Glenn Greenwald Resigns from the Intercept Over Censorship of Article on Hunter and Joe Biden

Glenn Greenwald resigned from the Intercept over its refusal to publish a story at odds with the prevailing narrative on the Hunter Biden laptop story, that it is a moshup of a nothingburger and a dastardly Russian plot.

In Greenwald’s post on his departure, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter not only describes how the Intercept has abandoned its founding mission of skeptical, hard-hitting, “no favorites” reporting and won’t even consider publishing the work of journalists who depart from good mainstream thinking. Greenwald also called out demonstrable Biden-flattering distortions in previous accounts published by the Intercept on l’affaire laptop.

The Intercept has shamelessly tried to spin Greenwald’s resignation as that of an artiste refusing to submit to editing…..when Greenwald’s agreement with the Intercept, like his earlier contracts with Salon and the Guardian, effectively exempted him from editorial intervention, save for statements that could expose the publication to liability. If you read the e-mails between Greenwald and his editors over the article, which Greenwald also published, the editors never once asserted that Greenwald’s piece would create legal risk, nor do they respond to his demand that they specify inaccuracies that merit revision.1

Greenwald’s agreement also prohibited the Intercept from preventing Greenwald from running a piece elsewhere if they rejected it, yet his editors attempted to violate his contract a second time by insisting he could not run his article elsewhere.

In a brief appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show, Greenwald hones in on the underlying issue, which is the intelligence community’s increasingly open intervention in US politics and the “liberal” media’s eager embrace of their propagandizing:

Greenwald describes how his vision for the Intercept was for it to be extremely wary of the claims of the intelligence community:

This is the real story of last four years of the Trump Administration. For a long time on the left, there was a healthy skepticism of the CIA, there was a lot of anti-war activism in the Bush and Cheney years. That has all disappeared. And the reason it’s disappeared is because the CIA, from the very first days of the Trump Administration, even before he was inaugurated, devoted themselves to sabotaging the Administration because Donald Trump questioned just a few of their pieties, and even that can’t be done in Washington, and whoever does that must be destroyed. So the CIA and the deep state operatives became heroes of the liberal left, the people who support the Democratic Party. They’re now in a full union with neocons, the Bush operatives, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. That is the union of power, along with mainstream media outlets that are fully behind the Democratic Party, which is likely to at least take over one branch of government if not all of them in them in the coming election. It’s a very alarming proposition because they are authoritarian, they believe in censorship, and they believe in suppression of information that exposes them in any kind of a critical light.

To be quite honest, I’m amazed Greenwald is still standing. During the publication of the Snowden documents, it seemed entirely plausible that Greenwald would eventually get the Assange treatment; recall how he and Laura Poitras stayed out of the US and dared the intel state by entering the US to collect a journalism award. Recall also how Greenwald’s husband Daniel Miranda was detained at Heathrow and had all of his electronic gear taken from him; in response to Miranda’s complaint, the UK tried claiming that Miranda was engaged in terrorism.

Greenwald more recently crossed swords with Jair Bolosonaro, the right wing president of Greenwald’s home country, Brazil, by exposing judicial corruption that facilitated the successful prosecution of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, which made him ineligible to run for re-election. The government indicted Greenwald on 126 counts of felony. From what I can tell, a judge has yet to approve the government’s charges, which means the case is not advancing. But that’s quite a sword of Damocles to have hanging over your head.

I’m not surprised that things went sour at the Intercept. Greenwald in his talk to Tucker Carlson highlighted Silicon Valley as a key ally of the security state. The Intercept’s moneybags, eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, is a big Democratic party donor. I sincerely doubt the editors consulted with Omidyar in their defacto refusal to run Greenwald’s Biden piece or in the blowup that ensued. But the flip side is I doubt they had to….in classic working towards the Fuhrer behavior.

Some were critical of Greenwald for leaving the Guardian and taking the Snowden archives with him…..and publication of their contents did dry up after he started the Intercept. The reason I’m not sure this development is as questionable as it looks is that Snowden has had plenty of access to the media, and he could have called out Greenwald if Snowden thought the Intercept was blocking the release of more documents.

Nevertheless, the Intercept has gone in short order from regularly publishing important pieces to being a damp squib, save for Greenwald’s and Lee Fang’s pieces. I used to look pretty much daily at my RSS feed to look for new Intercept stories. I can’t recall doing that except by accident in the two years.

Even so, Greenwald’s signature no-holds-barred description of how the Intercept went south confirms the David Einhorn saying, “No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse.” From his post announcing his resignation:

The current iteration of The Intercept is completely unrecognizable when compared to that original vision. Rather than offering a venue for airing dissent, marginalized voices and unheard perspectives, it is rapidly becoming just another media outlet with mandated ideological and partisan loyalties, a rigid and narrow range of permitted viewpoints (ranging from establishment liberalism to soft leftism, but always anchored in ultimate support for the Democratic Party), a deep fear of offending hegemonic cultural liberalism and center-left Twitter luminaries, and an overarching need to secure the approval and admiration of the very mainstream media outlets we created The Intercept to oppose, critique and subvert….

Making all of this worse, The Intercept — while gradually excluding the co-founders from any role in its editorial mission or direction, and making one choice after the next to which I vocally objected as a betrayal of our core mission — continued publicly to trade on my name in order to raise funds for journalism it knew I did not support…

The most egregious, but by no means only, example of exploiting my name to evade responsibility was the Reality Winner debacle. As The New York Times recently reported, that was a story in which I had no involvement whatsoever….The person who oversaw, edited and controlled that story was Betsy Reed…

It was Intercept editors who pressured the story’s reporters to quickly send those documents for authentication to the government — because they was eager to prove to mainstream media outlets and prominent liberals that The Intercept was willing to get on board the Russiagate train. They wanted to counter-act the perception, created by my articles expressing skepticism about the central claims of that scandal, that The Intercept had stepped out of line on a story of high importance to U.S. liberalism and even the left…

But The Intercept, to this very day, has refused to provide any public accounting of what happened in the Reality Winner story: to explain who the editors were who made mistakes and why any of it happened.

Ouch.

Greenwald is his relentless self in the Biden draft too. So as not to deter you from reading it in full, we’ll highlight only a few of its key points:

The laptop archives have been subjected to the same types of tests of veracity as other record troves (third party verifications, plus lack of denials), yet these are dismissed when others meeting these standards have been widely publicized

Claims that “the Russians done it” are absurd on their face and those wanting to sell that line can’t even bring themselves to get any closer than tortured insinuations

Biden’s denial of his involvement in the ouster of the Ukrainian prosecutor as well as the fallback defense, that his replacement didn’t benefit Burisma, are at odds with new evidence

Greenwald’s story incorporates two accounts from last Sunday, one from the New York Times, the other from Matt Taibbi:

The New York Times on Sunday reached a similar conclusion: while no documents prove that such a deal was consummated, “records produced by Mr. Bobulinski show that in 2017, Hunter Biden and James Biden were involved in negotiations about a joint venture with a Chinese energy and finance company called CEFC China Energy,” and “make clear that Hunter Biden saw the family name as a valuable asset, angrily citing his ‘family’s brand’ as a reason he is valuable to the proposed venture.”

These documents also demonstrate, reported the Times, “that the countries that Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned to target for deals overlapped with nations where Joe Biden had previously been involved as vice president.” Strassel noted that “a May 2017 ‘expectations’ document shows Hunter receiving 20% of the equity in the venture and holding another 10% for ‘the big guy’—who Mr. Bobulinski attests is Joe Biden.” And the independent journalist Matt Taibbi published an article on Sunday with ample documentation suggesting that Biden’s attempt to replace a Ukranian prosecutor in 2015 benefited Burisma.

Greenwald also excoriates many journalists for their lickspittle behavior in either amplifying howlers or going the “nothing to see here” route.

Matt Taibbi quickly published his take on the Greenwald-Intercept blowup, which is also very much worth reading, and not just because it gives NC a shout-out.2

Taibbi has also regularly been attacked on trumped-up charges when his real sin was taking up the wrong cause. Recall how his book on Eric Garner, I Can’t Breathe (which a former prosecutor in our readership says is excellent) was denied reviews due to spurious allegations that he’d treated the women in his office badly when he’d worked at The Exile in Moscow. That smear was debunked by a writer who bothered tracking down those women, all of whom were perplexed at the idea that they’d had any problems with Taibbi or his partner Mark Ames.

Taibbi translates the early exchanges between Greenwald and the higher ups. It’s clear they weren’t keen with the piece Greenwald wanted to write. From Taibbi:

The first hint of trouble came when [editor Betsy] Reed suggested that yes, it might be a story, if proven correct, but “even if it did represent something untoward about Biden,” that would “represent a tiny fraction of the sleaze and lies Trump and his cronies are oozing in every day.”

