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Marcy Wheeler On The TSA And Ames/Levine’s Hate-On For Progressives And Libertarians Working Together

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 10, 2014

I made a comment in Charles’ post on Mark Ames and Yasha Levine’s attack on Pierre Omidyar, the very rich man who has now hired Glenn Greenwald, who Ames and Levine hate with a passion, to write for the media company Omidyar is creating. I’ve decided to dredge that comment out of obscurity and give it its own post.

For years now, it seem that Ames and Levine have had a serious bugaboo about progressives and libertarians ever making common cause on things. It’s the apparent basis for their long-standing dislike of FDL’s Jane Hamsher, who of course has teamed up with Glenn Greenwald on various issues, including TSA’s use of RapiScan technology.

In 2010, Ames/Levine used their platform at The Nation to do a Bizarro World attack on the critics of TSA’s RapiScan machines — critics that include Jane Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald and, most notably, Marcy Wheeler. Marcy Wheeler responded here, ripping Ames and Levine’s article to utter shreds.

Here’s the last paragraph from that piece. It seems to sum up so much of what NSFW is doing lately:

“At base, Ames and Levine’s article–the entire thing, not just their insinuations about Tyner–is just a poorly defended argument. They may well have a point; they may well someday prove this was all a scam designed to benefit John Mica’s donors. But at this point, what we have is an editorial failure: a bunch of loose connections built on top of insinuations about someone they now concede is probably innocent and relying on assumptions that have not been proven and really faulty logic. Sure, the question Ames and Levine ask might be worth asking–in a tweet or a personal blog post. But until they actually answer their own question, it’s probably not worth an article in the Nation.”

The Nation wound up agreeing with Marcy Wheeler on this and apologized for Ames and Levine’s going off half-cocked on this facet of the TSA story. But it doesn’t seem that Ames and Levine learned anything from that incident, as this recent piece by Levine (also effectively shredded by Wheeler) would seem to show.

Ames and Levine have done very good stuff in the past, but their signal-to-noise ratio has gotten pretty bad in the last few years, ever since the start of their War on Glenn Greenwald and anyone who works with Glenn Greenwald. They’ve pretty well burned all their media bridges and financial angel contacts with their tough-guy, screw-the-concept-of-decency-it’s-boring-bourgeois-crap schtick (case in point: Ames’ incredible misogyny, especially his fetish for underage Russian hookers), so they have to make NSFW pay for itself (which might not be possible) or they’re done.

One Response to “Marcy Wheeler On The TSA And Ames/Levine’s Hate-On For Progressives And Libertarians Working Together”

  1. Charles II said

    No argument that Levine and Ames are not top drawer journalists. This was established a very long time ago.

    Also no argument that Poitras, Greenwald, Scahill, and Wheeler are great journalists and deserve to have their work published widely.

    NSFW gets its juice from Marc Andreesen. The WSJ gets its juice from Rupert Murdoch. Each sometimes published worthwhile stuff, amid lots of crap.

    We’ll see what FirstLook does.

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