I'm not exactly in the running for the presidency of the Glenn Greenwald Fan Club, but the smear attempts he describes deserve to backfire:
I was not particularly surprised when I received an email last night from a reporter at the New York Daily News informing me that he had been "reviewing some old lawsuits" in which I was involved -- "old" as in: more than a decade ago....Working back from the last one: Jesus Christ, you're trying to smear him with late student loan payments? In this economy? Basically, if that's an unforgivable character flaw, then just about everyone I've known in my adult life has bad character. It's certainly not going to make him look bad with the current Jobless Generation. Nor should it.
Upon calling him, I learned that he had somehow discovered two events from my past. The first was my 2002-04 participation in a multi-member LLC that had an interest in numerous businesses, including the distribution of adult videos. I was bought out of that company by my partners roughly nine years ago.
The lawsuit he referenced was one where the LLC had sued a video producer in (I believe) 2002 after the producer reneged on a profit-sharing contract. In response, that producer fabricated abusive and ugly emails he claimed were from me -- they were not -- in order to support his allegation that I had bullied him into entering into that contract and he should therefore be relieved from adhering to it. Once our company threatened to retain a forensic expert to prove that the emails were forgeries, the producer quickly settled the case....
The second item the reporter had somehow obtained was one showing an unpaid liability to the IRS stemming, it appears, from some of the last years of my law practice. I've always filed all of my tax returns and there's no issue of tax evasion or fraud. It's just back taxes for which my lawyers have been working to reach a payment agreement with the IRS.
Just today, a New York Times reporter emailed me to ask about the IRS back payments. And the reporter from the Daily News sent another email asking about a student loan judgment which was in default over a decade ago and is now covered by a payment plan agreement.
The porn? OK, there's this from John Cook of Gawker:
If David Gregory had a past in the porn business you'd all sure as shit want to read about it— John Cook (@johnjcook) June 26, 2013
Would I? It would certainly reveal, um, a side of him I'd never quite imagined (or maybe never wanted to), but it says nothing to me about anything germane to his life's work as an inside-the-Beltway courtier posing as a journalist. It's not germane to anything Greenwald does, either. It's so far removed from the issues he covers that I have no reason to care about it.
As for the IRS stuff, well, I don't think this is crazy:
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to imagine the NSA is shopping the Greenwald smear stories around. (1/2)— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 26, 2013
Is this all from the NSA (or elsewhere in the government? Is just the IRS material from the government? If it's somehow all discoverable without government-aided snooping, then the journalism is just sleazy. If the government is involved, that actually is Nixonian.
And it's also pathetic. How stupid do you have to be not to realize that most people reading about this, from a journalist or from Greenwald himself, are going to think "Smear"? It's just not going to harm him.
And in fact, it's made him more self-righteous than he already was -- something I didn't think was possible.
Congratulations, whoever's responsible. You attacked Greenwald clumsily and wound up buttressing his arguments.
UPDATE: The Daily News piece is here, a, plusnd it's a hit piece, with devastating revelations like this:
In a 2003 lawsuit, he and his then partner, Werner Achetz, were sued by their West Side condo for having a dog that was bigger than building by-laws allowed.An excessively large dog? HANG HIM! Seriously, who the hell cares?
The couple countered that they and their dog Uli were being singled out because they were gay, a charge the building denied. The case eventually settled.
“The co-op board said the dog could stay,” he said.
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed has an evenhanded profile that covers some of the same ground as the Daily News story, plus more. In it, Greenwald comes off as a human being. He's still not a human being I think I'd like, but the BuzzFeed story doesn't try to force him into a villain template based on the conduct of his life years before he wrote about politics. I don't really care about those aspects of his life.