Glenn Greenwald Starting His Own News Organization

This is major. BuzzFeed was out first with the story (hat tip Deontos via Business Insider):

Greenwald, 46, published revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about the extent of American and British domestic spying and about officials’ deception about its scope. He said he is departing for a new, “once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity” with major financial backing, the details of which will be public soon.

Both the Guardian and Greenwald bent over backwards to say nice things about each other, so there is no sign that the normal journalistic process or Guardian’s commitment of resources to the NSA reporting had anything to do with Greenwald leaving.

I hope this works out well for him. We could use more independent voices and platforms. The potential flies in the ointment are that Greenwald will be have to commit time to the business of the business (which even with big funding and professional managers will still take time away from Greenwald’s own writing and reporting) and whether his backers will be truly hands off. But let’s keep our fingers crossed that this proves to be every bit as good as it sounds for Greenwald and the state of reporting generally.

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  1. JohnB

    Wow, nice. I’ve been following his writing for at least half a decade now, and have always been very impressed with how impeccably researched, thought-out and well expressed his writing has been; he has a level of clarity of expression and critical thought (among more I’m not sure how to express), that I don’t think there are many writers out there that can approach him.

    This should be very interesting, and if it means new up-and-coming journalists who can work with and learn from him, who can be protégé’s, that can only be good.

    I’m not sure I’d have the right qualities or experience to be a journalist, but it’s writing like Glenn’s and much of what I’ve read here and on NEP, that would certainly make me want to try; at the very least, it’s given me the impetus to learn in as much detail as I can, about important topics/injustices that have been written about.

  2. Bapoy

    Maybe he just figured out that the left is not what it was cracked up to be. Especially after all the intimidation following the Snowden case.

    If that’s the case, welcome to the light Greenwald. If not, hope the left propaganda machine runs out of cash and can’t pay.

    1. AbyNormal

      Agree! and i hope the same for the GOPedophile machine.

      “I don’t have a ‘side’—I’m responsible for what I say and nothing else.”
      ~Slamminn Glenn

    2. jrs

      Wait what is supposed to represent “the left” here? The Guardian? So a bunch of establishment corporate publications are “the left”? I mean if he expected them to automatically stand by him just because they are of a more liberal bent than other British rags, well ok, maybe a bit naive, I guess.

  3. RanDomino

    His oppositional and, dare I say it, journalistic attitude is good, but I can’t help but feel that he’s too sensationalistic. I mean, the way people were going into conniptions over the NSA revelations, you’d almost think they knew what they were talking about (not that they aren’t a big deal, but it’s amazing how many people suddenly had degrees in computer sciences).

    1. Patricia

      He has a hyperbolic style that can be off-putting but his info is precise and he has a mind like a trap. I think the combination is suited to this era.

      May he live long and always be busy.

  4. bh2

    Hope he’s wearing his flak jacket. He’s got a lot of powerful organizations eager to shoot him down.

  5. Bet Mulligan

    Will he be able to move about the globe freely? Working for the Guardian pretty much prevented him from being picked up (for any flimsy reason). But now?

  6. middle seaman

    Snowden comes once in a lifetime. Most of Greenwald’s writing boils down to European old style left concentrate. His opinions are rigid and quite hateful.

    I’ll skip this new source; I can get it from a hundred other places, but I wish Glenn luck.

    1. Jesse

      Snowden’s leak was a once in two generation event, which happened to go to Glenn Greenwald (and Poitras and Hellman). Doesn’t mean other sources won’t pass info to him in the future. Actually I’d say it radically increases it because they know he’ll report on it.

    2. Francois T

      “His opinions are rigid and quite hateful.”

      You must be confounding Greenwald with the other Glen.

    3. jrs

      “Most of Greenwald’s writing boils down to European old style left concentrate.”

      I haven’t read Greenwald that much since Snowden broke, and have no great desire to, unless it’s a critical story. But I don’t get the left accusation, yea sure he speaks at a socialist convention, and it’s amusing, but probably more than 95% of the time in his columns he never even talks about economics! It doesn’t seem to me you can be all that far left if you never even talk about economics.

      I never thought a strong civil liberties postion was left (not when libertarians want the exact same thing), and that is Greenwald’s conscious position, that and I guess critical of U.S. empire, which I guess has some legitimate claim of being left as it has some left tradition on the left.

    4. Foppe

      What does this even mean, other than that you don’t like him and want to give a “reason” for doing so?

    5. georgia

      “Hateful” is code for critical of Israel. Hence, middle seaman’s dislike of Greenwald. So predictable.

  7. Dikaios Logos

    I hope the major financial backing is the start of a trend. I’ve thought news and journalism is a great destination for philanthropic dollars. I read Jeremy Grantham has similar thoughts about independent journalism’s bang for the buck.

    Hmm, guess I need to make my NC contribution now!

  8. Roquentin

    I don’t want to downplay the good he’s done in exposing the extent of what the NSA was doing, because it was a good thing. Give credit when it’s due. Still, Greenwald used to run with the Cato Institute and a lot of his articles have the bad aftertaste of neoliberal ideology and libertarian politics. He’s worked pretty hard to distance himself from that image, to play it off like he’s a kind of liberal Don Quixote. It wears thin pretty fast. I also certainly don’t think he’ll save journalism with a new news organization.

