26 votes

A discussion of Glenn Greenwald's departure from The Intercept

Glenn Greenwald resigned from from The Intercept_ an online publication he helped start after the Edward Snowden Leaks. In that letter Glenn Greenwald goes into detail for the reason for his resignation.

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, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.

Editor-in-Chief of The Intercept's response with a heavy critique of Glenn Greenwald work as a Journalist.

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.

Glenn Greenwald post the unedited article w/ typos and and all that The Intercept refused to publish.

Glenn has also posted the email exchange between himself and other editors at The Intercept.

14 comments

  1. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    Zeynep Tufekci wrote about this story and what it says about the current state of media in her new newsletter yesterday: The Real Hunter Biden Story Everyone is Missing - Why aren't we paying...

    Zeynep Tufekci wrote about this story and what it says about the current state of media in her new newsletter yesterday: The Real Hunter Biden Story Everyone is Missing - Why aren't we paying attention to the blatant blackmail?

    18 votes
    1. patience_limited
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      To elaborate on Tufekci's point, there is interesting material of service to the public interest in investigation of the blackmail plot. Greenwald's demands for a response from Biden seem like...

      To elaborate on Tufekci's point, there is interesting material of service to the public interest in investigation of the blackmail plot.

      Greenwald's demands for a response from Biden seem like petty and vicious "When did you stop beating your wife?"-style attempts to badger and incriminate the victims of a crime. Regardless of one's political opinions, this is not ethically acceptable journalistic practice. That's particularly true when Greenwald has done none of the background investigation himself, and is merely repeating the insinuations of other sources who have clear and obvious biases. He's become the "useful idiot" he parodied in his own podcast with Matt Taibbi, and it's fine that he won't be using The Intercept as a personal platform any more.

      21 votes
  2. [8]
    arp242
    (edited )
    Link
    There is an easy way to authenticate the emails: let some independent experts examine a copy of the data. They had the laptops since March or something, so there was plenty time. Now the laptops...

    There is an easy way to authenticate the emails: let some independent experts examine a copy of the data. They had the laptops since March or something, so there was plenty time. Now the laptops have been with the FBI for 2 weeks and I don't know what they're doing with them because as far as I can find there haven't really been any updates. Although to be fair it's not really the FBI's job to make statements about the truth of media reports, but this way we have no way at verifying anything, certainly not before the election.

    So for now it stays in this misty "could be true, could be false, could be somewhere in-between" state. This is probably deliberate as Trump actually benefits more from this than having the authenticity verified.

    The media (or indeed, anyone else) doesn't really know what to do with this; there has been such a torrent of nonsense over the last ~5 years that it's hard to say what's true or not, the entire story is rather strange, and is coming from people with a track record of a less-than-perfect integrity. This doesn't mean it's all false; I suspect part are probably true since Hunter Biden has all the appearances of being a bit of a fuckup who only got anywhere because of his name and inherited connections, but we don't know which parts are true to what degrees.

    But to people already skeptical of the media it's going to look like some grand cabal to hide the truth, so this insecurity is great campaigning to "prove" your point that all of the media are die-hard liberals and can't be trusted.

    (Never mind the entire thing is about Joe Biden's son, not Joe Biden. There are some spurious connections to Joe Biden, which is by far the weakest part of the story. In 20 years of following Dutch politics I can't recall a single instance of bad behaviour by a family member reflect badly on a MP, minister, or the PM. The entire premise of the story is already mostly off-topic for the election.)

    At any rate, what's the point in publishing this now, a few days before the election? I don't know if Greenwald is truly deluded in to some sort of "we must get the truth out, no matter what" mindset, if he's just trying to get attention, or if he's one of those "Biden isn't a true leftist so I hate him"-kind of person. But yeah, what we really need right now is some more FUD because that'll clearly improve things 🙄 I can't see this as anything else as being Trump's useful idiot.

    14 votes
    1. [3]
      ohyran
      Link Parent
      See I am one of the "Biden is a shithead" people ("true leftist" isn't the core criticism because I can't see how he's even a "false leftist" but nevermind EDIT: That doesn't mean I wouldn't vote...

      See I am one of the "Biden is a shithead" people ("true leftist" isn't the core criticism because I can't see how he's even a "false leftist" but nevermind EDIT: That doesn't mean I wouldn't vote for the shithead because Trump vs Rich-old-dude is a clear option no matter what.) and I can see the issue with reporting where it's constrained since it skews the role of journalism in to what is historically a dangerous field of picking the news based on hopes of further reactions in society.

