Friday, January 15, 2010


Uh Oh On Glenn Greenwald

[UPDATE below.]

Oh come on, don't tell me another of my budding heroes has let me down! No doubt acting on orders from Cass Sunstein, commenter Blackadder recently brought to my attention this post which apparently wields damning evidence that Glenn Greenwald posts as other people to defend himself on blogs.

I don't know enough about the intertubes to evaluate the charge, but I have to say Greenwald's own response leaves me feeling queasy:
A new accusation is that I've been engaging in so-called "sock puppetry" by leaving comments in response to posts that attack me under other names., i.e., that I use multiple names to comment and the same comment was left at several blogs by the same IP address under different names.

Not frequently, I leave comments at blogs which criticize or respond to something I have written. I always, in every single instance, use my own name when doing so. I have never left a single comment at any other blog using any name other than my own, at least not since I began blogging. IP addresses signify the Internet account one uses, not any one individual. Those in the same household have the same IP address. In response to the personal attacks that have been oozing forth these last couple of weeks, others have left comments responding to them and correcting the factual inaccuracies, as have I. In each case when I did, I have used my own name.
Soooo, if I'm interpreting him correctly, Greenwald is saying that somebody else who lives at his house could have left all the comments coming from the same IP address and yet being signed by names other than "Glenn Greenwald." So that raises some questions:

(1) Just how many people live in GG's house? Is he in a co ed dorm?

(2) Instead of being abstract about it, couldn't GG have asked the other people in his house, "Hey, Ella, were you the Ella who posted from this IP, or was that somebody else like at a party we threw, named Ella, who snuck in here to use the computer to defend me on the internet?"

(3) Why would people in Greenwald's house have needed to email him about matters, and then post his email response in blogs defending his honor? Couldn't Greenwald's housemates have asked him during the commercial breaks of Must-See TV whether those scurrilous internet charges were true, and then typed up his verbal response on the blogs to defend his honor?

This really ruins my night.

UPDATE: Read the comments to learn why this isn't nearly as bad as I first thought. My faith in GG is restored, though I am now wiser.

That happened four years ago. Should we damn a man completely for something as trivial as sock-puppetry?
Glenn explicitly said that he always posts with his own name. What he doesn't say, and what a commenter on his blog pointed out, is whether his partner does. Assuming his partner is the only other person in his house, that means he may sometimes post, in defense of Glenn, using fake names.

Well, that's lame, but it's not exactly awful. If you were going to defend your wife online, Bob, you might also consider using a different name. Because otherwise, people are likely to say, "Oh that's just her husband. Of course he'd defend him."

It's not the sock puppitry so much as GG's very vague explanation. If the word weren't already taken, I would describe it as truthiness.

The reason I have loved GG so much lately, is that I thought he was honest. This really changes my opinion of him.


Beefcake the Mighty has not insulted me so much. (I'm just kidding btw.) No, to answer your question, it would not even have occurred to me to pretend to be various people defending my spouse, and if that ever happened she would post, "Sorry, that wasn't me, my husband is a jackass."
We know he didn't do it and someone else did. That explanation doesn't give the specifics of his personal relationships and who-dun-it, but it does give an accurate account of the situation with an explanation for the layman. So we are going to get stuck on drama that is truly worthy of an episode of 90210 and feel that Glenn, who wields the sword of truth with more integrity then 99.9% of the media today, has been discredited? Exactly what part of his explanation do you feel isn't honest?

Why do we care who is in his house? Why do you feel entitled to an explanation? You have learned the truth. Who cares about the tabloids?

Does this mean I should stop using other names when I defend you against weak and evil attackers?

Did it ever occur to you nitwits that perhaps "Glenn Greenwald" is a pseudonym adopted by multiple anonymous personalities, much like the "Tyler Durden" of ZeroHedge-fame?

Ha, fools! Now, even when you refer to me by name, you have no idea who I really am!

