Annotating Glenn Greenwald's sudden resignation from The Intercept

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/01/annotating-glenn-greenwalds-sudden-resignation-from-the-intercept.html

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If Glenn Greenwald isn’t a Russian agent, well then what the hell is he? People don’t push these Russian intel narratives so strongly by accident, and Greenwald has a long history of doing this. A useful idiot? I think not.

In any case, it is good that he is not writing for the Intercept anymore. The Intercept is a center-left media outlet and Glenn Greenwald has shifted to alt-right; he will be more comfortable at Breitbart or wherever he ends up.

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An egomaniac who is convinced he is right. Nothing more or less.

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Glenn Greenwald, the M Night Shyamalan of journalism.

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A lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. He’ll find good company with Taibbi at Suckstack.

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Charlie Pierce nails it from a writer’s POV:

And that’s before getting into whatever motivations are pulling Greenwald into the service of right-wing populist BS peddlers.

and then, after offering this clarifications, immediately launches into lengthy yarns about his general ire towards the Democratic Party and the Establishment Elite.

While many of us have criticisms of both, it takes a willful sort of privilege-blindness not to recognise one’s own status as an elite when one has Greenwald’s annual income and CV. And thus does a once-solid journalist turned aspiring People’s Hero™ become a pawn of right-wingers spreading disinformation (see also Walter Duranty).

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Seems like an ego that went unchecked for too long and now he’s sliding down an alt-right rabbit hole to boot. Whatever; anyone making that kind of money to sit around and opinionate has no standing to complain about anything.

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Greenwald should have resigned when The Intercept failed to protect the anonymity of several of their sources, including Reality Winner, who currently serves a jail sentence for The Intercept’s negligence while Greenwald raked in the money. What a pathetic wanker.

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that, sir, is an insult to shyamalan.

at least people who trusted shyamalan didn’t end up in jail because of it.

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One of the more interesting mistakes Greenwald made in his article has to do with the question of how one goes about verifying a leaked collection of documents.

Greenwald claims that there are ways to verify leaked collections of documents. For example, one may not be able to completely verify the more salacious emails; but one can gain certainty that the collection is valid by checking to see whether some set of the incidental emails are authentic and as appropriate for the collection overall. The idea being, I think, that it’s easy to forge one email, but virtually impossible to forge thousands. Greenwald claims that it’s easy to do that, and it must have been done already.

The problem with that is that it hasn’t been authenticated. Giuliani has released the contents of the hard drive to only two media outlets: The New York Post, and Fox News. I wouldn’t count on Fox News analysis; and it seems unlikely that The New York Post did any kind of serious analysis either.

CNN has stated that they wouldn’t cover the story because they had asked either the entire contents of the hard drive, or the entire collection of emails, so that they could verify authenticity; but they were refused. The Washington Post has also written at length about problems with lack of access to original material

Even the most basic of forensic data – the email headers – have been removed from those emails that have been selectively released. The Washington Post has also stated that they wouldn’t publish the story until they were given access to enough data to conduct forensic analysis.

So yes, it is easy. Unless Tucker Carlson “loses a UPS shipment containing the the original documents”. Safe to say that the Fox News authentication efforts aren’t being taken too seriously.

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“ “I have spent a couple of months in active discussions with some of the most interesting, independent and vibrant journalists, writers and commentators across the political spectrum about the feasibility of securing financing for a new outlet that would be designed to combat these trends.”

It would be a new publication, he said, staffed by people from across the political spectrum who, according to a document that they’ve been working on, share a belief that “American media is gripped in a polarized culture war that is forcing journalism to conform to tribal, groupthink narratives that are often divorced from the truth and cater to perspectives that are not reflective of the broader public but instead a minority of hyper-partisan elites.”

An informed media observer, or someone who spends too much time on Twitter, could come up with a list of who might be called to join such a publication: Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Andrew Sullivan, Zaid Jilani, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Michael Tracey, perhaps some podcasters notorious for straddling the left-right divide, and anyone else who thinks that threats to speech emanate from a censorious, liberal-dominated culture and not from Donald Trump, corporate power, or police brutalizing protesters in the streets.