When Greenwald retorted that deciding not to report on one politician’s scandals because those of another politician are deemed worse is a “corrupt calculus” for reporters, Reed expressed concern. Based on this, on his comments on Twitter, and other factors, she worried that “we are headed for a conflict over the editing of this piece.”

Greenwald insisted he wasn’t planning an overwhelming amount of coverage but wanted to do a single article, reviewing the available facts and perhaps asking the Biden campaign to comment on the veracity of the Post story. Reed agreed that he should write a draft, then they could “see where we are.”

Greenwald also took umbrage at the notion that the likes of James Risen would have a say. Again from Taibbi:

Essentially, Reed was telling Greenwald his piece would be quasi-edited by people with whom he’d had major public disagreements about Russia-related issues going back years.

To this, Greenwald responded that this was a double-standard: when Risen wrote an article credulously quoting intelligence officials like James Clapper, John Brennan, and Michael Hayden (more on the extreme irony of this later) describing the Post story as having “the classic earmarks of Russian misinformation,” he could do so willy-nilly. But when Greenwald wanted to write an op-ed piece questioning the “prevailing wisdom on Biden and Burisma,” a team of people would would be summoned.

“The only reason people are getting interested in and ready to scrutinize what I write is because everyone is afraid of being accused of having published something harmful to Biden,” Greenwald told them. “That’s the reality.”

Needless to say, I strongly urge you to read all the key documents: Greenwald’s resignation post, his draft article, the e-mails with his editors about the piece, and Taibbi’s assessment. Oh, and subscribe to Greenwald and Taibbi and be generous!!!

Finally, Greenwald’s abrupt departure also reveals widespread, craven careerism among soi-disant reporters. The Intercept has disgracefully been attempting to fund-raise off the back of Greenwald’s departure, and its writers are also amplifying its bogus claims about Greenwald being uncooperative (What about “He has a special contactual deal” don’t you understand?).

“Running dog” has lost its sting as a epithet for mindless, brutal pack followership; they look like hyenas to me:

Needless to say, this disgraceful episode confirms our decision to run a bare-bones operation, funded by many small and a few not so small (but nowhere big enough to push us around) donations. So we remain extremely grateful for your readership and support.

____

1 The arrogance of Greenwald’s editors is remarkable. The smart way to have thwarted his piece would have been to nitpick the text and tie him up with substantiating and negotiating the language so that the piece didn’t run until Monday early AM at the earliest. Even if they didn’t water it down all that much, delaying publication so that the story didn’t appear soon enough to have much pre-election impact should have suited their ends. But they must have been too lazy to be willing to engage in an editing trench war with Greenwald, particularly since he unquestionably had more command of the subject matter than they did.

Some on Twitter are nevertheless taking up the Intercept party line that Greenwald was not cooperating with editing. Aside from the fact that editors were violating Greenwald’s contract in attempting to intervene in his piece, their comments didn’t amount to editing (recall I’ve written for publication since 1994). They were no specific structural, paragraph, or sentence level comments or suggested revisions. They were high level objections to the thrust of the piece, almost entirely without meaningful substantiation.

One also has to wonder if the Intercept editors had decided to declare war on Greenwald (the egregious violation of his contract with them amounts to that) for his sin of appearing on Joe Rogan, shortly after Rogan also gave Alex Jones an extended interview.

2 Per Lambert: “Proudly Listed By PropOrNot”™

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154 comments

    1. ArvidMartensen

      It doesn’t matter at all to them that Greenwald has gone. Funded by a billionaire who wants his point of view amplified, the Intercept is in no danger of being closed down. Unless they cross Omidyar.
      Their jobs are secure. Isn’t that all that matters?

      Reply
      1. Knifecatcher

        That was an important and underemphasized point raised by Greenwald in his Rising interview. He said that the Intercept pays extremely generous salaries to reporters who hardly write anything at all, let alone anything of substance, and that it doesn’t really matter whether the stories are read or not. There are no advertisers and their subscription base is a relatively unimportant revenue source compared to Omidyar’s deep pockets.

        So if the Intercept has become basically a sinecure for has-been or never-was reporters like Jim Risen it shouldn’t be surprising that the other reporters turned on Greenwald rather than biting the hand that feeds them. Lee Fang is the one notable, and I expect soon to be unemployed, exception.

        Reply
    2. greensachs

      I have not perused the commentariat so as to avoid redundancy. I yet believe there is much good work being done at The Intercept from the likes of Ryan Grimm, Mehdi Hassan, Jeremy Scahill, Lee Fang, Jon Schwarz and Naomi Klein and fairly recent piece by James Galbraith, pushing a potential Biden Administration in meaningful ways, much of which was toward public utility. That’s typically not your central banker, centrist Democrat or private equity view. And certainly more than the “verbal gesturing” platform of the Democratic Party.

      Reply
  1. vidimi

    this made for a very entertaining and insightful evening on twitter yesterday: really showed who is on which side.

    The Intercept’s rebuttal seems very unprofessionally and overdefensive in “the lady doth protest too much” way. reading all the arguments on both sides, it is quite clear to me that arguments of editing are disingenuous for the reasons mentioned above – letting intel agency be repeated unchallenged and GG’s contractual clause. It’s obviously a political disagreement that GG could not land stand on principle.

    I am also disappointed in the reactions of a lot of TI staff following his departure, some of whom were jubilant (A.Lacey), which stems mostly from GG’s defense of Lee Fang. Furthermore, TI has succeeded in making their reporters feel personally criticised by GG, even though he made it clear it was editorial differences leading to his departure and that TI remains full of excellent journalists.

    the most disappointing to me was Naomi Klein’s reaction, since she was someone I had looked up to since the Shock Doctrine, or perhaps even since AdBusters. Unfortunately, she fell into the “ends justify the means to stop Trump” camp last night. Perhaps the Grayzone’s exposé on her was not just a gratuitous hit job.

    So now the Grayzone becomes the premier independent journalism outlet in my eyes. They can get too vicious in internecine fighting on the left, but they are rarely, if ever, wrong. Needless to say, I’m done with TI, just like I am done with the Guardian.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      “…really showed who is on which side.”

      This is perhaps the most significant contribution of the Trump era. It has really exposed the fake pseudo-progressive defenders of the Establishment for what they are, and served to identify those few journalistic sources with integrity. Thank you Yves and NC for being one of the latter. We need you more than ever these days.

      Reply
      1. QuarterBack

        Agreed. I think that this is true for the GOP side as well, which is why there is so much hatred in multiple power camps. There is an insidiously stealthy push from both parties for neoliberal, globalist monopolies supported by censorship, spying, and the barrel of a gun. The governmental and private power players have a gentleman’s agreement to not fret about blustering on social, environmental, and other issues outside their primary objectives. Such off topic arguments are largely to distract the general public (deplorables) from the prime objectives. As long as the public agrees to give them extralegal veto power over all resource and personal rights, the public can bicker and have whatever else it likes. Let them burn their energy off duking it out.

        Reply
      2. Dirk77

        Is someone taking names? Apart from a few people, I can’t keep track of who has gone off the rails or not (according to my view of course). Are there historians who are documenting all of this?

        Reply
        1. pjay

          We all probably have our own lists. Mine is pretty long. But it tends to break down into three groups: (1) those who posed as “left” or “progressive” but were always pretty obviously pretenders (to me); (2) those whom I *thought* were doing good work at one time, but only because of my own ignorance or limited knowledge; and (3) those whom I am still convinced *used* to do good work, and perhaps still can, but for one reason or another have given in to the “dark side” (ironically, one of these wrote a very good book by that title, once upon a time).

          A few of these names appear in comments below.

          Reply
    2. freedomny

      I was shocked by Klein’s reaction. Incredibly unprofessional. And Ryan Grimm asking for Intercept $ on twitter….pathetic.

      Reply
      1. Dikaios Logos

        I was surprised by neither of those. One of those folks has interviewed me and I’ve followed the other for years. Neither of them has really wanted to see a different world, but both of them have wanted a cozy little niche on the edge of professional class respectability.

        Reply
        1. Dirk77

          I remember years ago, the American Physical Society published a poll of its membership. One question was: “What gives you the most satisfaction in your career?” Since these are physicists, you’d have expected them all to (at least pretend to) say it was figuring out how nature works and presenting evidence in as objective way as possible. No, the most common answer was: acceptance by their peers. And now fast forward to 2020. A president who right from the start has acted to gain the respect of other members in the billionaire country club, and an almost entire profession of journalists who just want to be invited to cool dinner parties – when they aren’t grinding whatever ideological axe that mashup of neurons between their ears is holding.

