Glenn Greenwald: The Media’s Coverage of Donald Trump Is ‘Kind of Hysterical’
In a recent conversation with Slate, The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald agrees that a possible Donald Trump presidency “poses … extreme dangers” to the U.S., but the journalist also argues that the mass media is not only creating a dangerous, unblinking consensus against Trump but also failing to reach his voters.
What did you think of Trump’s press conference? You’ve gone after people who you thought were smearing those denying a Trump-Russia connection, and you’ve used the word McCarthyite to describe them. But now Trump has encouraged the Russians to find or release more Hillary Clinton emails.
OK, so, I am glad you asked about that because this is the conflict that I am currently having: The U.S. media is essentially 100 percent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president. I don’t have an actual problem with that because I share the premises on which it is based about why he poses such extreme dangers. But that doesn’t mean that as a journalist, or even just as a citizen, that I am willing to go along with any claim, no matter how fact-free, no matter how irrational, no matter how dangerous it could be, in order to bring Trump down.
So, literally, the lead story in the New York Times [on Thursday] suggests, and other people have similarly suggested it, that Trump was literally putting in a request to Putin for the Russians to cyberattack the FBI, the United States government, or get Hillary Clinton’s emails. That is such unmitigated bullshit. What that was was an offhanded, trolling comment designed to make some kind of snide reference to the need to find Hillary’s emails. He wasn’t directing the Russians, in some genuine, literal way, to go on some cybermission to find Hillary’s emails. If he wanted to request the Russians to do that, why would he do it in some offhanded way in a press conference? It was a stupid, reckless comment that he made elevated into treason.
You interviewed Chris [Hayes] about Brexit and I just want to submit to you that the mistake the U.K. media and U.K. elites made with Brexit is the exact same one that the U.S. media and U.S. elites are making about Trump. U.K. elites were uniform, uniform, in their contempt for the Brexit case, other than the right-wing Murdochian tabloids. They all sat on Twitter all day long, from the left to the right, and all reinforced each other about how smart and how sophisticated they were in scorning and [being snide] about UKIP and Boris Johnson and all of the Brexit leaders, and they were convinced that they had made their case. Everyone they were talking to—which is themselves—agreed with them. It was constant reinforcement, and anyone who raised even a peep of dissent or questioned the claims they were making was instantly castigated as somebody who was endangering the future of the U.K. because they were endorsing—or at least impeding—the effort to stop Brexit. This is what’s happening now.
Do you think the people voting for Donald Trump because they feel their economic future has been destroyed, or because they are racist, or because they feel fear of immigrants and hate the U.S. elite structure and want Trump to go and blow it up, give the slightest shit about Ukraine, that Trump is some kind of agent of Putin? They don’t! Just like the Brexit supporters. The U.K. media tried the same thing, telling the Brexit advocates that they were playing into Putin’s hands, that Putin wanted the U.K. out of the EU to weaken both. They didn’t care about that. That didn’t drive them. Nobody who listened to Trump could think that was genuinely a treasonous request for the Russians to go and cyberattack the U.S. government.
In the Slate interview, which you can read more of here, Greenwald also discusses the recent WikiLeaks publication of Democratic National Committee emails and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s views on Russia.
— Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
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