There certainly is plenty to read about Glenn Greenwald today. Learning more about his life is kind of interesting but most of it feels voyeuristic to me. I think the most important revelation is that he has admitted that he approaches journalism the same way he pursued lawsuits. His style is litigious and argumentative and intentionally one-sided. If there is a counterargument to his case, it’s your job to describe it, not his.

As a partisan writer, I know that I am going to be writing things from a certain perspective and I am not necessarily interested in being fair. But there is a little voice in my head that tells me when I am writing something that is factually inaccurate or that is grossly incomplete. When that voice speaks, I obey. Greenwald doesn’t. He puts that voice in a little box titled “opposing counsel.”

This trait is more noticeable to me now that he’s trained his sights on a Democratic administration rather than a Republican one, but it can be seen in his style from the beginning. I admire his moral consistency, but his litigious style undermines his credibility in much the same way as George Will and Charles Krauthammer’s partisan style undermines their credibility. It’s not quite the same, however. Will and Krauthammer will basically say anything if they think it will advance their cause. Greenwald doesn’t make things up or change positions whenever it suits him. But he is intentionally unfair. He’s not even remotely interested in being fair.

And that is something his readers need to know when they are evaluating his arguments. Just like a juror shouldn’t take a prosecutor’s word as Gospel, even people who like and admire Greenwald should read him with a skeptical eye.

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