          Reply
          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            Perhaps the most subversive book I’ve read in recent years is Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives, by Jeff Schmidt, a genuine progressive lefty. The author was/is an editor for the American Physical Society and was fired for writing this book. He filed suit and the issue was settled out of court with, IIRC, him getting his job back. Copies of the book are hard to find, perhaps by design.

            Reply
            1. Jhoblho

              That book got me through grad school :) I laughed at Schmidt’s stories because they’re so typical! I have nothing but a useless master’s degree and significant student debt because I did not bend the knee.

              Reply
            2. Dirk77

              Interesting. He worked for Physics Today, and APS is just one of the organizations that give members subscription to it, but your point is taken. I will look it up. Thanks.

              Reply
            3. apleb

              I wouldn’t call it hard to find when the first ddg hit for the full title links to a well known river named onlinestore as an ebook, in hardcover and paperback.

              Reply
  2. Aumua

    I really wish he wouldn’t go to gd Tucker… I do not like him at all. I think it reflects badly on Greenwald, in spite of his legitimate grievance and story, which I did read. It makes his article look like just another part of the far right hysteria about Hunter Biden.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      To be fair, would CNN let him appear on his show to explain his position? Maybe MSNBC? The New York Times? The Washington Post? The BBC? He went on Tucker Carlson as he is certainly blacklisted from every other media outlet. He might get a session with Joe Rogan or Jimmy Dore but the doors of the main stream media would be solidly shut against him.

      Knew six years ago when he went in with Pierre Omidyar that it would end in tears and am surprised that he lasted so long. My own guess is that The Intercept figured that as old Joe will win next week ushering in general censorship next year, that Greenwald was no longer required for his services. Greenwald does have his flaws such as the time he went along with Russiagate, but he is a much more mature reporter now. He bears watching for the work that he will be still doing.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        I was skeptical of the Intercept when Taibbi quit before it even got off the ground. I liked Scahill but never some much from him at the Intercept and not even sure what he’s doing these days. Joining the Intercept seemed to take all the real hard hitting reporting right out of him.

        Glad Greenwald did the right thing. I have followed his career from the beginning, as he was fearless in taking on the bush administration, winning widespread acclaim. When he did the same against the Obama administration he lost a lot of his former support, but his stature grew in my mind – so sick of the ‘It’s Ok if my team does it’ mentality we see from so many supposed journalists and politicians.

        Anybody know what the deal with substack is regarding subscriptions? I can sometimes read the articles and sometimes not, and don’t really know what the platform is all about, but I’d be happy to throw a few bucks toward Greenwald and Taibbi if they are the ones who would directly benefit, since they are two of the only journalists left worth a damn.

        Reply
        1. Dirk77

          It’s $50/year for Taibbi and Yasha Levine I think. It might be the same with Greenwald. My view is that if I bought the newspaper everyday like in the past, I’d be spending $400 per year. So I support journalism at that level.

          Reply
          1. Shonde

            Having subscribed previously to Taibbi, Levine and yesterday to Greenwald, I can say that so far all are $50 per year.

            Reply
      2. ambrit

        “..ushering in general censorship next year, ”
        There you have it in a nutshell. The tools are in place. The internet platforms have the algos ready to begin “screening” sites and, probably, individual commenters.
        This is a situation where the military doctrine of “full spectrum dominance” becomes literally true. That I cite a military term is important. The “war on dissidence” is about to kick into gear.
        Am I playing the Cassandra here? Even I won’t know until this time next year.

        Reply
        1. Aumua

          I’ve been fomenting an opinion about all this for some time, and I think this could be an opportunity to realize that we really shouldn’t be relying on these platforms too much. In some sense it was always a deal with the devil to reach such a wide audience with ease, and it should come as no shock that payment is now coming due. It has long been known that these giant social media platforms are commercial, corporate, not free or open source and tied in with the national security apparatus so cry censorship all you want, the capitalist’s bottom line has always been more important than the wishes of it’s commodities (in this case us). We have no say in their practices and never did.

          The solution is to take the hit in raw views and take a more DIY approach, such as NC does. Use these smaller platforms like Substack, or get an offshore VPS and host your own website. It’s a step backwards in some sense but everything’s a trade off in this world. The tools to do an end run around the system and disseminate information securely and freely have always been there if we can look past the shiny promise of power and $$$ offered by the Beast itself.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I wonder if, considering the commonality of interests of the transnational elites, any internet venue world wide will be safe.
            One defining aspect of any social system is that it eventually begins to enforce conformity to a narrow and defined set of values. The McCarthy phenomenon of the 1940s and 1950s is a case in point. The brave ones suffered for their honesty while the corrupt prospered. The very idea of a platform is the problem. Any technology is vulnerable to the machinations of those who understand it and hold the gatekeeping positions in it. Today, those gatekeepers are the Silicon Valley Robber Barons. Tomorrow, who knows?
            Be vigilant, stay safe.

            Reply
          2. Jared

            The DOJ seized about 30 domains the other day, with no trial, no asking questions, no public discourse. All the seized domains and all their content are gone. So no, they will go to the domain registrars if they need.

            Reply
    2. .Tom

      I used to feel the same early in the Trump-Russia thing. The Intercept put on a debate between Jim Risen and Greenwald that was moderated by Jeremy Scahill. Somewhere in that debate (towards the end iirc) Scahill himself expressed the same sentiment that you do here and that I held then. Greenwald scolded Scahill explaining why that’s both hypocritical of him and shows a lack of journalistic integrity.

      That exchange was kinda shocking for me and nagged at me. Eventually I accepted that Greenwald was 100% right. If you believe the story is important to the public they you have to get it out there however you can.

      But more than that, the urge to avoid Tucker or Fox News is the same as the decision The Intercept’s NY editors made to refuse to publish Greenwald’s Biden article. It’s the urge to stay in with your clan. The editors strongly want to stay in with social class of liberal media insiders. I wanted to stay in with the Fox News haters and denounces.

      Since then I have decided that it’s better to acknowledge when Tucker is right and give him credit for a good story when it’s true. I learned this discipline of media clan independence partly from NC. For example, it’s better to give Trump credit where due than to try to skirt those points, dismiss them, or even take an opposing position simple because I want to oppose him.

      Reply
      1. pjay

        Also, where else is he going to go? The “liberal” media completely exclude progressive journalists who challenge the Establishment narrative. Then, when they end up on RT or Fox (or Joe Rogan), they use that as proof that these journalists should be ignored. It’s a nice racket. Each tribe can remain in their respective information bubbles, and “divide-and-rule” wins again.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          The Establishment types may be very sorry if they think they can relegate people to Joe Rogan where they can then be written off, because people seem to be listening to Joe Rogan these days a lot more than they do with establishment media.

          Rogan just got a huge contract with Spotify and just recently had on Alex Jones before having Greenwald the next day. Rogan did a great job with Alex Jones (at least for the first 30-45 I watched), giving props when deserved and calling him on his BS when he started talking nonsense. In those last two episodes, a guy who’d probably rather be talking about MMA and stand up comedy showed millions of people how journalism should be done.

          I don’t watch Rogan religiously – generally only when he interviews scientists or political figures – but I wouldn’t have started watching him at all if not for the shrieking TDS infected harpies trying to shout him down which made me wonder what all the fuss was about and tune in. He’s really a pretty reasonable guy, willing to admit he doesn’t know everything (even if he’s smarter than he likes to let on), and willing to learn from all of his guests. And he has a genuinely good time doing it.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            I’ve always listened to Joe Rogan and liked his content. I didn’t really care that he had Alex Jones on there or whatever, but seeing this Gavin McInnes compilation last month kind of cooled me off to him. Rogan hasn’t really responded to this in any way I would consider appropriate. I haven’t listened to him since. I don’t know if I will, maybe.

            https://twitter.com/VicBergerIV/status/1306805724975046659

            Reply
            1. lyman alpha blob

              Thanks for the clip. I’d never heard of McInnes until your link and from the clip, it appears Rogan didn’t know about the Proud Boys prior to McInnes becoming a guest on his show. Then the clip goes straight to McInnes calling for violence on his own show, not Rogan’s, and doesn’t show what he said on Rogan’s show or Rogan’s response.

              That Mcinnes guy is indisputably vile, but there are plenty of people I’ve seen try to take Rogan out of context to demonize him (like when they tried to use his endorsement as a cudgel against Sanders earlier this year) and that clip doesn’t provide much context at all. Rogan has never come across as anything other than a decent human being during the times I’ve given him a long listen in context.

              You may want to check out his interview with Greenwald if you haven’t already, where he discusses how now that he has a larger platform than he’s ever imagined, he’s learned there are big responsibilities that go with it, something he never had to consider when his audience was smaller.

