Anatomy of a Journalistic Smear Job

Glenn Greenwald:

One long-standing — and justifiable — progressive grievance is that whenever ordinary Americans allow their personal plight to enter the public sphere in a way that advances a liberal political goal, they are gratuitously probed and personally smeared by the Right. The most illustrative example is the Frost family, who allowed their 12-year-old son Graeme to deliver a moving radio address explaining the benefits he received from the CHIP program when he was in a serious car accident, only to be promptly stalked and smeared by Michelle Malkin, among others. Today, The Nation — a magazine which generally offers very good journalism — subjects John Tyner to similar treatment, with such a shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece (by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine) that I’m genuinely surprised its editors published it. Beyond the inherent benefit of correcting the record, this particular article is suffused with all sorts of toxic though common premises that make it worth examining in detail.

The article is headlined “TSAstroturf: The Washington Lobbyists and Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind the TSA Scandal,” and is devoted to the claim that those objecting to the new TSA procedures — such as Tyner — are not what they claim to be. Rather, they are Koch-controlled plants deliberately provoking and manufacturing a scandal — because, after all, what real American in their right mind would do anything other than meekly submit with gratitude and appreciation to these procedures? Let’s just look at the paragraphs written to “justify” this accusation.


  1. Interesting. I have a different take on this, however:

    Ames & Levine, as well as the other eXile writers have a somewhat edgy style. It’s clear from Greenwald’s article that this is the first time he’s encountered them (based on his assumption that they’re advocating a two-party system). They’re anything but robotic supporters of the current structure.

    Anyhow, the big question raised by their article, regardless of whether or not the victims are fakers, is whether this all a ploy to pressurise airports to use private security firms.

    It’s a question that’s well worth asking. We know the guys at the top are Crooks and Grafters of the First Magnitude. It would not come as a shock if this accusation was true.

  2. If this guy thinks Ames want people to meekly submit to the TSA he hasn’t read much of what Ames has written. Sounds like a false dichotomy to me. You can be both against the TSA and against people who want to use the outrage against the TSA, pour oil on the fire and use it for their own ends.

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