    1. JohnB

      This is something I’ve been wondering about for a long time, and people like Mark Ames have been noting his Libertarian connections, which makes me rather curious.

      However, while he obviously is a civil Libertarian, I don’t yet know what his economic views are – he never expresses them, and the few tiny glints of this I’ve seen in the past, did sound a little unusual (but not substantive enough to make anything out of). I think the Citizens United topic was one he got some criticism on, but I don’t know a lot about it.

      It should be noted: I found out about Naked Capitalism, from his book With Liberty and Justice for Some (that or maybe a guest-blog from Yves, when he was at Salon), and I believe he referenced Bill Black in many parts of the book (though I could possibly be mistaken there).

      So, considering that, it would be my judgment, that he has a varied take on economics.

      I think much of the Libertarian ideology, that based on populist civil Libertarianism yet hiding more malignant economic views, can be a particularly poisonous influence on even the most intelligent of people, who may get drawn into this ideology, due to how it masquerades as intellectual, while having many layers of subtly-wrong/deceitful arguments, specifically designed to appear superficially credible and hook people in.

      After what I have learned the last couple of years about economics, I would be very disappointed if someone like Glenn, got intellectually corrupted by them.

      1. JohnB

        I read up on that eBay founder guy a bit, and he seems alright; if you look him up on Wikipedia, he’s not connected to any dodgy-looking business from what I can tell, and while I don’t know much about his personal beliefs, he doesn’t strike me as hardcore-Libertarian (though he does seem to have some Libertarian views; don’t know quite what they are though).

        At the very least, with being the chairman of eBay, he’ll have some understanding of the negative effects of fraud in the economy :p (immediately one-up on most Libertarians out there)

  9. Jesse

    Congrats Glenn!

    I, too, fear that we’re going to lose our interactions with him now that he’s going go be a businessman too. It was one of his blogs best features.

  10. Eureka Springs

    Well I clicked through RT on Dish/Sat. television this afternoon only to find it down for maintenance and wondered just how easy it would be to cut them or anyone else off. Would more than a few thousand people say anything if it happened? Or would most who even cared be too afraid to speak up?

    And I have agreed with Arthur Silbur who said all of the Snowden Docs should have been released immediately. After all at the rate they are being released now this page claims:

    26 Years to Release Snowden Docs by The Guardian

    Out of reported 15,000 pages, The Guardian has published 192 pages in fourteen releases over four months, an average of 48 pages per month, or 1.28% of the total. At this rate it will take 26 years for full release.

    That said, one of the best things he could do is create a much larger organization filled with people willing and eager to take on the lying beast. I don’t envy his task, but I sure admire it and wish him only the best.

    The pearl-clutchers who find him to be a bit hyperbolic make me laugh. I sometimes wonder what exactly would it take to justify hyperbole in their opinion. Since monitoring every single citizens words and movement without warrant isn’t enough. Or the lies which keep us mired in war and torture, etc. aren’t enough as well.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Eureka(!), this is almost certainly about “intense pressure” on the Guardian by the Brits re Snowden. From Buzz:

      He told BuzzFeed in August that he had not shared all of Snowden’s files with The Guardian, and that “only [filmmaker] Laura [Poitras] and I have access to the full set of documents which Snowden provided to journalists.” The Guardian, facing intense pressure from the British government, has continued to publish Snowden’s revelations at a deliberate pace in recent weeks.

      This tracks with a statement GG made earlier that we’d get more NSA revelations soon. If Obama does not get him first, we’re about to get a much faster download of the Odious O’s crimes.

  11. Francois T

    SHould he secured a very competent business administrator to free him to do real journalism, it is fair to say that Glennzilla shall roar!

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Should he secure his own personal security that is. I do hope that is his top priority because he is exposing high crimes of ruthless and powerful killers.

  12. lexrex1215

    In January of this year, Glenn found it necessary to debunk a number of falsehoods that have been spread about him, including the ones about Cato and being a right-wing libertarian. At first, he shrugged them off, but eventually responded, because “the point of these falsehoods is to attack and discredit the messenger in lieu of engaging the substance of the critiques.” In typical Greenwald thoroughness, he fully addresses the following lies on his website

    Frequently Told Lies (FTLs)

    1. I work/worked for the Cato Institute
    2. I’m a right-wing libertarian
    3. I supported the Iraq War and/or George Bush
    4. I moved to Brazil to protest US laws on gay marriage
    5. Because I live in Brazil, I have no “skin in the game” for US politics
    6. I was sanctioned or otherwise punished for ethical violations in my law practice

  13. barrisj

    Perhaps Greenwald will do a digital-age version of the IF Stone’s Weekly, which was one of my main sources for real news back in the day. True investigative journalism on any platform is hard to come by these days, and I surely hope that GG has deep-pockets backing for his new effort.

  14. Kim Kaufman

    Amy Goodman reported that Jeremy Scahill will be joining. A good sign. I don’t know about the spat between GG and Mark Ames, it seems a little petty and insidery. Best to read many people and not depend on one person to be an expert in every issue.

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