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      2. lyman alpha blob

        Same here. I used to write off Fox completely but not any more. As we like to say around here, Trump has been very clarifying, and if you want news about the Democrat party, Fox does print certain stories that other media outlets won;t touch, for reason made clear by Greenwald’s resignation.

        Carlson has his faults to be sure, but I was really surprised by his coverage not long ago of how the Bass Pro Shops takeover of Cabela’s led by corporate villain Paul Singer ruined the small town in Nebraska where Cabela’s had been based. That took some guts and is not something you see much on the corporate media at all.

        So good on Tucker for having Greenwald on when nowhere else will give him the time of day.

        Reply
        1. .Tom

          Supporting economic populism means forming a coalition on shared economic interests that spans the topics used by entrenched power to divide us: left/right, city/country, race, culture war, identity etc… Carlson has done good work on economic populism including the example you cite. That he’s an odious whore for the man on other topics designed to divide us is also true. So what are you doing to do? The mission of the coalition has to have priority or it cannot be formed.

          The question of Greenwald on Carlson is analogous. If the priority is to explain the collaboration of liberal media, federal security powers, and the democratic party against Trump then you get that story out however you can.

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            I hear you – I’ve seen some of his views on protesting and racial issues and they aren’t the most enlightened. It would be nice if the media weren’t so fractured, but it is and it wasn’t an accident, so here we are.

            It feels like the old joke from the Soviet Russia where one would read Tass to find out the truth about the US, and US media to find out the truth about Russia.

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          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆
            THIS!!!!!

            Economic Populism is THE ONLY WAY for The World’s Public to take Power back.

            Reply
      3. montanamaven

        I also second this opinion on Tucker. I came to Tucker gradually and was often surprised when he bucked conventional wisdom like “pre school education” is good. He is a contrarian as am I. Can’t help it. I was born to see both sides of an argument. If Trump gets something right like Syria and senseless war in Afghanistan, great. Tucker takes on the powerful like nobody I’ve seen in a long time. He makes sense about Russia and calls out the bad reporting in a very entertaining way. I still believe a single payer system is the way to go and hope he will figure that one out too. And he’s funny.
        And Tucker’s Show is now #1 in Cable News. Fox is kicking everybody’s ass. So why wouldn’t you go on his show? The same show that had on the late great Prof. Stephen Cohen. Why not go on Joe Rogan with more viewers than Fox?

        Reply
        1. TBellT

          Afghanistan…

          Hmm the war that a majority of American supported for almost a decade. Yes it was merely a fault of the leaders… not the American voting public writ large.

          Reply
    3. vidimi

      what if he had gone on maddow? would that not reflect badly on him? or soledad’s or joy ann reid’s shows? is tucker any worse than any of the others?

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        Tucker represents some far right stuff, and I just don’t give it much quarter. Call it a personal preference. If you want to entertain that and flirt with it and give it the benefit of the doubt then go right ahead.

        Reply
          1. Aumua

            Yeah and I’m not really defending Maddow here, nor does it make any sense that Greenwald would go on her show since she would probably be in the camp that was against him talking about Hunter Biden. So she seems like somewhat of a red herring. I don’t know which one is ‘worse’, but like I said I have a strong personal bias against people who push alt-right/far-right philosophies, regardless of whether they may be correct here and there about some things. I don’t, to use the parlance of our times, f*ck with that.

            Reply
            1. TimmyB

              Let’s not pretend that Maddow would invite Greenwald on her show. The reason Greenwald goes on Fox is that is the only network that invites him on.

              Here’s how news networks like MSNBC, CNN and Fox work. Ratings are provided in almost real time, second by second. Any news segment that that causes viewership to drop is analyzed and that type of content is prohibited in the future.

              As a result, viewers are given a constant diet of red meat. Anti-Trump red meat at MSNBC and CNN and anti-Biden/Democrat red meat at Fox.

              It is literally impossible for Taibbi or Greenwald to be invited on MSNBC or CNN under these circumstances. They are truth-tellers and that is off putting to a large segment of people who’s only identity is hating Trump.

              Reply
        1. hemeantwell

          I think it’s misplaced to tick off pluses for everything Carlson “gets right.” It reminds me of experiments, if they deserve the name, in which frogs will submit to death by boiling if the temperature is raised gradually enough. The bottom line is whether or not you think the interests of the working class and whatever other subordinate classes we might conceptualize are going to be served by a right-wing demagogue. That’s what Carlson is. The sole reason he has a show is because he’s backed by people who only care about working class voters as targets of manipulation.

          Reply
    4. Tom Mog

      Carlson and Fox have been an invaluable in getting the word out about the scandals of the Biden crowd, why wouldn’t Greenwald want to visit to speak on his personal experience of being railroaded by Joe’s confederates? I suppose he could have gone to RT, but they just don’t have the same reach, sadly.

      Reply
    5. Jeff

      Reaching new audiences should be the goal of truth tellers. I get the reflexive avoidance of major media outlets, but if more people get to hear truth, audiences at least have the possibility of facing it – that what they believe about their team is wrong.

      Reminds me of this Matrix quote:
      “The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” – Morpheus

      Reply
  3. Fazal Majid

    Greenwald hones in on the underlying issue, which is the intelligence community’s increasingly open intervention in US politics

    They’ve always done that, and that is precisely why intelligence agencies are far more of a danger to democracies than the threat they ostensibly protect against. In this case, however, they are as divided as the rest of the country.

    Comey unnecessarily went public with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, thus throwing the election (as Ben Thompson forensically dissects in his analysis of the relative culpability of the media vs. social media in Trump’s election), not because he was against Clinton but because he knew there was a pro-Trump faction in the NY FBI office that would have leaked if he didn’t announce it himself, and like any bureaucratic weasel he opted to cover his own backside. The converse is also true, as Trump found to his chagrin (though he didn’t do himself any favors by impulsively firing Comey without following the proper forms).

    As for The Intercept, there was clearly frustration brewing before this latest incident. I don’t read their initial response as sinister. Greenwald is a lawyer by training and is insisting on the minutiae of how he put all the necessary caveats (that while Hunter Biden’s corruption is beyond doubt, there is no clear evidence either way as to his father’s collusion, even if it does smell funny), the editor’s comments are all about possible innuendo in how those unascertained points are presented, and the reasonable possibility of manipulation. It later degenerates, of course, but I think both parties are to blame.

    Reply
    1. Fazal Majid

      Also, the criticism of James Risen is a bit unfair. He is the one who broke the original story on the Bush-NSA warrantless wiretapping program, long before Snowden, only to have the NYT sit on it, and showed tremendous courage in forcing them to publish (even if it was going to happen anyway once USA Today broke the story the NYT was too spineless to do). That only makes his later credulity in obvious crooks like Clapper less comprehensible, but he is not a hack or a stenographer for the establishment unlike too many “journalists”.

      Reply
      1. pjay

        You make an important point about the “intelligence community” not being homogeneous. There are always factions within these agencies, and corresponding leaks that reflect differences between factions. Sometimes the public benefits, as with Risen’s NSA revelations and numerous stories by Seymour Hersh. But at other times, reliance on such “inside sources” can make one a useful idiot, having your great reputation used to launder disinformation. In my more charitable moments, I think this is what happened to Risen and many other journalists I used to admire with Russiagate. On that issue, I’m sorry, but for me Risen is indeed “a hack or a stenographer for the establishment.” Apparently a Pulitzer doesn’t make one infallible.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      So Clinton wasn’t already the most hated politician in the US and it was the email issue that turned the public against her? Come on, man. No need to twist yourself into a pretzel to explain why she lost – she was despised by a huge potion of the electorate, and had been for years.

      Reply
      1. apleb

        Clinton lost with such a small margin, so that any of:
        – didn’t campaign in battleground states,
        – made a stupid remark about deplorables,
        – openly cozied up to wall street with speaking engagements,
        – obstructed justice
        – is a lying corrupt excuse of a human being, –
        – showed pure psychopathy when talking about Gaddafi,

        any of those probably many many more. If any of those wouldn’t have happened, she wouldn’t have done, then she’d most probably won the election.

        So you can say, those emails were one of the many single things that she could have done better and won.

        Reply
      2. bmiller

        And yet the question is much larger:
        https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/how-the-west-lost-victory-communism-moral-defeat
        To your point: “Those analyzing the connection between Russia and Trump’s administration have looked in the wrong place. The explanation of Trump’s success is not that Putin somehow mesmerized American voters in 2016. It is that populations abandoned by their elites are liable to extreme political responses; and that societies whose economic elites have turned ethics into a joke should not be surprised if their political leaders too become scoundrels.”

