LUMPENPROLETARIAT—When The Intercept first hit the scene it was pretty exciting for many of us, who try to stay informed but are unsatisfied with corporate media. The Intercept was co-founded by Glen Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras in 2013. Omidyar founded First Look Media in 2014. The Intercept became its first subsidiary. And, today, it’s looking like its first casualty as well.
“In war, truth is the first casualty,” wrote Aeschylus. In this drama surrounding The Intercept, the war seems to be against investigative journalism in order to defend an indefensible Democrat Party, and by extension, the two-party system, or two-party dictatorship.
You’re either with us or against us is the subtext of Intercept boss, Betsy Reed‘s, article about Greenwald’s resignation. In her article, Reed accused Glenn Greenwald of “attempting to recycle the dubious claims of a political campaign – the Trump campaign – and launder them as journalism.” Reed gave no evidence; she simply dispensed ad hominem attacks, referring to Greenwald as “a grown person throwing a tantrum” and presenting a narrative “teeming with distortions and inaccuracies.” Reed just couldn’t recall a single one. “It would take too long to point them all out here, but we intend to correct the record in time.” (See article below.)
That’s convenient, right? No proof, just smear tactics. Reed is lashing out against Greenwald because, as she wrote, “he accuses us of political bias.” Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal concisely pointed out Reed’s contempt for independent journalism in a tweet.
On the other hand, observers like The New York Times, an establishment institution, can always be counted on to support the right-leaning angle of any news narrative. Media reporter for The New York Times, Katie Robertson, strained herself to apologize for The Intercept, for Intercept boss Betsy Reed, and to paint Greenwald as fringe and unhinged. The whole article is sophistry and bullshit.
Meanwhile, in a different variety of sophistry and bullshit, Tucker Carlson interviewed Glenn Greenwald with fake empathy and furrowed-brow concern over the mistreatment of Glenn Greenwald by that rotten, liberal outfit, The Intercept. Tucker Carlson feigned concern, as if he doesn’t also use Greenwald to fit his own narrative, strictly managing what questions will or will not be aired on Fox. Of course, Greenwald admitted on The Hill TV, he is aware Fox News is using him when he agrees to interviews. But, then, he, points out, that’s true of every media outlet. Every media outlet uses you. And, anyway, the journalist, like the citizen, is best off talking to as diverse a variety of people across the ideological spectrum as possible. As long as the journalist is factual and clear, the channel upon which the journalist is reporting shouldn’t matter. Everybody already knows what partisan leanings each channel represents.
Pretty much every media outlet tries to fit Greenwald’s analysis to fit their narratives. Fox does it, when Greenwald has exposed Democrats. And Maddow and company, et al, do it when Greenwald has exposed the Republican Party. But few, if any, are willing to step out of their partisan bubbles and question the larger antidemocratic nature of the two-party system, or two-party dictatorship. This false left-right paradigm, which divides the working classes, also perpetuates the stagnant and regressive two-party system.
When The Intercept first hit the scene, some of us thought: Well, Omidyar’s not a right-winger; so journalistic integrity might just be possible with The Intercept, despite the apparent liberal/centrist profile of its billionaire benefactor. Most of us were impressed by the fact that First Look Media was “a collaboration with Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras with a promised $250 million in funding from Omidyar.” Personally, Greenwald and Scahill were two of my favorite journalists at the time; and Poitras seemed promising as well with her work around Edward Snowden and Citizenfour, for example. Then, we saw Poitras’ Risk. And we thought to ourselves: WTF? Poitras, Academy Award in hand, seemed increasingly irrelevant to many of us after that. As of Halloween 2020, her name is still attached to The Intercept, although it’s unclear what her role is at this point. Maybe she just provides extra “star power” because her contact email is not even an Intercept email address.
Many of us hoped we would finally have an adversarial and anti-imperialist media company with a big budget to compete against the big corporate media companies. But big money always seems to come with strings attached. And it seems Glenn Greenwald has pulled on some of those strings when he refused to allow his work to be censored. And he seems to be unravelling the entire Intercept edifice with that slight tug of the string.
If The Intercept does unravel, Greenwald certainly doesn’t want it to, as he expresses “genuine sadness, not fury” in his resignation letter. By definition, it is a letter of resignation, not a declaration of war. More, it’s a journalistic declaration of independence, one which is backed up by his “journalist accomplishments”, his legal accomplishments, his legal analysis credibility, and all of the other accolades Glen Greenwald has justly earned. He stands as a model of courage and a trailblazer for citizen journalism, journalistic freedom, civic engagement, and fearless political engagement.
