The Greenwaldian style

“Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars . . .”

See? It’s the label that does the trick. Whatever Friedman’s argument, and whatever Glenn Greenwald’s argument against Friedman, where the real brilliance of Greenwaldism comes into play is in his inerrant sense of his readership’s attitude.

Iraq War = Bush/Cheney = neocon = Republican . . . and it’s showtime for the Greenwald Fan Club, cheering as heroic Glenn does battle with The Forces of Darkness.

Israel’s engagement with Hamas and Hezbollah is a very different thing than the U.S. excursion into Iraq. But this is not how Greenwald wants his reader to think, so he begins by identifying Friedman in the reader’s mind as a Bush/Cheney/AIPAC/neocon warmonger, ensuring that his readership — whom he knows the way Barry Manilow knows the old ladies in his Vegas audiences — will identify Friedman as a villain.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter what Friedman actually argues (in fact, he argues that Israel can tolerate Hamas sovereignty over Gaza, provided that Hamas will seriously enforce a ceasefire), the Greenwaldized reader will reject the argument because, after all, it’s coming from someone whom heroic Glenn has pre-identified as The Enemy.

Friedman is, so far as I can tell, offering a liberal argument for a negotiated peace, but Greenwald makes him out to be an apologist for war crimes. The Greenwaldized reader imagines heroic Glenn as Richard Widmark in Judgment at Nuremburg and Friedman’s part played by Werner Klemperer.

It is necessary that Friedman be darkly evil in order that Greenwald’s brilliant goodness might shine brighter by comparison, because the celebration of Greenwald’s brilliant goodness is the entire point of this drama, and the specific realities of the current Middle East situation are only so many stage props in the matinee. Excuse me if my seat is empty after the first intermission.

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