        Reply
  4. shtove

    I just noticed Jeremy Scahill’s twitter feed has come back to life after going quiet over the summer. Looks like he had his sleeves rolled up for a documentary series on Trump. Any idea of his take on this?

    Reply
  5. Jack

    Yves thanks for covering this. I read the WAPO first thing in the am (its first on my long list of media organs I peruse to start the day, NC being 2nd). The WAPO had a story on the GG-The Intercept confrontation which I read and in the comments on that story I found a link to GG’s substack posting of the original story. Read that. Then my first thought as I clicked on my bookmarked NC link to head here was wouldn’t it be great if NC and Yves weighed in on this? And lo and behold, my wish was granted! Great article. Have been a long time fan of GG.

    Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    For anyone who doesn’t really know Greenwalds background and personality, I’d recommend watching the very long Joe Rogan interview this week (3 hours!). Although unfortunately Rogan didn’t seem too interested in the details of some of Greenwalds investigations, its a really good insight into what he believes in and the type of work he does. He is truly, genuinely fearless, as he happily lives in Brazil, a country where he is subject to very real death threats.

    Reply
    1. .Tom

      Cool, I didn’t know. Greenwald did a whole podcast about Rogan and how many left leaners dislike him just a few weeks ago.

      The interesting take home of that was that there can exist a kind of esprit de corps among certain social groups (or clan, as I put it in my reply to Aumua above) that depend on some untruths for their cohesion. So the group can be threatened by independent thought. That’s what makes Rogan despicable. He’ll pick away at any idea that interests him, not just the ones you think he ought to set his sights on.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “That’s what makes Rogan despicable.” ???? Despicable to Silo dwellers? Just a bit of confusion I guess.
        I thought that one strategy for success on any general public platform is variety. By being somewhat esoteric, Rogan pulls in a much larger audience to engage with otherwise niche subjects. NC does something similar in that it focuses on finance but is not averse to taking on related subjects such as climate change, political clashes and the like.

        Reply
        1. .Tom

          I don’t think Rogan is despicable at all. The podcast I referred to explains why many “left” and “liberal” people denounce him. Groupthink.

          Reply
      2. montanamaven

        Greenwald and Shant Mesrobian What explains the elite contempt for Joe Rogan
        This was one of the most significant ideas I’ve heard in a long time. It’s one of those “A HA!” moments. I’ve been thinking about it all week, so I highly recommend this to everyone here. “Rogan decouples culture from politics….Cultural liberalism doesn’t like the lines blurred.” Ergo you can’t hunt and raw liver and also be for M4A and minimum wage. Also Rogan doesn’t “exclude” anybody. The liberals want to have the club be exclusive, not to include the uneducated deplorables. Shant calls out the identity politicos and the social justice warriors .
        He also makes the excellent point that the libs are somewhat out of political power so they wage war in culture. “Culture is where we transmit ideas” and tso hey want to control and exert power thru culture. This really resonates with me.

        Reply
      3. hunkerdown

        > a kind of esprit de corps among certain social groups […] that depend on some untruths for their cohesion

        All of them. Otherwise, how would they set themselves apart from the undifferentiated, the residue? Very few in-groups are defined by what they are.

        Tactically, it looks like a phenomenon parallel to Gleichschaltung (alignment, as John Robb repurposed the term), in which actors that align with the directions of the power base have access to the power base’s resources, and actors that don’t align, wither in want of that access. So much policing among the “left™” aristocracy serves the function of partitioning “left™” resources away from the populists.

        Reply
    2. petal

      PK, I was just about to post the link to the JRE interview. I’m 1/3rd of the way through(I started too late last night) and it’s been fantastic. The description of meeting Snowden and that saga was thrilling. I agree, Greenwald is fearless. Got to meet him and his husband in Cambridge, MA several years back and it’s a life highlight. They’re truly decent people. Hoping Rogan has him on again at some point.

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        I watched / listened to it all last night and thought it was well worth the time. I was most impressed at how both of them are impressed with Snowden. Also, a Trump pardon of Snowden would be pretty spectacular. That would really spin up the dems.

        Reply
    3. Sue inSoCal

      Thanks for the Rogan link. I have always been a fan of Greenwald and am very familiar with his background. But I honestly thought the Tucker C interview sounded unhinged. I understand Glenn’s journalistic reasoning, but he’s not a lawyer or person I thought I’d hear drop the term “deep state.” Hmm. Maybe I just haven’t kept up with him. Thanks for this piece, Yves. And I appreciate all the points of view.

      Reply
  7. John Beech

    I wonder why Glenn didn’t just play along and let them edit the piece? Especially as he’s surely within the cross hairs of the Russians, who may have subsequently accessed his computer and published the material. What could be more powerful than seeing the before and after?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that you said that you were a pilot the other day. Would you let somebody screw around with a flight plan that you had written and then they demand that you put your signature on it and follow it?

      Reply
  8. flora

    “The only reason people are getting interested in and ready to scrutinize what I write is because everyone is afraid of being accused of having published something harmful to Biden,” Greenwald told them. “That’s the reality.”

    Fearful of having published something harmful to their (hoped for) next ‘great leader’? All it’s missing are giant images of Biden displayed from the tops of buildings.

    Reply
    1. Tom Mog

      Frankly, the slavish kowtowing to a losing candidate seems especially embarrassing. I don’t suppose there will be any real repercussions to these media business folks backing the wrong horse, aside from the exposure of their cringing deference. But after November 4th, Biden won’t really be able to repay their loyalty, their efforts will all have been for nothing, so maybe that’s punishment enough.

      Reply
  9. Carolinian

    Thanks for highlighting this. I’d say that Greenwald and other blogs such as this one are part of Internet 1.0–call it the I.F. Stone internet–which stood up to an already compromised MSM and said we just want the truth. Sadly the need for such an internet has only become greater as Internet 1 turned into Internet 2, aka Facebookworld. Now a considerable presence on the internet consists of that MSM including Pravda and Izvestia, the WaPo and NYT, themselves. Meanwhile the tech companies–which also started out tilting at windmills and are now financial behemoths–are more than happy to play along.

    Keep up the good fight NC, Greenwald, Taibbi and all the rest. Somebody has to tell the truth.

    Reply
  10. Redlife2017

    Yasha Levine & Mark Ames have a more neuance view than good or bad…

    From Mark:
    “Kinda disgusting to see so many liberal-left hacks who used to publicly grovel to Greenwald & Intercept as journalism’s “savior”— openly gloating today, now that it’s safe for them to slam GG because he upset their Russiagate grift. Liberal culture is as cowardly as it is fickle…The problem with The Intercept isn’t some kind of breakdown in individual character. The problem is the same one—oligarchy— @yashalevine and I wrote about 7 years ago, and were trashed for it by the same hacks now gloating over GG/Intercept’s implosion.”

    I mention all this because Glenn, for being an investigative reporter has never cared about the background of the person paying him tons of money. He responded to the above article about the Intercept’s backing by saying: “The idea that someone would build a pro-business, neoliberal outlet around Scahill, Poitras, Segura, Bates etc is just dumb.” When asked about Omidyar Network’s investment history, he said “I have no idea what you’re talking about there. I don’t speak for Omidyar Networks. You should ask them that.”

    An investigative reporter that won’t follow the money? I’m not saying the Greenwald didn’t do good work…he did. But as Ken Silverstein (who worked at The Intercept when it started) said in Politico – The Intercept is where good journalism goes to die. He has an interesting view looking back at his time there, which he discusses here. A lot doesn’t add up about that whole situation.

    I mention all of this because Greenwald has certainly fought the good fight on Russiagate, but I view a lot of what he does with suspicion especially after junking the giant Snowden trove of documents.

    Reply
    1. Reality Bites

      I also found his association with Omidyar a bit odd. When you accept the backing of a billionaire, they own you. Most of them aren’t as direct as Bloomberg about the quid pro quo but they didn’t get those billions by being nice. They also expressly use that money to wield power. Glenn should have known that. Same goes for his choice of Tucker Carlson. Commenters above noted that he feels he has to go wherever he can get the story out. But it seems incredibly naive if he thinks Tucker is really interested in his cause. TC, and Fox ultimately, will only have him on for the narrow purpose of furthering their own aims. Aims which are, not so ironically, quite similar to Pierre Omidyar. GG is used and then dumped the moment he is no longer useful. His repeated failure to recognize this is worrying.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Greenwald could just be accepting “..being used and then dumped..” as the price of doing business; his business being getting what he thinks is the truth out to the wider public. Otherwise, what are his options?
        Realpolitik in journalism.

