Firing Back At Glenn Greenwald Over John Cole

After I stepped on the left side of the blogosphere’s favorite fake “conservative” of the moment, John Cole, lefty Glenn Greenwald took great exception to it.

Greenwald’s rambling and ill thought out post basically begins with the idea that of course Cole has had a heartfelt change of views because George Bush is such an awful person:

“More important still, Americans didn’t change their views because the media suddenly became adversarial or effective in its watchdog function (it didn’t), nor because Democrats found a will or a way to provide meaningful opposition (they haven’t), nor because the Bush administration’s propaganda is now less ruthless or deceitful (it isn’t). They changed their minds largely on their own, by simply looking at what is going on around them and using their critical faculties to compare what they see to the claims made by the Bush movement, and they have noticed the gaping disparities. And they are angry about it. Very angry.”

Cole obviously didn’t have any sort of long, well thought out, change of heart because I used to semi-regularly read his blog and his views flipped like a light switch going on and off right after the Terri Schiavo controversy. It was that one event that caused him to spin off the axis just like Sullivan flipping out over gay marriage. One day Sullivan was fond of the GOP and strongly pro-war and then, once George Bush came out in favor of a Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage, everything changed in an instant. The only difference for Cole was the issue he went nuts over. Cole even admitted as much in his original post:

I don’t know when things went south with this party (literally and figuratively- and I am sure commenters here will tell me the party has always been this bad- I disagree with that, and so do others), but for me, Terri Schiavo was the real eye-opener. Sure, the Prescription Drug Plan was hideous and still gets my blood pressure pumping, and the awful bankruptcy bill was equally bad, and there were other things that should have clued me in, but really, it was Schiavo that made me realize this party was not as advertized.

Greenwald goes on to make a ludicrous argument that no intelligent person who has ever regularly read the right side of the blogosphere could ever put forth with a straight face:

“Hawkins can take some solace in the fact that it isn’t “just him.” Quite the contrary, it’s how Bush followers — by definition — think. It’s one of the principal attributes that defines them. Criticisms of the Leader and the Movement are a priori invalid and false and no energy needs to be expended to figure out why that is. It is just assumed to be so, and the real task is then to figure out all of the deep character flaws in the person voicing the criticism so that they can be personally discredited, their sincerity doubted, and then everything they say from that point forward comfortably ignored.”

Oh yeah, I remember how Bush got a free pass on Harriet Miers, the Dubai Port deal, his excessive spending, and illegal immigration. Conservatives just sucked it up and said, “We can’t criticize the leader!” Wasn’t that how it happened? Please! Bush has been semi-regularly flogged by conservatives for a long time now, but in areas where he has deserved it, not because of the Bush Derangement Syndrome that is so common these days on the left.

Greenwald then adds:

“Unsurprisingly, Hawkins’ smear of Cole’s motives is factually false, and it is easily demonstrated to be such. Throughout the year, as Cole became increasingly critical of the Bush administration (and as he even shared his blog with a committed anti-Bush co-blogger, Tim F.), the traffic for Cole’s blog remained relatively stable and, if anything, gradually decreased (the only exception being October, when many blogs experienced increases in traffic due to things like the Foley scandal and the imminent elections). If (as is plainly the case) someone like Hawkins doesn’t actually care about whether his accusations are factual in any way, wouldn’t he still want check Cole’s traffic stats before accusing him of being motivated by the increased traffic he gets — just to avoid embarrassment if for no other reason?”

Yes, Cole’s traffic has stayed relatively steady over time in some respects, but let’s take a closer look at it. There are actually a lot of peaks in there that are undoubtedly caused by Cole getting big links:

Now, where do you think those big links would have been coming from? Well, here’s his referrer’s page for today:

You’ll notice that most of the links are from left-wing blogs (I just missed getting the Daily Kos and Democratic Underground links in the screen capture).

So, if your blog goes from being a conservative blog that gets links from other conservative bloggers to a liberal blog with a liberal audience, that’s only going to have a chance to get traffic from the likes of Kos, Crooks and Liars, and Glenn Greenwald, don’t you think it’s entirely possible that it could have an impact on what you’re writing? For example, if Cole had said in his conservative hit piece that despite any disagreements he might have with Bush, he was still a supporter of the war or thought Bush was trying to do the right thing, do you think these left-wing blogs would have linked him anyway? No. Do you think Glenn Greenwald would be defending him? No way. Liberals can’t tolerate that sort of dissent from liberal dogma. So, Cole’s jump to the left might have been initially motivated by his strong dislike of the Christian conservatives who were speaking out for Terri Schiavo, but once he started relying on liberal blogs for traffic, he had, at least to a certain extent, remember where his bread was buttered.

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