Forget Persuasion or Quillette or whatever free speech absolutist publication is currently fermenting in a billionaire’s petri dish. This will be a Voltron of some of the most insufferable people in American media, few of whom do any original reporting anymore, decrying the cancellation of their friends at the hands of frigid elites. Funded by those same elites, it likely will be humorless and dull, hammering on the same tired culture war tropes until they are unrecognizable.

And who will fund such a publication, whose staff will likely expect to recuperate the hefty salaries they are accustomed to? The billionaire that puts libertarian iconoclasts, professional rageaholics, racist disaffected conservatives, and some members of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web on the same payroll will be far more malevolent than Intercept owner Pierre Omidyar, who has no shortage of his own peculiar investments and unacknowledged political commitments. Some possibilities come to mind—perhaps a Trump-friendly tech mogul notorious for killing a genuinely free-thinking publication—but one hesitates to summon the demon by naming it.”

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Someone who committed the common mental error of thinking that since the US government is bad, anyone they accuse of being bad (such as Russia, or Donald Trump) must actually be okay. Combine this with plenty of ego and the sunk cost fallacy, where he refuses to even consider the possibility that he might have been played, and eventually you get where we are now: Greenwald basically claiming that anyone who doesn’t uncritically accept and spread the transparent hack-job smear on Hunter Biden is a Deep State tool.

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Unfortunately, classical desinformation consist of taking one thousand real but trivial dociments and then add just a few pieces of forged material, based on just this argument, that people who check the other documents will assume the explosive one is true as well.

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It seems like a rather strong backlash against Greenwald to me. Hunter Biden getting paid by Burisma may be garden variety corruption but it still sucks. I’t’s as if everyone just forgot the DNC forced the last two candidates down our throats despite them both being weak candidates with poor progressive records ( invasion of Iraq! Recognition of coup in Honduras!). Assuming Biden wins I want a constant stream of criticism and analysis of all of his administrations moves to come from all sectors of the journalism ecosphere.
As for labeling anyone critical of Obama or Biden alt/right, that’s insane. Plenty of us hold our tongues so Trump will lose, but don’t kid yourself into thinking Biden is going to do what needs to be done to prevent the ongoing environmental collapse and major economic restructuring needed to reform society.
Yes the death cult GOP has to go. But don’t take your eye off the ball.
Greenwald is a hot head but at least he’s trying to keep his critical focus always trained on power. If I have to listen to another NPR piece where they interview Trump supporters I’m going to vomit.

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I’m happy for that to happen as long as it is accurate. Greenwald was failing to do that long before Hunter Biden.

Is anyone doing that? (Hint: I’m a libertarian-socialist, and we are not known for trusting Obama or Biden.)

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You win elections by winning the election.

Pretty sure that Obama wasn’t the likeliest candidate for the US to elect - nor was a woman running for President- hell even Biden was called unelectable just a few months ago for both the primary and the general- where he was being trounced by a gay guy, then a socialist- and a black woman and very progressive woman were all beating him and beating him n fundraising.

If you’re trying to say someone other than the winner of those contests should have been the candidate- who’s trying to force a candidate down people’s throats?

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Also, yes, you win elections by winning elections. Like Bush did. Cheating to win ok?
Also, I’m not trying to force a candidate down anyone’s throat, but a democracy that lets privately run political corporations gatekeep who can participate is problematic. From suing to keep third parties off the ballots to selective enforcement of rules within their own organizations to favor certain outcomes. One can still support the “ winner” of such contests and acknowledge their biases design/implementation

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It’s a remarkably shoddy piece that feels exactly like something written to get out of a contract (not really like those deliberately terrible records that some singers record, but there are similarities.)

But for me Greenwald has become like several others in the same field - they hang out with the conspiracy theorists for so long, trying to understand them, that they end up falling down the rabbit hole instead (I’d call it Stockholm Syndrome except that it seems to be voluntary.) And it’s very unclear if there is any way back.

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Like many on the center right (or even slightly left of center right and everything to the right of it) - the Trumpisim of the country has exposed them to the fact that ‘mainstream media’ is ‘left leaning’ because that’s what the majority of the people want. They aren’t being censored or drowned out by some nefarious cabal - like any good huckster they are finding themselves for lack of customers because the public has finally caught onto the snake oil being junk.

The problem is they’ve so bought into the cult they can’t see the forest for the trees anymore - they are doubling down, hopefully there is a landslide - it might be the only thing ‘reality jarring’ enough to pull them back from the precipice.

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