        Reply
        1. John Wright

          Yes, it is not as if the New York Times/the Guardian/CBS 60 minutes/PBS or major media outlets are giving GG air time.

          I remember Chomsky’s description of media as “content + filler”.

          The content is the advertising (or in modern media, the access to rich/powerful people) and the filler is the editorial content.

          The big lie is that “The pen is mightier than the sword” as many have observed the sword (in many countries) can shorten the life of common citizens, be they independent journalists or not.

          When there are few outlets for one to “get the message out”, working with Tucker Carlson (and helping Carlson’s ratings) might be a very reasonable (and ethical) choice.

          If not Tucker Carlson, where should Greenwald pitch his journalism to get some wide exposure?

          Reply
        2. pjay

          This is how I tend to view it. I have been aware of the critiques by Ames, Levine, and Silverstein for a long time and questioned why Greenwald stuck with the Intercept for so long. But as Greenwald alludes to in his resignation statement, I think he felt that as long as he could publish his own stuff without major editorial interference, he would live with the contradictions… until the contradictions became too great.

          Similar issues came up several weeks ago when Levine criticized Taibbi as being hypocritical for not challenging the popular kids and defending the outcasts (like Ames) sooner. They have a point; but at present we need as many critical voices as we can get. Anyone who exposes MSM propaganda is welcome in my book.

          Reply
        3. Reality Bites

          It’s a very valid point but I’m not sure that it achieves GG’s aim. It’s not as if Tucker and Fox cultivate a culture of critical thought in their audience that will really tear down the MSM lies. GG is simply being used to reinforce the fabric. Very few, if any, of the audience on Fox is going to question the overall narrative. They may not buy Russiagate but the stuff Fox is pushing is not exactly better. It’s just a slightly different flavor of the same bad product. Fox also first elevated Hayden and many of the never-Trumpers now pushing Biden.

          Mypoint is that it is a Faustian bargain for GG and he consistently ends up losing. Some people can use the MSM to effectively get their point across. Nothing I have seen show me that GG has been effective in doing this. It ultimately hurts his brand because many end up dismissing his work as the usual pro-Trump shilling when there is alot of quality there. Not everybody that uses Realpolitik does it well.

          Reply
          1. John Wright

            >Some people can use the MSM to effectively get their point across

            Could you give some examples of those with significant controversial points who are able to “get their point across”?

            I know that Chomsky has had a difficult time getting media attention, even getting real time censored on NPR in the past.

            I’ve watched others retreat to RT

            Reply
            1. Reality Bites

              Taibbi does the best job. Admittedly he has been getting less than before. The argument seems to be he will take his message being distorted and pretty openly used to pursue an agenda that he is against just to get more publicity. I think he has been consistently drawing the line in the sand at the wrong point. Lining up with Fox and Omidyar are ultimately losing propositions. The smaller audience at other outlets like Rogan, Dore, etc are more credible.

              When you use Fox News as the conduit for your message you will lose alot of otherwise persuadable people. Repeatedly doing it while using a libertarian billionaire as your funder is even less defensible. The others, like Chomsky, decided it was better to go for the smaller outlets that will keep his message in tact. This made sense because the message was not one that TPTB would want out there. How many times does he do this before he loses al credibility?

              Reply
            2. Aumua

              Well, playing footsie with fascists under the table hasn’t worked out very well for leftists in the past. Just saying.

              Reply
          2. juno mas

            Yes. I’ve followed GG since he was writing in Salon. He is fearless and an iconoclast. Selecting Fox News (especially TC) to present credible evidence is questionable. Fox rarely presents credible news. Democracy Now! would have been a better choice; but then they don’t have 23 million viewers.

            Reply
              1. witters

                Good lord. Now I see what GG is up against.

                One must speak through ‘accepted/acceptable channels.’ Be polite, not “offensive and unacceptable.” Betsy meet Karen.

                Reply
                1. juno mas

                  Amy Goodman has engaged GG often on Democracy Now!. It’s not an “acceptable” channel for most folks, since it has a relatively small viewership. Amy does engage in real discussion. Tucker Carlson on Fox does not.

                  Reply
          3. chuck roast

            Greenwald has said that his highest priority is helping to get a pardon for Edward Snowden. He has also said that it with this in mind that he has gone on Fox and Tucker Carlson, because he knows that el douche regularly watches Fox and Carlson. This allows him the rare avenue to directly appeal to the non-reptilian portion of Trump’s cranium in an effort to induce a Presidential Pardon. If the MAGA guy loses, I expect that he will do precisely that as a going-away facial to deep state swamp dwellers.

            Reply
      2. chuck roast

        “But it seems incredibly naive if he thinks Tucker is really interested in his cause.”
        Who cares what Carlson is interested in! When I watch Carlson it’s because I have clicked on a link to his interview with someone who is hard-left or otherwise anti-plutocrat. And whatever else you want to say about Carlson or his politics he invariably does three things that I consider important: 1. he listens, 2. he allows his guests to speak without interruption, and 3. he finishes with, “Thank you for being on the show.”

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          Agreed. When Romney and various right wing spooks and Republican speechwriters and Bush-era neocons are flocking to the Democrat party, nobody is accusing them of being shills for the Democrats. George Carlin/big club/𝚢̶𝚘̶𝚞̶ and all… For some reason that useful idiot argument is only ever leveled at the left. Wonder why that could be?

          Reply
        2. montanamaven

          Agreed. Tucker seems to be one of the few in MSM fighting the pro war spooks and the neo-cons. And weirdly “anti-plutocrat” for being on a network owned by the Murdochs. (Just good business?) And this is a war, no question. I think this week is one of the most significant weeks of fighting for civil liberties that I have seen in my lifetime. This all feels very apocalyptic.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Apocalyptic is a good frame for this election cycle. I’m feeling that the public loses no matter who wins. So, I can see those Four Horsemen as being Trump, Pence, Biden, and Harris. As to who will be riding what horse; that’s a parlour game for cold winters nights after the power goes off.

            Reply
      3. Yves Smith Post author

        My guess is that Greenwald never thought the Intercept would violate his contract so egregiously. Recall he’d had similar deals with Salon and the Guardian regarding a hands-off by editors (although reading between the lines, I think he also saw the Guardian tested and about to lose its nerve in the wake of the Snowden releases).

        I’ve done something similar….took a job with a lot of institutional obstacles and thought my contract would give me the headroom to get enough done to make it worthwhile. Yes in a way but no in the end, and they behaved badly regarding their commitments too.

        Reply
  11. Matthew G. Saroff

    First and most importantly: what happens to the Snowden papers? Do they remain exclusively in Omidyar’s hands?

    Also, I would note that the PayPal mafia, Thiel, Musk, Omidyar, are a bunch of psychopaths who made their fortune by breaking the law. (They ran a bank and a payment service without following banking regulations, because ……… Internet)

    They have continued to make money by privatizing the public commons through, “Regulatory Arbitrage,” and have convinced themselves that they are geniuses as a result.

    Also, remember that Thiel is literally a vampire. He wants to live forever by sucking the blood of the young.

    Reply
    1. Sue inSoCal

      O Matthew G: May I frame that? It’s very well put. Let’s throw in Bezos (or someone else..) and make it the Four Horsemen.

      Reply
  12. divadab

    I give money to Naked Capitalism, and separately to the Water Cooler, for value received. Thank You, Yves, Lambert, and Co. I will now subscribe to Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi at Substack.

    The lying propagandists who masquerade as journalists make me sick. Just as the lying influence peddlers who masquerade as “Representatives” and “Senators” enrage and disgust me. I am not a customer of the Democrat Corporation nor of the Republican Corporation. And I will not vote at the federal level for anyone who wears their badges – I mean, the people who are supposed to represent us have been reduced to mere middle management at their respective corporations. And their Boards, the people who run the show, are hidden and unaccountable. Utter corruption.

    Reply
  13. Don Utter

    Human beings are facing complex problems because of their trashing of the earth. Without an ontology that gives equal weight to humans and nonhumans, e.g., water has a legal standing, without dramatic changes in the western cosmology that has justified colonialization and seemingly unlimited resource extraction humans will kill off their own species. In short: modernity since The Enlightment, the 1600’s, must change.

    Both Greenwald and emptywheel are important voices and I will continue to follow them.

    In this context, no one is right all the time. I have followed Greenwald from the start when he was still a practicing attorney and wrote a small blog.

    Another person I have followed is Marcy Wheeler, aka, emptywheel. She has been attacking Greenwald for some time. It looks like a family feud. She let it all hang out yesterday and she thought it was good riddance that The Intercept no longer had him on staff.