The last shred of credibility we see at The Intercept is the fact that Jeremy Scahill is still there. He is still clearly listed as Co-founding Editor and Senior Investigative Reporter on the main “About & Contacts” page, unlike Poitras.
Even though Greenwald had nothing but nice things to say about his friends, who stayed on at The Intercept, the next important question some of us will focus on is:
Where does Jeremy Scahill stand in all of this?
Does Scahill corroborate Greenwald’s allegations of censorship against The Intercept?
Does Scahill corroborate Reed’s allegations of bad journalism against Glenn Greenwald?
Does Scahill plead no comment?
N.B.: This article will be updated and expanded as time and resources allow. In the meantime, como dijo Albert Einstein, the important thing is to not stop questioning.
As much as your author would like to dedicate his entire waking life to investigative journalism, that work has not paid the bills. Labor is scarcely rewarded. And we don’t have “reclusive billionaires” keeping us on the payroll. So, working class blokes like your author must get back to that business of providing for family. We must leave any unanswered questions to intrepid readers to investigate, to analyze, to report, to testify.
THE INTERCEPT— [29 OCT 2020] GLENN GREENWALD’S DECISION to resign from The Intercept stems from a fundamental disagreement over the role of editors in the production of journalism and the nature of censorship. Glenn demands the absolute right to determine what he will publish. He believes that anyone who disagrees with him is corrupt, and anyone who presumes to edit his words is a censor. Thus, the preposterous charge that The Intercept’s editors and reporters, with the lone, noble exception of Glenn Greenwald, have betrayed our mission to engage in fearless investigative journalism because we have been seduced by the lure of a Joe Biden presidency. A brief glance at the stories The Intercept has published on Biden will suffice to refute those claims.
The narrative Glenn presents about his departure is teeming with distortions and inaccuracies — all of them designed to make him appear as a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum. It would take too long to point them all out here, but we intend to correct the record in time. For now, it is important to make clear that our goal in editing his work was to ensure that it would be accurate and fair. While he accuses us of political bias, it was he who was attempting to recycle the dubious claims of a political campaign — the Trump campaign — and launder them as journalism.
Read more at THE INTERCEPT.
THE HILL—[29 OCT 2020] Journalist Glenn Greenwald has resigned from The Intercept, seven years after co-founding the online publication, citing censorship by his own editors over an article concerning former Vice President Joe Biden.
The 53-year-old shared his resignation letter in a tweet to his more than 1.5 million followers on Thursday afternoon, in which he accused editors of refusing to publish an article he wrote unless he removed “all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.”
Learn more at THE HILL.
ALJAZEERA—[30 OCT 2020] Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said on Thursday he had resigned from The Intercept after the US investigative media outlet purportedly refused to publish his article critical of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Greenwald, one of the first journalists to report on the Edward Snowden documents on 2013 US mass surveillance scandal, said he was leaving the website he started in 2014 with two other journalists.
“The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,” Greenwald said in a Substack blog post.
Learn more at AL JAZEERA.
THE HILL—[30 OCT 2020] Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of the news site The Intercept, said Friday that he resigned from the publication in order to maintain his “editorial freedom,” adding that editors were wary of publishing articles of his that were critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I would never accept somebody telling me that I can’t publish my views or perspectives without having other people first agree with what it is that I’m saying,” Greenwald told Hill.TV’s “Rising.”
“I never wanted to enter media outlets, and when they began trying to invite me to go and join those media outlets, my condition was always I need to keep this same exact editorial freedom where I post directly to the internet without editorial intervention except in rare cases,” he added.
Learn more at THE HILL.
Halloween 2020 Update:
I just read the passage below from Glenn Greenwald’s resignation letter article he published on his new Substack blog, Greenwald, after resigning from The Intercept last week over censorship issues. This very much resonated with me as to the nature and purpose of my own blog, Lumpenproletariat. Ultimately, we hope to connect with like-minded people to advance democracy at the ballot box, democracy at work, media democracy, and the emancipation of the working classes. Until then, we testify.
From the time I began writing about politics in 2005, journalistic freedom and editorial independence have been sacrosanct to me. Fifteen years ago, I created a blog on the free Blogspot software when I was still working as a lawyer: not with any hopes or plans of starting a new career as a journalist, but just as a citizen concerned about what I was seeing with the War on Terror and civil liberties, and wanting to express what I believed needed to be heard. It was a labor of love, based in an ethos of cause and conviction, dependent upon a guarantee of complete editorial freedom.
So much of Glenn Greenwald’s love of free speech reflects my own, which is why I love engaging with his work so much. I can always relate to Glenn Greenwald’s reasoning. I imagine many people feel the same, which is probably why he has 1.5 million followers on Twitter. That is a huge audience.
