Glenn Greenwald Demands Equal Time

Glenn Greenwald wrote General David Petraeus’ press spokesman seeking to get an interview to balance out the one he recently gave to the “highly partisan, pro-war Republican talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt” and received a less than enthusiastic response. Presumably, that’s what he expected.

It’s hardly surprising, really, that a man attempting to rally support for an unpopular war effort would seek out large, sympathetic audiences and eschew interviews with hostile parties. The first line of defense is naturally going to be shoring up the base rather than probably futile efforts to reach out to critics.

It’s not as if Petraeus has given interviews exclusively to conservative media outlets. But talking to NPR and PBS is vastly different than dealing with Salon and the netroots.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Andy says:

    It’s hardly surprising, really, that a man attempting to rally support for an unpopular war effort would seek out large, sympathetic audiences and eschew interviews with hostile parties. The first line of defense is naturally going to be shoring up the base rather than probably futile efforts to reach out to critics.

    Since when are generals supposed to be rallying political parties?

  2. markm says:

    “Since when are generals supposed to be rallying political parties?”

    Maybe when the General in charge on the ground sees things going differently than those in Washington?.

  3. Mike says:

    Why doesn’t he just stick with the truth no matter what the question is? Democrat vs. Republican should meaningless to him;

    esp since the current leaders of the GOP act like the stereotypes of Democrats anyway.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Since when are generals supposed to be rallying political parties?

    I don’t contend they are. A key part of the mission, though, is persuading the public that it can succeed.

  5. Ha Nguyen says:

    I don’t contend they are. A key part of the mission, though, is persuading the public that it can succeed.

    However, talking to the 28% base is not going to persuade the rest of the public of anything. He needs to convince the skeptics if he’s trying to make a good case for support. So, why not talk to a well-respected skeptic? It sounds more as if he just wanted to get stroked.

  6. Ugh says:

    A key part of the mission, though, is persuading the public that it can succeed.

    This is/was Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld/Gates, Cheney, et. al’s job, not the general’s job. They have long since failed, mainly because just about everything they’ve said about the reasons, costs, length, and effect for/of the war have turned out to be either outright lies or massively wrong.

    All but the 28% have stopped listening.

  7. cian says:

    James,

    Now more than ever perhaps, a majority of Americans are crying out for someone to step fowrard in whom they can trust. Someone to tell us without spin, minus the agenda, exactly how things are, how they are likely to go, and what is needed.

    Come September and Patraeus is supposed to be that man. Playing to the base is exactly the wrong thing to do.

  8. Michael says:

    Since when are generals supposed to be rallying political parties?

    It may not have been part of the job description, but every successful general throughout history has been central to rallying political support to their efforts.

  9. Triumph says:

    Greenwald is out of his mind. I would love to see Patreus show up for the interview and arrest Glenn for “supporting terror” or some other trumped-up charge. A few weeks in a military brig will keep him quiet for a while!

  10. Kathy says:

    A key part of the mission, though, is persuading the public that it can succeed.

    And how do you do that when the public is overwhelmingly against the war and you refuse to talk to any media outlets that represent that point of view?

  11. Anderson says:

    Badly, badly mistaken. Hewitt is not a reasonable conservative like JJ or Andrew Sullivan; he is a party-line hack. To appear on his show is to *make* a political statement.

    I lost some respect for the general when I learned he had done so. A candid appearance with someone like Greenwald would indicate that Petraeus sees himself as at war with the Iraqi insurgency … not with a majority of the American public.

  12. Alex Knapp says:

    Greenwald is out of his mind. I would love to see Patreus show up for the interview and arrest Glenn for “supporting terror” or some other trumped-up charge. A few weeks in a military brig will keep him quiet for a while!

    Gosh, it sure would be nice to live in a military dictatorship, wouldn’t it?

  13. Anjin-San says:

    It’s hardly surprising, really, that a man attempting to rally support for an unpopular war effort would seek out large, sympathetic audiences and eschew interviews with hostile parties.

    This sort of thinking has been part of the problem all along. Is Patreus going to follow Bush’s lead and only appear in sanatized rooms before hand-picked audiences who lob softballs at them?

  14. Bithead says:

    Since when are generals supposed to be rallying political parties?

    General Wesley Clark, white courtesy phone… General Wesley Clark, white courtesy phone….

    No, the WHITE one.

  15. Bithead says:

    Andrew Sullivan;

    LOL…

    Sullivan is not a reasonable ANYTHING, and most certainly is not a ‘conservative’ of ANY stripe.

  16. Andy says:

    It explains a lot about bithead that he is unable to understand the difference between an active and retired military officer.