    Here is a link to her rant on twitter. You might have to connect to her twitter account directly — twitter emptywheel — but here is a link to the twitter rant

    https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1321870862111461376?s=20

    ***
    In a totally different arena, here is Bruno Latour touring an art exhibit showing The Critical Zone, the onion skin of the earth a couple of KM down into the earth, and a couple of KM up into the sky, the zone in which all life has occurred and we are always inside the critical zone. Not outside. It is a little hard to understand but the arrivistic

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIeltYdt_50 rendition of the fragile globe is worth the insight.

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      Emptywheel was great, but she flipped, for whatever reason, into a credulous mouthpiece for the IC. Who knows what carrots and sticks were involved.

      Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      Except Greenwald isn’t in the tank for the intelligence community like Marcy Wheeler. Still waiting for her to provide some proof of the Russiagate nonsense she’s been flogging for years.

      Reply
    3. MK

      Marcy Wheeler lost her marbles awhile ago. The whole self-reporting to the FBI over Russiagate was when I quietly moved away from someone exhibiting the classic signs of a manic break.

      Reply
  14. DanP66

    You may not like him BUT if you have any interest in putting the IC in check and getting Silicon Valley under control, then vote for Trump. Period

    Sometimes we have to pick between lesser evils and greater risks.

    Trump is the lesser evil and the lowest risk.

    Sucks thats where we are BUT that is where we are.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      Oh, good one… so, instead of fighting for a real alternative to two corrupt, murderous choices, you choose to play along because…reality??? Admitted, the populace is deluded into the same thinking, but here, we have what our editors think is a leg up on that form of surrender.

      Reply
    2. Kilgore Trout

      Wish it were that simple. I was persuaded by A. Mate’s Chomsky interview to go with Biden, as only hope of reinstating Iran agreement. And as bad as Biden is and always has been, having stable genius Trump’s finger on nuclear button in 2nd term is untenable. In either election outcome, we need a new anti-war/ no nukes movement to put spine in our elected.

      Reply
      1. MK

        Biden, who every other day seems to say that he’s running for the senate. Or he’s running against George Bush.

        In any event, since the bulk of government/military worker bees are anti-Trump, I wonder if they would simply ignore the order, whether or not justified, simply because they hate him with a seething rage that is very unbecoming of otherwise rational people.

        Reply
  15. Icecube12

    Election time is usually when opposition research comes out, so the timing seems pretty spot-on to me.

    As for the Russians laughing, they may laugh as much as the Americans laugh at Russian problems, I guess. But don’t worry about it too much. The world does think the US has gone mad, but every country, Russia included, is currently subsumed by its own problems as covid spirals out of control and economies tank everywhere.

    Reply
  16. elissa3

    Yesterday I removed The Intercept from my Favorites list. GG is the real deal. I encourage all to subscribe to his Substack site.

    Reply
  17. Skip Intro

    I’ve been assuming that The Intercept was created to bury the Snowden documents… is there evidence I’m wrong?
    They have published some ‘limited hangouts’ to gain credibility, but at bottom, they smelled like an influence operation. But one run by pros, as opposed to the budget BS the neocon spooks and their attendant crowd of contractor lackeys on full grift have been churning out.. recycling Reagan-era screeds without even bothering to replace ‘Soviets’ or ‘KGB’ with Russia or FSB. I’m grateful for propaganda shops that go the extra mile and produce quality deception.

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  18. Mike

    Two things…

    Greenwald made a pact with the Devil in order to further his writing and play on a larger stage. He has somewhat compromised his message by this and not emphasizing his opposition to the TOTAL security establishment that is the Democratic AND Republican parties together with the spooks.

    Second, the upshot of the Hunter /laptop issue is that the entire media is insuring that the Biden “value” that Hunter waves in front of employers can be surmised to be what is driving Dad to run for office, i.e., to protect his ony living son from harm and give him a future in the rubble mound that is US foreign policy cash, and protect Joe’s “legacy” as corrupt capo of the Dem family. Trump will not be tried for his “crimes”, just as Obama, Bush, or Billy boy. Expect Joe won’t either, if the Left keeps shooting itself in the mouth.

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  19. sam

    I used to work with a guy who grew up in the Soviet Union. He told me “we never relied on the media to learn what was going on, only to find out what they wanted us to think was going on.” Sadly the US is now in the same place. One response in everyone’s control would be to stop financially supporting the MSM with subscription $ and instead send that money to NC, Taibbi, Greenwald, et al.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the US has been in that ‘place’ for a long time. I fear it grows worse. The Fourth Estate belongs to Big Money. Pay walls are going up everywhere. I don’t even try reading most of the links. Headlines have grown deliberately obscure to garner ‘clicks’. The few brave souls who voice any dissent have been squelched one-by-one. There is a growing shadow spreading darkness over the web.

      Reply
  20. shinola

    Perhaps I’m not remembering correctly, but didn’t NC have some articles pointing out the sleazy Hunter Biden/Burisma $50k a month ‘jawb’ deal back when the Dem. primaries were running? (Maybe even earlier than that).

    So the intercept wanted him to edit/delete info. that’s already been out for quite some time. Doesn’t make sense (except in the politics of The Good Ol’ USA)

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      What Maas disagreed with are the many places where Glenn, absent any evidence, makes insinuations about Biden corruption.

      I disagree that there was an absence of any evidence, vehemently so, however let’s concede the point for the sake of argument.

      here’s what I’d like to know form Marcy then – is it better to make insinuations absent any evidence, or should one make insinuations using fabricated ‘evidence’ provided by spooks not operating in good faith, and then go with the “I’d like to show my evidence but then I’d have to kill you routine” for years on end?

      Reply
  21. Phillip Cross

    “Trump vs. The IC” is just the latest reboot of the old story they have been rehashing our whole lives. You know the one. The archetype is where 2 friends start a fake fight with each other in a store. Whilst the shopkeeper is distracted by “the fight”, a third friend walks in and empties the cash register. Later they all split the loot and laugh at the idiots who believed it was real (whilst sipping a tall glass of Adrenochrome).

    Get’s ’em every time!

    Reply
  22. Don Utter

    Agree. She was going to tell us what happened with the FBI interview.

    She contacted the FBI because of something that came her way. They sent investigators who did not know about her work so they started questions from scratch to get a full story. They looked at her files that she let them, but they didn’t take things with them.

    Marcy has been saying that the Russia Gate was not all crap. But she has never disclosed what happened with her involvement. I thought that the time had passed quite a while ago that she would let us know.

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  23. YLSP

    I rarely comment on your site Yves, but this story feels like a fabricated October Surprise more than anything.

    Trump research? Foreign disinformation? True scandal?

    Joe Biden was in a primary campaign, and has been in a general election campaign for the past year. The GOP Senate looked into Hunter and Joe in Ukraine and couldn’t really connect the dots.

    Maybe political campaigns and foreign disinformation didn’t get the memo that you can’t drop thin reporting at the last moment like the Comey FBI email investigation in 2016 burned everyone involved.

    If this is a true scandal, wouldn’t it already have come out?

    I get it, most people react to this story based on who you support. Now its the whole story around the “story” being pushed.

    Shouldn’t Greenwald and Taibbi wonder if this was out there why it didn’t come out until now??

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      The point is that this really isn’t new news, just more sources of evidence of what has been an ‘open secret’ since well before Joe publically bragged about getting the prosecutor fired. There’s no reason to suspect any evidence of sleaze from a candidate with a long record of abject loyalty to donors would need to be faked.
      Now the timing of the release is definitely tuned for the election… though not very well. If someone got the material, market forces dictate that it come out now. Suppressing the story just because it was timed by someone to have maximum influence is blatantly partisan, and a disservice to voters. The beauty of it is, while the story could have vanished quietly, efforts to suppress it have amplified it and validated Trump’s narrative of Fake News.

      I thought there was some sort of gentleman’s agreement that family corruption was off the table, with it missing from the impeachment charges, and all the top clans, Clintons, Trumps, Obamas, and Bidens peacefully working their grifts. Certainly selecting Biden as the candidate removed corruption as an issue in the election. I think this story threatens to blow the lid off the arrangement, and thus must be crushed.

      And of course, the DNC has the blame cannons from 2016 refurbished and ready to find this years ‘Comey’ to blame a loss on. They are now tracking Greenwald’s coordinates.

      And in true projective fashion, they want to continue to push the now obvious fabrication of Russian influence in the 2016 election, to hide the dirty tricks they played with Ukraine, via Manafort as well as Crowdstrike.

      Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      Have you considered that the reason no DC insiders have been particularly adamant about looking into this, and the GOP hasn’t connected the dots, is because both sides are complicit in corruption in Ukraine? The US did put on a coup there during the Obama administration with Biden playing a large role (he did brag openly about strongarming the new government installed at the behest of the US), just like he did in Georgia a few years before that. Even though the Democrats were in charge when it happened, there were lots of hands in the cookie jar from both sides.

