People keep offering up links to this rambling diatribe by David Neiwart on Glenn Greenwald as if this is the firm proof that Greenwald is an unwitting tool of fascists and a good reason why Greenwald should be discredited. It’s typical of today’s cancel culture that this horrid piece of opinion riddled with inconsistencies meets the burden of proof for people on this subject.
The article really seems to be about Neiwart having a personal problem with Greenwald more than anything and how any disagreement and or negative response he gets from Greenwald offends Neiwart.
Neiwart starts this off with a tale of how Greenwald and he had a disagreement over the interpretation of another person’s Twitter post, but the graphic he posts doesn’t have the post that Greenwald actually responded to in it, which was Neiwart’s. Instead, this is how he presents Greenwald’s response on his article.
The actual context (which you can still find on Twitter) is shown below.
This is where Greenwald accuses Neiwart of smearing the poster with his accusations. This is a theme that recurs throughout Neiwart’s article. Neiwart being offended at Greenwald using the term smeared, correctly, to describe Neiwart’s actions.
Next Neiwart lays out the whole history of a white nationalist group just because Greenwald acted as a lawyer for a member of the group named Matt Hale. The history of this organization is completely unnecessary and totally out of context unless it’s to create outrage over Greenwald’s defense of Hale.
Neiwart even quotes Greenwald in his defense of Hale stating that, “In sum, Hale, a well-known and vigorous advocate of racist and anti-Semitic ideas, was barred from the legal profession and denied his livelihood because the individuals sitting on the Committee of Character and Fitness for the State of Illinois happened to disagree — strongly — with Hale’s political and religious views.”
Greenwald, admittedly acted as a lawyer for a white nationalist. There is no doubt about that.
After Neiwart attempts to smear Greenwald by association with Hale, Neiwart then, perversely, talks about he Neiwart admired Greenwald and defended him against those that disapproved of Greenwald’s legal work for Matt Hale. He even meets up with Greenwald in 2007 at an event with all sorts of questions for him, but is unable to ask them because he doesn’t have any time to do so.
Neiwart then rolls into how Greenwald supposedly promoted the candidacy of Ron Paul and an incident of Greenwald “attacking” Neiwart in a Salon article over an article Neiwart wrote relating Ron Paul’s record. When you go to that Salon link Greenwald himself only has a problem with one specific point about flag burning that Neiwart brings up and yet Neiwart takes Greenwald’s use of “distortions and smears” as some sort of attack on his overall credibility, despite Greenwald prefacing his critique by saying,
“In an otherwise informative and legitimate (and widely-cited) post today about Paul’s record in Congress Dave Neiwert claims:”
Neiwart ends the Ron Paul incident by stating…
“Before signing off, I offered one more missive, which Glenn sniffed at and dismissed.”
Who cares? Even if Greenwald was a jerk to you what does that have to do with anything?
These salient points make up Neiwart’s blathering so far. Greenwald disagreed with Neiwart’s interpretation of a Twitter post. Greenwald once admittedly acted as a lawyer for a white nationalist defending his 1st amendment rights. Greenwald clarified a point about flag burning and Ron Paul.
Neiwart then states, “At this point, it had become manifestly clear to me that Greenwald has an immense blind spot—an inexplicable one, really—when it comes to far-right extremism and its spread into the mainstream, and the toxic effects of that spread.”
How he comes to this conclusion based on the nonsense that prefaces this statement is unclear. His only real connection between these incidents is Greenwald’s use of the words, “distortions and smears.” He has taken one incident where Greenwald defended a white nationalist’s 1st amendment rights and conflated it with everything else Greenwald has done to paint him as some sort of useful tool of fascists. He conflates Greenwald’s lack of obvious vitriolic hatred directed at Matt Hale either at the time of the defense or subsequent with tacit approval of Hale’s ideology and yet he quotes Greenwald from Rolling Stone when Greenwald was asked about his defense of Hale…
“To me, it’s a heroic attribute to be so committed to a principle that you apply it not when it’s easy … not when it supports your position, not when it protects people you like, but when it defends and protects people that you hate.”
Right there Greenwald says he hates Matt Hale, but defended his 1st amendment rights despite it being difficult.
This back and forth approval / disapproval is typical of Neiwart’s article. He is at one point chastising Greenwald for his use of language in defending Hale and simultaneously lauding Greenwald for his defense of Hale. Neiwart takes many quotes out of context to lay out the case that Greenwald is sympathetic to white nationalism, but then fawns over Greenwald saying “This isn’t a matter of whether Greenwald is a racist or an extremist or an anti-Semite or anything like that. I don’t believe he is, even remotely.”
By the end, the article descends far into absurdity and really paints a picture of Neiwart as some sort of crazed obsessed fan of Greenwald’s that feels he has been done wrong by him. His explanation for Greenwald’s blind spot for fascists doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny at all. If anything, all Neiwart’s article does is point out that Greenwald has consistently defended free speech rights throughout his whole career.
Neiwart’s article appears to be his own excuse for not defending free speech rights and his justification for wanting to silence Greenwald.
Despite Neiwart’s obsession with Greenwald’s use of “distortions and smears” and “guilt by association” to point out logical fallacies people make, he fails to realize that his whole article is literally one big distortion and smear of Greenwald. In addition, Neiwart labels Greenwald a fascist supporter for disagreeing with Democrats and using the Fox News platform as a way to point out those issues to the public. This is exactly guilt by association just like his attempt to paint Greenwald as a closet fascist for his legal defense Hale.