      It's not what you want to hear, its what there is to report. Anything else and you might as well hand the paper to the political editor and fire the journalists.

      At the same time if the sources aren't verified, there really is very little to report.

      In this case though a lot of it is or should probably be about the information in itself - if the information isn't reliable then the core part should be to delve in to that, not blind reporting. Being fed news stories, either to cover up something else or to blanket the news mentioning something or someone isn't new. It's been done for as long as there have been journalism - the trick is to dig through the sources and verify them and then question the infodump.
      The only new part is things like social media which amplifies key stories - or worse is used as the only way to communicate with someone in power.

      The reason why Bidens son is relevant is that he is powerful and will get more powerful as his father looks to become the next President. If that makes people not want to vote for his dad is besides the point - not reporting on someone with that much comparative influence on society would be a miss and trying to take in to account the reactions that would come of such reporting and play them to whatever outcome you want is death for any self-critical press.

      That said - until the sources are actually verified, until whether or not they are being played is cleared - the reporting has to be very careful and perhaps leave info about it to the editorial pages if they want to.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        arp242
        Link Parent
        It's fine to dislike Biden, but he's a stepping stone in the right direction (more or less) and this constant shitting on him isn't helping his chance to win. There is a lot to report in the...

        It's fine to dislike Biden, but he's a stepping stone in the right direction (more or less) and this constant shitting on him isn't helping his chance to win.

        There is a lot to report in the world. The media has never really done impartial "just the facts ma'am" kind of reporting. First off, there are many facts in the world and newspapers have to choose which facts to report as they can't possibly report them all. Even then, just the story on with just the events as they happened is often not all that useful or even biased on its own, since you need to have context to properly understand it and good reporting will provide this context, which is often subjective both because you need to choose which context to report (there is often too much of that too), and because there is disagreement about various things.

        Essentially, it seems to me that choosing to report on this is a "biased" choice but so is choosing to not report on it. And yes, you can report with "we don't know" but by repeating unverified claims you are kind of confirming them. This is basically how the media how taken in 2016, and I can't blame them for not wanting to go down that road again.

        This is all a win for Trump as he can paint the media as the bad guys but he intentionally put them in an impossible situation where he's trying to force them to pick sides.

        8 votes
        1. ohyran
          Link Parent
          By me or the news? The entire complexity of journalism is to avoid subjectiveness and if possible display not just sources but eventual bias. It's something the press struggle with daily - its not...

          this constant shitting on him isn't helping his chance to win.

          By me or the news?

          There is a lot to report in the world.

          The entire complexity of journalism is to avoid subjectiveness and if possible display not just sources but eventual bias. It's something the press struggle with daily - its not new, and there is a reason why it's often 101 in journalism educations around the globe.
          The choice to report on an indication that one of the most powerful people in the worlds sons corruption accusations is not exactly a choice. It's news. No matter what, it is just that. The quality of reporting dictates HOW the news are communicated. The good/bad journalism lies in verifying the sources, working them and the material, and how the findings are presented, especially with how weak the sources are; not choosing what to report in the hopes that it will have a positive impact on the world.

          There is always a lot to report in the world. The BBC have had one single instance of not having any news to report in its history (it played music instead).

          And yes, you can report with "we don't know" but by repeating unverified claims you are kind of confirming them.

          That again is about good reporting, not the absence of reporting. In effect we probably agree, my opinion being that good journalism demands working the sources, then communicating them. What Trump is is a good quote machine. So news like "Trump claims" or "Sources connected to Trump claim" isn't uncommon. If that is building a wall, or that doctors make money from Covid... its all news. Being careful how to present it, how to work the source, or when it stops being news is relevant and part of good journalistic work - not avoiding to present it for fear of a negative impact.

          This is all a win for Trump as he can paint the media as the bad guys but he intentionally put them in an impossible situation where he's trying to force them to pick sides.

          Whether its a win for Trump or loss for Trump can't be the only metric with which good journalism is met. He's not forcing anyone to pick sides - but they are, like they are daily, forced to decide how to best communicate the news. The complexity of journalism is a daily fight with methods to avoid the clearest pitfalls. The work to communicate the news is always a struggle - and the way its played isn't new. From standing on a soapbox and scream a "Chicken in every pot" hoping some journalist will reprint it to leaking valuable information in a Washington parking garage it is playing the news for what it is, an attempt to communicate as-truthful-as-possible new and relevant things - or at worst an attempt to sell papers.

          For example: is the fact that evil garden gnome Nigel Farage is starting up the Brexit party again, but now as a anti-lockdown party, news? Or is it just helping a despicable little populist get more airtime? Both, obviously.