      Reply
  24. David in Santa Cruz

    Out here in Pacific Daylight Time I’m usually late to the Comments dance, but I think that the Reality Winner scandal is the “tell” about FirstLook Media and Pierre Omidyar. Silicon Valley types just love to plant “Easter eggs” and calling his company “FirstLook Media” is absolutely the “tell” about Omidyar’s true goals.

    Omidyar dangled millions before Greenwald and Taibbi in the run-up to the 2012 election to neutralize them — he and his wife were in the top-10 White House sign-ins since Obama’s election. Only in hindsight did Taibbi realize that he left Rolling Stone to be tied-up in a shit-show of a website launch that effectively de-platformed him as a left critic of Obama — just as the President postured for a second term against a strong GOP candidate and weak support in the wake of the 2010 mid-term debacle that was largely attributable to the complex Obamacare garbage-barge and allowing millions to lose their homes while Geithner foamed the runway for the banks while Holder and Breuer cut Wall Street deals for cash in lieu of prosecution.

    But what is the “First Look” that Omidyar was really after? My theory from Day One of FirstLook Media is that Omidyar’s mission was to give the Silicon Valley Wing of the National Security State the “first look” at the next Ed Snowden. The evidence thus far of the way that Reality Winner was burned to the ground by Betsey Reed — who handed the story to ex-NBC TV mainstream reporter Matthew Cole and outsider Richard Esposito, who is now the spokesman for the NYPD! At Reed’s direction, they immediately handed the NSA a roadmap to Winner.

    This evidence tells me that FirstLook Media and The Intercept are nothing but a false-flag operation intended to get a “first look” at the best journalism critical of the National Security State, and the horrible way that Greenwald’s opinions and conclusions about the Hunter Biden emails were being suppressed by Betsey Reed confirms this. Greenwald never accuses Joe Biden of personal corruption — but why was the Vice President of the United States interfering in the unstable government of a former Soviet republic that is questionable as a nation-state?

    This at best opened the door for Hunter’s protection-racket, although I admit that I have personally chosen to follow Dr. Cornell West’s exhortation to hold my nose and vote-out the fascist. And no, Naomi Klein, as Glenn Greenwald pointed-out on Rising this morning, he is not moving to Substack to get rich. Omidyar had Greenwald in a golden cage. It looks like you’re happy to be there — or are Tweeting Under the Influence (of something)…

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This was a pretty good recap early on of the emerging journalists v. suits battle. You can contrast this with what Greenwald said to Carlson, that his vision was for journalists to haves a lot of rope:

      https://mashable.com/2014/10/30/matt-taibbi-first-look-media/

      Having said that, I agree that Greenwald wasn’t skeptical enough regarding the $. Yes, at the time he went over to Omidyar, he was literally the most prominent journalist in the world. Yes, $500,000 is a lot for print journalists (save hard core careerists like Andrew Ross Sorkin at the NY Times, who effectively has a firm within a firm with his Dealbook empire, where he also sells ads) but not much at all compared to TV news readers.

      Reply
      1. David in Santa Cruz

        I missed the biggest “Easter egg” of all: The Intercept — get it?

        Reality Winner got intercepted all right.

        Gosh I can’t stand the PayPal cabal — in particular Thiel, Musk, and Omidyar. I hope that Greenwald banked most of the money Omidyar paid him, because he’s going to need good security…

        Reply
  25. Pelham

    Re Matt Taibbi’s comments on this: One of the many parts that resonated for me — a veteran newspaperman out of the business for about a decade now — was the bit about editors taking an excellent story and suggesting that the reporter “make it even stronger.” I heard that line repeatedly over the latter half of my career and all too slowly I glommed onto the fact that this was simply a flag that the story in question was sure to be deferred, watered down into obscurity or cast into oblivion.

    Editors who are best at exercising this sort of underhanded veto power are highly valued and sometimes even celebrated as towering intellects. I sat across from the joint office of a couple of these characters in one newsroom and can’t count the number of times I saw good reporters enter to pitch an idea and then emerge 20 minutes later looking deflated and crushed. I can only imagine it’s a good deal worse now, and I’m rather glad to have left that world behind.

    Reply
  26. Lex

    This is Biden we’re talking about — Biden, the Lesser Evil. Biden, the Incrementally Less Scary Than Trump. The other Head growing out the top of a Cthulhu body reminding us the parties are really just one big happy rich bunch of political Titans, with a pathological appetite for tithing and worship. There is no ‘Democrat’; there is no ‘Republican’; there’s Cthulhu, and Vampire Squid (Wall Street), and whatever monster from the Deep resurrected to destroy Democracy we can assign to Silicon Valley.

    Except to the Faithful, the True Believers.

    Would ‘True Believers’ be an accurate description of The Intercept’s readership? Kool-Aid drinkers? It didn’t used to be true, but trolls piled in to the comments section, especially in response to Glenn, Jeremy, and Lee. When Lee Fang was left stammering in print after being censored for racism, I left and ceased to support them.

    And now, Glenn?

    I see Fang is still writing there. Wonder how heavily he’s being edited? I haven’t seen him as a guest on Democracy Now! for some time, but maybe I missed that interview. It seems like they stuck a muzzle on him, the guy that represented to me journalistic integrity and excellence. The kind of investigative reporter who would don a hazmat suit and turn over every rock and leaf to find his story, especially if it made the Powerful uncomfortable. The Intercept gave that guy a spanking (taking a pound of flesh from his reputation) and sent him to his room without supper.

    Reply
  27. ChrisAtRU

    Thanks all always for the excellent recon-level unpacking here! #GawdILoveThisFamilyBlog

    I read all Glenn shared yesterday after seeing the tweet first gross my TL. I did not, however, read Taibi’s offering, so thanks for adding that. This first call out if amazing:

    The first hint of trouble came when [editor Betsy] Reed suggested that yes, it might be a story, if proven correct, but “even if it did represent something untoward about Biden,” that would “represent a tiny fraction of the sleaze and lies Trump and his cronies are oozing in every day.”

    Stunning that various quarters of the resistance to Trump accept the new incredibly “low bar” he has established as a defensible reference point. This is cray!

    Reply
  28. Frank Little

    I appreciated reading his draft piece, particularly the discussion of how documents like this are verified as I am not a journalist so these kinds of details are helpful and informative. That said, if the emails he released are meant to make the Intercept’s editors appear unreasonable then I’m afraid they do not have this effect. At one point they note that:

    “the New York Post and perhaps the Wall Street Journal appear to be the only major news organizations that possess the contents of the hard drive. Maybe other news organizations have the archive and haven’t mentioned it, but absent evidence of that, I do think any story about a shortage of in-depth reporting on the archive would have to prominently note that most news organizations do not possess it”

    Perhaps I missed it, but he does not address this in any of his correspondence with them or in the article and to me it seems like a reasonable point, even if it is true that his article was spiked for political reasons. After all, his defense when people ask where the full archive is or why more stories have not been written from the thousands of files that he and others have claimed to have is that other outlets are in possession of them and could write stories about them as well.

    I’m not defending the Intercept spiking the story, as his contract appears to have allowed him to publish it even over their disagreements, but reading the correspondence I don’t think his editors are being particularly censorious, especially since they were interested in running a piece of “media criticism about liberal journalists not asking Biden the questions he should be asked more forcefully, and why they are failing to do that.” I think this ultimately undercuts the idea that this is a moment of crisis for American journalism writ large, which seems to be the thrust of most commentary surrounding the issue.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Were you around during the Snowden story? Pray tell, how many media outlets discussed them without having access to the source docs? Same with the Steele dossier, which was finally sort of released (redactions) way way after extensive reporting on it. I could go on….

      You are amplifying bogus objections to the common practice of re-reporting major stories. I suspect you haven’t noticed how often MSM outlets quote officials/experts without crediting the pub that was the original source of the quote, as in giving the reader the false impression that they too spoke directly to the source.

      Reply
      1. Frank Little

        Understood, Yves. I was not attempting to amplify any kind of narrative or defend the hypocrisy of how this leaked info is being treated, just commenting on what I saw in the emails shared.

        Reply
  29. Waking Up

    Why do I keep returning regularly and for years now to read Naked Capitalism… because of articles such as this one in support of “free speech” and a search for the truth regardless of ideology. Thank you.

    Reply
  30. DSB

    Thank you for your support of Greenwald, Taibbi and the others who hold onto the last shreds of what the “Fourth Estate” is supposed to be about. Their journalism is not partisan. For others to see their work in partisan terms, is basically the point Greenwald is making about the media and the risk to democracy.

    Reply

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