Glenn Greenwald resigns from news outlet he co-founded after story on Biden spiked.
By S.T. Patrick
If censorship becomes the rule of the realm, it will have done so because it was allowed to permeate both the political right and the political left like a virus. It will have found safety in its rise because half the population felt some satisfaction, or some comeuppance, when “the other side” was censored. It has become so powerful in 2020 that independent journalist Glenn Greenwald faced it at “The Intercept,” an online news organization he helped co-found with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill in 2013. Greenwald’s recent resignation from “The Intercept” has sent shockwaves through the alternative media, as independent organizations all around begin to tackle the differences between editing and censorship, along with debating the purpose of even having an alternative media if you can’t go to print without fearing the heavy hand of censorship.
Greenwald isn’t an angry partisan with a highspeed internet connection and a decent vocabulary holing in his mom’s basement in Nebraska. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked as a constitutional attorney for 10 years before leaving the legal profession to write for news organizations Salon and The Guardian. He was an openly left-leaning opinion columnist until he began, in June 2013, understanding the destructive nature of the bipartisan national security state. Greenwald began publishing articles critical of the global surveillance programs forced upon the world by the U.S. and England. The backbone of Greenwald’s important work was a trove of documents obtained by national security whistleblower Edward Snowden. Greenwald is a serious journalist who writes about serious topics with an incredible amount of care and concern for the people they affect. When he co-founded “The Intercept,” it was an opportunity for him to have even more freedom to do his best work.
On Oct. 20, Greenwald resigned from “The Intercept,” stating that the organization had censored his work on Joe Biden’s dealings with both China and the Ukraine.
Greenwald, on his new “Substack” blog, wrote, “The final, precipitating cause is that ‘The Intercept’ 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. . . . [C]ensorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.”
Greenwald is now his own news organization, publishing his work at the pay-site Substack. He explained, “As of now, I will be publishing my journalism here on Substack, where numerous other journalists, including my good friend, the great intrepid reporter Matt Taibbi, have come in order to practice journalism free of the increasingly repressive climate that is engulfing national mainstream media outlets across the country.”
He also criticized the media establishment that some publishers such as “The Intercept,” a well-funded organization, fall into when they make decisions from a partisan viewpoint rather than a journalistic one. “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.”
“The Intercept” editors claimed their work on Greenwald’s story was mere editing and not censorship.
Greenwald is a different kind of writer now, less partisan and more idealistic. He joins a rising group of young independent journalists on both the right and the left that are trying to shed both of those linear political labels in their search for the truth behind the right and wrongs of not only American policy but international policy. Greenwald, along with Taibbi, Aaron Mate, Elizabeth Vos, Max Blumenthal, Caitlin Johnstone, and Whitney Webb, are becoming a force of their own in the world of journalism.
What Greenwald does for national security issues, Taibbi does for censorship issues and partisan malfeasance. Mate has become the most important American journalist critical of the mainstream media’s Russiagate obsession, while Vos has become an expert of historic child trafficking, and Webb was better than anyone on the Jeffrey Epstein story. Johnstone holds the establishment media and politicians accountable on a daily basis with her feisty and pointed criticisms. Blumenthal, the son of Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, has surprisingly been focused on the non-partisan issue of being anti-war, as he has done brilliant work on Syria, Venezuela, Palestine, and Russia. All of these writers have been affiliated with news organizations at some point, or still are, yet they all maintain a fierce independent streak, which also makes them current or eventual victims of censorship.
Taibbi and Mate in October were criticized by leftist partisans for appearing on Fox News to talk about Russiagate and other global concerns. Both were somewhat surprised by the criticisms, yet they both admittedly have had their eyes opened to a partisanship for which they now have little tolerance.
Greenwald has been straddling the line of nonpartisanship for years at this point. Author and academic Sean Wilentz says Greenwald’s positions are where the far-left and far-right meet. Brian Dean of “The Independent” wrote of Greenwald in 2017, “Greenwald has been critical of Trump, but is perceived by many as someone who spends far more time criticizing ‘Dems’ and ‘liberals.’ ” Within the last two years, he has been criticized heavily by mainstream journalists on the left for defending Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, criticizing Russia hysteria, and supporting candidates such as Tulsi Gabbard, who in no way was a favorite of the Democratic National Committee or establishment Democrats.
This year of great discontent has produced heroes. Strife always does. If you are tired of the failures of mainstream journalism, there are writers online who are still doing world-changing work. You made one decision for the alternative when you subscribed to American Free Press in lieu of a more politically accepted newspaper. Heroism still exists in journalism, but you have to find it and support it in a Big Media world that increasingly makes it more difficult to do so.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]. He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.