          But demanding the press silence because the news have a negative impact for you is a dangerous road to stumble down. Demanding good journalism, hell "stellar journalism" isn't. Which tbh would probably have the same effect in practice since it takes time too.
          The difference is how well they can verify their sources, how well they can clear them and how well they can display bias and eventual workings behind the scenes to get the news there. Here it was a short text about the accusations and how they couldn't be verified. Sure some rightwing nut job with a hard-on for Qanon faff will think its proof of the deep state but to them so is a random youtube-video about chemtrails.


          Again, not from the US - this is their election to have - but I see daily how the demand for removing free speech, curtailing journalism etc get more and more popular as talking points in the US. I would worry about how those themes have snuck in to the daily discourse.

          In the beginning you said the constant shitting on Biden isn't helping his chances to win. I can only assume you ment by me and not the news. Now, if my right to think and say that 70 year old patrician-class millionaires are rubbish hangs in the balance for a positive outcome - what makes you think that is an acceptable loss?
          What made you say that? In what other scenario would you hint that my hardly new or dramatic or hell lets be fair even interesting, opinion, should be kept to my self and slap a underhanded "it would be your fault if you didn't" at the end?
          It took me three read throughs to be able to focus on that part in your reply, and it terrifies me still.

          I hope your lad wins, I do. But I worry that its a pyrrhic victory at times. Or perhaps a Russian retreat.

          5 votes
    2. [4]
      onelap32
      Link Parent
      The most widely reported e-mail was verified a few days ago via DKIM. See https://github.com/robertdavidgraham/hunter-dkim

      The most widely reported e-mail was verified a few days ago via DKIM. See https://github.com/robertdavidgraham/hunter-dkim

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        From your link:

        From your link:

        Remember that while the email is validated, the context isn't. It's possible this reflects a secret meeting to conspire with Vice President Biden. Or, it's possible the guy attended one of the many Washington D.C. social functions whereby people shake hands with politicians and exchange pleasantries.

        12 votes
        1. arp242
          Link Parent
          Also, just because Hunter got hired because people hoped they could exert influence on Joe Biden doesn't mean that actually happened. If I buy you a drink with the hopes of having sex with you...

          Also, just because Hunter got hired because people hoped they could exert influence on Joe Biden doesn't mean that actually happened. If I buy you a drink with the hopes of having sex with you then that's no proof at all for us having sex :-)

          On one hand I don't want to dismiss stuff too much a "yeah, but there could have been ..." kind of reasoning, but on the other hand it's hard not to be extremely skeptical. Something about a boy crying wolf.

          10 votes
        2. onelap32
          Link Parent
          Oh, absolutely. My personal guess is that the meeting was little more than gladhanding for a few minutes at some event. But being able to move the discussion past "were the e-mails forged?" to...

          Oh, absolutely. My personal guess is that the meeting was little more than gladhanding for a few minutes at some event. But being able to move the discussion past "were the e-mails forged?" to "were the e-mails selectively released?" has value, as it keeps people in the same general reality.

  3. petrichor
    Link
    It's always astounding how people can read the same articles and emails in the same context and come away with completely different takes. The situation and (aggressive lack of) media coverage...

    It's always astounding how people can read the same articles and emails in the same context and come away with completely different takes.

    The situation and (aggressive lack of) media coverage surrounding this whole story is weird, unprecedented, and frankly scary, but reading that email chain and both sides' statements doesn't exactly make me sympathetic to Greenwald.

    10 votes
  4. [2]
    onelap32
    Link
    This is not as clear as you make it sound. Greenwald doesn't provide any evidence for the claim, and the e-mail chain he posted contradicts it.

    The Intercept refused to publish.

    This is not as clear as you make it sound. Greenwald doesn't provide any evidence for the claim, and the e-mail chain he posted contradicts it.

    7 votes
    1. petrichor
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah, that's pretty interesting. Mass' very first sentence is Aside: Glenn's response went out at 11:00pm, and while his follow-up response is (weirdly) lacking a time, it seems safe to assume the...

      Yeah, that's pretty interesting. Mass' very first sentence is

      Glenn, I have carefully read your draft and there is some I agree with and some I disagree with but am comfortable publishing.

      Aside: Glenn's response went out at 11:00pm, and while his follow-up response is (weirdly) lacking a time, it seems safe to assume the second email went out before the Intercept could follow up.

      5 votes
  5. skybrian
    Link
    It seems like this breakup is probably for the best. I’m not sure what there is to discuss?

    It seems like this breakup is probably for the best. I’m not sure what there is to discuss?

    2 votes