The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: Glenn Greenwald

The Hunter Biden Documents Lead To Greenwald’s Resignation From the Intercept

Glenn Greenwald

Glen Greenwald wanted to post an article on how media coverage of the Hunter-Biden case has concentrated on “Russia” and “disinformation” when there’s good reason to believe the documents are true. The Intercept would not accept it, so he resigned.

Matt Taibbi has written a long piece and if you want the details, go there. It includes the actual texts of emails and as someone who has both edited and been edited, I agree with Taibbi, these are emails from an editor who want the author to write a different article and won’t let it thru till he does.

The bottom line here is that whoever provided the emails and texts), there is, so-far, no reason to believe they are false. Quoting from Taibbi:

When the likes of Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden wrote a joint letter decrying the recent Post story as a seeming Russian mischief, they were very careful in what they said. They used the term “information operation” instead of “misinformation,” and prominently included the line, “We do not have evidence of Russian involvement.”

Now I don’t care if there was Russian involvement, but the Biden campaign has refused to deny any of these texts or emails being real. My experience is that if a subject won’t deny, there’s fire, not just smoke.

This story is essentially identical to the DNC emails story of the last election, where it was shown that the DNC had cheated on Hillary’s behalf. That was never denied, all that was done is say “this is Russian and Russians are bad.”

But wherever the information came from, it was true and the DNC had colluded with Hillary to hurt Sanders’ chances in the primary, which was news that Americans had a right to know, no matter what the source. (There is no norm in journalism for not publishing “stolen” information. If there was, the Pentagon papers could never have happened.)

As far as I can tell, odds are that the Biden information is true. Of course it was released in a way meant to harm Biden the most; at a key point in the election. The people releasing it have an agenda. That’s no different from anyone else releasing information to journalists: they have agendas. (I still get PR emails every day. They always have an angle and something they want.)

The questions you ask are “is this true?” and “is this something the public should know?”

If Joe Biden’s son was using his father, and involving his father in corruption, that’s something the public deserves to know.

That the coverage has concentrated on “this is disinformation” and “it’s from Russia” without proving either, is pathetic.

This doesn’t change the fact that Trump is obviously FAR more corrupt than Biden, but Biden’s corruption is a story and deserves to be published.

There’s a lot of hate for Greenwald, a TON of it, because he never bought into the Russian interference story and spoke out against it repeatedly. (Remember the “Russian bounties for US soldiers lives that turned out false?).

People hate Trump. They see him as uniquely bad (Iraqis would laugh at these posers), and they have been corrupted by him. Because he is uniquely bad they feel it is OK to throw aside their own ethics and principles to fight him. This has especially infected a lot of journalists and bloggers.

Greenwald kept pointing out that they had violated their own principles. People hate that. They really, really can’t stand being shown up that way.

And so they hate Greenwald. (Who, as an aside, put himself at personal physical risk by reporting stolen information which hurt Bolsonaro, who rules Brazil where Greenwald lives.)

I don’t agree with Greenwald on everything (I don’t agree with anyone on everything, even myself.) But he’s been consistent, largely intellectually honest and put himself on the line repeatedly for his principles.

As far as I can tell Russia did interfere in the US election, but the interference didn’t amount to much. Less than Hillary refusing to campaign in battleground states. Certainly Russia interfered less than the US routinely interferes in other countries elections, including Russia’s. It’s a story, but it didn’t cause Hillary’s loss, except inasmuch as everything caused Hillary’s loss.

The group think based on Trump hatred has had vastly corrosive effects on journalistic integrity. It reminds me of when the New York Times refused to publish a story on widespread wiretapping just before the 2004 election, because they didn’t want to “interfere” with the election. In that case, obviously, they wanted Bush to win. In this case, most journalists want Biden to win.

You can have a preference and opinion, and the editorial pages exist so you can express that. What is not OK is allowing that to infect your news coverage.

This norm, needless to say, is routinely violated. Every single day. In the early 2000s it was for Republicans, Bush and the Iraq war. Now it’s for Biden and against Trump.

Perhaps they’re right this time, but they were wrong last time, and more to the point, journalism is how citizens are informed. You can have your own opinion, but if people believe you are slanting the facts, they stop trusting the press and stop listening.

And then, even when you tell the truth, they don’t listen. Decades of increasing lies, from the repeal of the fairness doctrine, have led to a place where most people don’t trust the media. The media didn’t call Trump on his lies in 2016 when it mattered or Bush on his lies when it could have saved a million lives. Now they call Trump on his lies, but refuse to treat accusations against Biden fairly.