The joke is on you, hahahahahaha!

-The "Real" Glenn Greenwald
LibeertyMage wrote:

We know he didn't do it and someone else did. That explanation doesn't give the specifics of his personal relationships and who-dun-it, but it does give an accurate account of the situation with an explanation for the layman. ...Why do we care who is in his house? Why do you feel entitled to an explanation?

Actually no, and didn't "know he didn't do it" after my first reading of his explanation, because his explanation was so vague and nonsensical. He never admitted that anyone posted with a different name.

He was being accused of something that was fairly deceitful, or at least just weird, and so his simple declaration, "It wasn't me" wasn't really good enough. If it had been a simple he said / Glenn said, it would have been fine for me, since Glenn has earned in my book a very good reputation for candor and integrity.

But when there was that (apparent) hard evidence that the multiple names were coming from the same IP address, I was concerned. So I was hoping Glenn was going to clear it right up.

And instead, he made some weird listing of possibilities, which I honestly didn't even "get" until Stewart explained it above.

Yes, in retrospect it's obvious that Glenn was really saying, "Someone in my house was posting under different names to defend me, and that's not so surprising given the personal attacks of late," but he didn't come right out and say that. In the context of him responding to his right-wing hatchet job critics, Glenn came off (to me at least) saying that this was a completely bogus charge, and that for all he knew nobody was posting under multiple names.

I'm not saying he should have thrown his partner under the bus, I'm saying he should have said (if he wanted to deal with the accusation at all), "I always use my own name, and yes it turns out that unbeknownst to me, my partner was doing that. He wanted to defend me from these ridiculous charges, but obviously didn't want to invite homophobic retorts from these vicious right wingers. He isn't going to do it anymore for obvious reasons. No big scandal here, just a protective partner."

If he had said something like, I would have moved on.

But instead he gave some weird open ended description of the possible. And because I was still in shell shock from thinking Glenn might have been doing the multiple posting, I wasn't in a frame of mind to say, "Well I know if Glenn denies it, he didn't do it. So let me read between the lines and figure out what he's really trying to say here."

Last point: We don't know that Glenn is 99.9% accurate if he did indeed do stuff like post from multiple names. I can't vet every single claim he makes in his blog posts. He explains the relevant law in certain cases, or he will give us the "lowdown" on some blogger I've never heard of. So that's why this particular episode shook me so much.

Now that Stewart has explained it, OK I'm fine with it, but I still think GG should have dealt with it better, if he bothered to bring it up at all.
Greenwald was lying in this instance. That is bad- the sock-puppitry is also a deceit.

Should you stop reading him and evaluating his other arguments? No. They rise or fall on their own merits, at least to the extent that you don't have to depend on his integrity to do the evaluation.
We are not entitled to an explanation from Glenn. Nonetheless, he gave one. It could have been less sheepish in defense of his integrity.

Greenwald has a good point. I am the real "Dr. Murray Tyson" from Crash Landing comments, but I saw somebody adopt my psuedonym here recently. A psuedonym squared.

In otherwords, unless it is tied into a web site and full profile, it could be anybody commenting.

Does this mean I should stop using other names when I defend you against weak and evil attackers?


No, but you should probably learn how to spell your own.
I think there are two main ways you can read Greenwald's explanation

1) he is being purposefully vague in order to try and spare his boyfriend's embarrassment

2) Greenwald is lying and although he wants to imply it was his boyfriend doing it he cant be too explicit about it because his boyfriend would get mad for passing the blame onto him

It's the 'others' plural in Greenwalds explanation that makes me lean towards the second. It really isn't a very credible idea that there are two(or more!) people using greenwald's internet connection to defend him in the same way using the exact same kind of language. I see this as a get out for greenwald should his boyfriend come to him and say 'why are you blaming me for your douchery'. 'others' is much better than 'another' if greenwald finds himself in the position of denying to his boyfriend that he is trying to pin his shortcomings on him.
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