In his letter of resignation from The Intercept, despite the censorship, he went on to add his continued love for The Intercept, which he co-founded with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras. His description of the editorial capture of The Intercept by east coast Democrat Party partisans reminds me of my first-hand experiences witnessing the editorial capture by west coast Democrat partisans of the original listener-supported free speech radio outlet and network in the United States, perhaps in the world—KPFA radio, 94.1 FM, Berkeley, California.
Even as I have watched KPFA, and its parent company Pacifica, betray its original mission, one is left with sadness, rather than fury, and always a lingering sense of hope of restoring the organization to its original mission. Like The Intercept, KPFA and Pacifica Radio still have some honest journalists. But, increasingly, Democrat Party apologism and dogma tends to dominate. We saw the same thing happen with The Nation, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen and Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and any media outlet or organization, who critiques or otherwise challenges the Democrat Party or, by extension, the two-party dictatorship.
We have even seen the same thing in academia, as economics departments adhere to orthodoxy and marginalize heterodox economics perspectives. We could say the same of the majority of social science curriculums across the nation. Anything left of center is marginalized. Such is the nature of thought police, censorship, and political dictatorships.
And none of the critiques I have voiced about The Intercept are unique to it. To the contrary: these are the raging battles over free expression and the right of dissent raging within every major cultural, political and journalistic institution. That’s the crisis that journalism, and more broadly values of liberalism, faces. Our discourse is becoming increasingly intolerant of dissenting views, and our culture is demanding more and more submission to prevailing orthodoxies imposed by self-anointed monopolists of Truth and Righteousness, backed up by armies of online enforcement mobs.
And nothing is crippled by that trend more severely than journalism, which, above all else, requires the ability of journalists to offend and anger power centers, question or reject sacred pieties, unearth facts that reflect negatively even on (especially on) the most beloved and powerful figures, and highlight corruption no matter where it is found and regardless of who is benefited or injured by its exposure.
Thank you for reading Lumpenproletariat.org. Please share. Support free speech.
Thanksgiving 2020 Update:
In case you hadn’t noticed, Glenn Greenwald finally went on The Jimmy Dore Show to discuss his resignation from The Intercept over censorship issues, I’m including this update here.
Sometime around 2018, I began noticing an old high school buddy of mine started sharing political posts on social media from some joker named Jimmy Dore. I kind of agreed with a lot of his snarky and snide commentaries, although I didn’t really care for his uncouth style. But I thought, whatever, maybe liberals need a brash voice out there, too, to counter the brash conservative voices…
But, over time, I’ve come to appreciate The Jimmy Dore Show, as one of the few sizeable media platforms (nearly one million subscribers), which is critical, not only of Republican Party politics, but is also critical of Democrat Party politics, and, at times, even critical of the two-party system and advocating for a multi-party system, ranked-choice voting, and electoral reform.
Just for that, alone, Jimmy Dore is an important voice on politics. Recall Joe Rogan’s a-ha moment, when Dore explained ranked-choice voting to him. Jimmy Dore pulls no punches, though, unlike Joe Rogan. And Jimmy Dore is intellectually sincere, unlike Joe Rogan, because Jimmy Dore is consistent in his ideology, unlike Joe Rogan, who sends mixed signals, which invariably apologizes for, and enables, the two-party system. We notice how progressive ideas, such as ranked-choice voting, become part of the ideological fiber of somebody like Jimmy Dore, but not Joe Rogan. After his a-ha moment, Rogan will probably never bring up ranked-choice voting again in conversation with any of his many influential guests he interviews, who need to be informed and challenged on such topics, yet who have still never heard of ranked-choice voting.
But two men, who don’t pull any punches and tell it like it is are Glenn Greenwald and Jimmy Dore. Of all the channels I wanted to see cover Greenwald’s resignation from The Intercept over censorship, Greenwald finally appeared on The Jimmy Dore Show in late November 2020.
Dig Jimmy Dore’s November 2020 interview with Glenn Greenwald here.
“Saint Honesty” by Sara Bareilles
So, we won’t sleep tonight While we brace against the wind Oh, these hearts, they’re weather-makers We’ll go where they take us Until we find ourselves shelter again We won’t settle for the silence We won’t drown in the tears We’ll say every single word, even if we think they’ll hurt Let the rain wash away these tears Rain on us,
Saint Honesty…—from “Saint Honesty” by Sara Bareilles
[31 OCT 2020]
[Last modified on 27 NOV 2020 at 05:28 PST]