Journalist Glenn Greenwald slammed people on Twitter who were engaging
on Wednesday in what he described as “smug football-spiking glee” in
response to Rep.-elect Luke Letlow’s (R-LA) death from COVID-19.
Greenwald was responding to a tweet from Daily Beast editor Molly
Jong-Fast, who posted a video of Letlow urging the economy to reopen in October. “He died of coronavirus yesterday at 41 years old,” she said
simply in response to the video.
“The smug football-spiking glee over Luke Letlow’s death at 41 is one
of the most repulsive things I’ve seen on this site,” Greenwald wrote. “Celebrating death is repugnant in all cases but he wasn’t a COVID
denier. Urging that the costs of isolation & economic ruin be
considered isn’t denialism[.]”
“Many deaths are caused by careless choices: people don’t eat well;
they don’t exercise; they smoke, drink or take drugs; they don’t have
safe sex; they drive when tired. But we still mourn their deaths as
tragic, not giggle that they got what they deserved — except
sociopaths,” Greenwald continued.
Greenwald went on to offer the example of Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA),
who tested positive for COVID-19 after rallying for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Atlanta. “Do you think
that’s karmic justice, that if he dies it’s just [desserts]?” he asked.
“Basic human decency isn’t that hard,” Greenwald added.
Greenwald was met with pushback, including from Fast, who said,
“Personally as someone who is 42, the idea of dying at 41 really scares
me. This is not about dunking this about fear.”
Responding to a user who called his death “a lesson for people not
taking the virus seriously,” Greenwald maintained Letlow did take it
seriously and often wore masks.
Replies to Fast’s initial tweet were replete with mean-spirited
condemnation toward Letlow, which Greenwald drew upon to make his point
to political scientist Ian Bremmer that Fast’s followers understood her implication “perfectly well.”
“Read the comments underneath the tweet,” he urged. “Her message was
clear: she chose a video where he said that economic shutdown is
causing great harm to imply he was a COVID denier. Same here – their
followers all got the message loud and clear[.]” He also linked to a
similar tweet from Vox journalist Aaron Rupar.
“I’m not cherry-picking: here are the first five responses,” Greenwald
said. “Most are like this or worse. Same with Aaron’s tweets. Everyone
knows the point conveyed[.]” The tweets he featured included sentiments
such as “Natural selection. He literally murdered himself,” “This guy
literally drank the Kool Aid and died,” and “It appears he didn’t take
COVID seriously and it had the last laugh!”
“People do a lot for re-tweets and social media attention. It’s like
crack. And it’s even worse when one’s brain sits in a partisan oven all
day. I don’t exempt myself. Twitter fosters the worst in human nature.
People got the exact message she (and Aaron) purposely conveyed,”
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