The media is the boy who cried wolf. Nowadays even when they sometimes tell the truth, many people don’t believe them, and that’s reasonable. That’s sensible. Because how can you know if this time is the time the truth serves whatever cause they now believe in or have to support because of their publishers?

And that’s the actual problem.

Update: (You can read Greenwald’s own comments on his decision to leave here. Particularly damning is that he was not involved in the Reality Winner situation (where the Intercept’s editors basically gave her up to be imprisoned.))

Everything I write here is free, but rent isn’t, so if you value my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

Why Actual Principled People Are Difficult (Glenn Greenwald Edition)

Glenn Greenwald

You may have heard that Glenn Greenwald, the founder of the Intercept, has been charged with cybercrimes by the Brazilian Federal Government. Glenn’s the reporter who broke the story of how Brazil’s ex-President Lula was taken down by Brazilian prosecutors. Moro, the chief prosecutor, was later rewarded by Bolsonaro with appointment as the Minister of Justice. All polls indicated that Lula would have defeated Bolsonaro.

The logic of the case is the same as the logic used by the US government to go after Assange, by the way: That Greenwald was in contact with and counseled hackers. Those people who are supporting Greenwald but don’t support Assange are hypocrites: Brazil is using the Assange precedent to go after Greenwald.

I support Greenwald, of course, as I have supported Assange, Manning, and Snowden.

Now this is the part of the piece where people (and with respect to Assange, I’ve done it) cavil a bit and say something like: “Despite Mr or Ms. X being problematic,” or some-such.

And it’s that I want to talk about, but not to condemn it. To explore it.

Because it’s almost always the case.

When Greenwald indicated he was going to oppose Bolsonaro, after the election, before he had revealed the evidence of Bolsonaro’s crime, I told him, twice, “This is dangerous.”

Bolsonaro’s so right-wing one might as well just call him a fascist. He celebrates policies of shooting political enemies. He’s a dangerous, dangerous man.

Glenn ignored me. I doubt the danger ever figured into his decision to go after Bolsonaro.

Meanwhile we have Manning, who is in jail for refusing to testify against Assange. When in military prison, Manning tried to commit suicide, she found it so unbearable. Despite that, knowing how awful it would be, she chose to go to jail rather than testify.

That’s bravery. (I note that all the Republicans refusing to testify under subpoena are sleeping at home, and haven’t been hit with fines intended to bankrupt them and cost them their home, as was Manning.)

Snowden pissed off the most powerful intelligence service and country in the world. He ran. Wikileaks helped him run, Greenwald published his revelations.

So I understand the caviling, but the point normal people don’t get is that these are all immensely morally brave individuals. They have actual principles they are willing to suffer for.

Most people don’t. They claim to have values, but they have never sacrificed anything meaningful for them, and never will. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. I’d say that even when it comes to their children, whom most people claim to love more than themselves, actions indicate that, well, they don’t.

People have preferences, not principles.

Most people.

Then you get people like Greenwald, Assange, Manning and Snowden. They are polarizing figures. They are loved or hated. They piss people off.

They piss people off precisely because they have principles they consider non-negotiable. They will not do the easy thing when it matters. They will not compromise on anything that really matters.

That’s breaking the actual social contract of “Go along to get along,” “Obey authority,” and “Don’t make people uncomfortable.” I recently talked to a senior activist who was uncomfortable even with the idea of yelling at powerful politicians. It struck them as close to violence.

So here’s the thing, people want men and women of principle to be like ordinary people.

They aren’t. They can’t be. If they were, they wouldn’t do what they do. Much of what you may not like about a Greenwald or Assange or Manning or Snowden is why they are what they are. Not just the principle, but the bravery verging on recklessness. The willingness to say exactly what they think, and do exactly what they believe is right even if others don’t.

They don’t compromise, and they often act without regard to the risks and dangers and whether or not anyone else agrees with them.

That’s what makes them what they are, and it is very rare that you get the good without the bad.

Ordinary people judge them by their own, ordinary standards. But these people don’t live by the standards of ordinary people, because ordinary people are mostly authority and herd followers. And those courtiers who have betrayed principle over and over again to become senior journalists and editors, well, people like Greenwald, Assange, and Manning are a rebuke to them that they can never even acknowledge consciously.

People with principles and bravery enough to stand on them, even in the face of great risk and against authority and the herd, are rarely comfortable people.

Money would be rather useful, as I don’t get paid by the piece. If you want to support my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén