’ve had on the political process is extraordinary and impressive, and convert that into me saying that I somehow like Breitbart or am a sympathizer with Breitbart or an admirer or supporter of Breitbart is just dishonesty in the extreme. And it’s obvious for anybody minimally literate that that’s the case.
The fact is that racism, meaning white supremacy, isn't just an aspect of Breitbart, it is at the core of what has allowed Breitbart and the alt-Right to grow in power to the point where their people are about to enter the White House, and the closest Glenn Greenwald can come to acknowledging that is to say they are antithetical to the civil rights of Muslims? He does them a great kindness in this critique.

Later in the show Nermeen Shaikh talked about a piece Greenwald wrote in response a Guardian article with the headline "Julian Assange gives guarded praise of Trump and blasts Clinton in interview." Disputing that view, she said:
Assange’s precise words in the interview are worth citing at length. When asked about his response to Trump’s election, he said in the interview, quote, "Hillary Clinton’s election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States. Donald Trump is not a D.C. insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities. They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilizing the pre-existing central power network within D.C. It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better," end-quote.
News Flash Julian: The existing ruling class of the United States wasn't waiting for the election of Hillary Clinton to consolidate power. It did that long ago.

More to the point: Notice how Julian Assange has nothing to say about racism in his appraisal of Donald Trump? Apparently his promises to build a wall, ban Muslims, expel immigrants, or institute a national stop and frisk program aren't a problem, or even consideration, for him. Donald Trump, known long to be a racist by his black employees, is appointing known white supremacists, people like Jeff Sessions, to the highest positions in his administration and Julian Assange excuses them as "idiosyncratic personalities"! This is a kindness indeed.

Julian Assange, Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald and Jill Stein all suffer from the same affliction. They just don't get that ignoring white supremacy, especially in the current climate, means supporting white supremacy. They are all bad news for the Left.

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