Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another crony tries to attack Greenwald

| » staff writer Ryan Singel
Ryan Singel

And the cycle of distortions and dissimulation in the Lamo-Manning chat logs affair by the purported journalists at continues. Yesterday, their chief critic,’s Glenn Greenwald, posted his two-part rebuttal to a previous response by Wired editors regarding his constant criticism of their dogged refusal to release important evidence (and offering nothing but dishonest excuses and strawmen in return). Now, we have’s Ryan Singel stepping up to the plate against Greenwald with more dishonest accusations:

In Glenn Greenwald’s recent response to Wired’s explanation of why it is not releasing more of the Bradley Manning/Adrian Lamo chat logs in the Wikileaks controversy, he defends himself by unethically cherry-picking and truncating a quote from an e-mail from me, that he says, erroneously, that I explicitly put on the record.

He writes that I said, “I’ve long been a fan of your work and I’ll continue to be.”

That’s true, but there was no period after the word “be”.

Instead, the full sentence was, “I’ve long been a fan of your work and I’ll continue to be, but I think you screwed this up, Glenn, and it’s pretty disappointing that you seemed to let your infatuation with Wikileaks color your analysis.”

Any journalism 101 student will tell you Greenwald’s quote is a clear violation of journalistic ethics.


Greenwald and I have also had e-mail conversations over the last few days, where I vociferously objected to his slimy, Yuletide Glenn-Beck-esque insinuations about Poulsen. And at no point, did he bring up the e-mail from June, which according to my records of the conversation, includes nothing about whether it is on or off the record.

Stating that I explicitly wanted it on the record is just wrong, and cutting off sentences halfway through to distort the meaning of a sentence wouldn’t pass muster at even a neighborhood weekly. It’s the tactic of FOX News.

Well, as long as you’re staying reasonable, Singel.

As always, Greenwald was quick to riposte on his own blog (with original emphasis):

Following is the email I sent to Ryan Singel in response to his post, asking him to post as an Update. I also left this as a comment on his blog, but he refuses to allow it to appear:

You're the one misleading your readers with quotes. Here is the full sentence that I wrote, which you failed to quote -- on purpose in order to mislead (emphasis added):

"After my first article about Wired in June, Singel emailed me to defend Poulsen and contest my objections but wrote: 'I've long been a fan of your work and I'll continue to be'."

I included exactly that which you tried to imply I omitted -- that you "emailed me to defend Poulsen and contest my objections."

You also lied when claiming you didn't say our email exchange was on the record. On June 17, you sent me the first email that started our exchange and wrote: "Feel free to use any or none of this on the record." [Added: The email from which I quoted was your next one, sent the following day, June 18].

You should add this email as an update to your post, as it constitutes (a) my response and (b) my allegation that your post is misleading in two critical respects.

Greenwald’s response has seen been published on Singel’s blog, with the following reply from Singel:

I’m not arguing that the e-mail that Greenwald cherry-picked and truncated a quote was off the record. Going off the record is a dance where someone asks and the other person agrees or doesn’t. But in the second e-mail, which came AFTER Greenwald’s story under a totally different subject line, I did not say explicitly it was on the record, contrary to what Greenwald wrote as he ripped a quote out of context and cut it in half, Fox News-style.

Admittedly, I’m not exactly learned in journalistic ethics, but I seriously doubt that merely failing to explicitly state your wishes that an exchange be kept off the record automatically means that your correspondent(s) shouldn’t quote from it. It’s only fair, especially in a domain as heavily reliant upon sources and original documents as journalism, that any communiqués that aren’t clearly intended to be kept private should be fair grounds for as much quoting and referencing as needed.

Other than that comparative nit-pick, notice how Singel fails to address the other points in Greenwald’s reply regarding supposedly ripping a quote out-of-context when he’d actually explicitly mentioned the context in the same damn sentence. Either Singel inexplicably missed that bit or otherwise forgot to mention it, or he knows damn well that he, himself, engaged in tactics to make Glenn Beck proud. It would be ironic, considering how that is exactly what he accuses Greenwald of doing in the first place, but revulsion is the predominant sentiment.

Ryan Singel is therefore a liar and an ass. Just the fact that he actually compared someone he (falsely) accused of dishonesty to Glenn-fucking-Beck is adequate grounds for cementing those facts. Add the fact that his journalistic idol, Kevin Poulsen, is also one to engage in such shameful name-calling, and it becomes clear why he’s found a comfortable niche at, which is rapidly losing any journalistic credibility it may have had over their mismanagement of the Lamo-Manning chat logs scandal, not to mention their reporters’ repeated and highly dishonest attacks against Glenn Greenwald.