I’ll just let Jamie Kirchick tell the story: Defending Putin’s Propagandists.
Over the past week, I have been the recipient of a deluge of attacks on Twitter from RT fans alleging that I was somehow behind Wahl’s resignation. This afternoon, a gentleman identifying himself as Kevin Gosztola, who writes for the left-wing website FireDogLake, left a message on my cell phone. He claimed to be working on a project for First Look Media — the high-profile investigative journalism start-up that employs, among others, Glenn Greenwald. (First Look’s top editor says the Gosztola has nothing to do with the outlet. More on that in a second.) I post Gosztola’s missive verbatim:
“So you don’t deny that you encouraged Liz Wahl to resign. We are going to be publishing a story at First Look Media and I know that you’re going to be losing control of the narrative that you’ve managed to create around Liz Wahl’s resignation. We have multiple sources.
“It’s fairly obvious that you have orchestrated this as part of some Foreign Policy Initiative [the think tank where I work] agenda. And this is what we’re going to be putting out there. So your fun little charade, public stunt that you’ve been putting on which the media has completely eaten up here in the United States, is hopefully over.
“If you have any comment and if you’d like to respond to me and prove that this is not how it is, you let me know. But otherwise we are ready to go. And, you know, you like to ‘fuck with the Russians’ and we’re going to respond to that and let people know where you’re coming from as you have worked with Liz Wahl to expose what you call a propaganda network.”
“When did you stop beating your wife,” does not begin to do justice to the nature [of] this rant. The call’s threatening tone is appropriate, though, for someone determined to defend the reputation of the Kremlin. What’s less understandable is why First Look Media—a new journalism venture that’s supposedly dedicated to investigating the excesses of government and corporate power—would join in.
That’s because First Look is not, in fact, involved. “Kevin [Gosztola] doesn’t work for First Look Media. He apparently spoke to Glenn [Greenwald] about the possibility of doing a story for [First Look], but Glenn hasn’t given him an assignment or a contract,” Eric Bates, executive editor of First Look Media, told The Daily Beast in an email. “Glenn let Kevin know that he shouldn’t be representing himself as acting on behalf of First Look.”
Greenwald isn’t exactly a RT critic, it should be noted.