What follows is a simple statement on Glenn Greenwald’s resignation from The Intercept and what it means to me.
The arc of Greenwald’s career describes an era. I began reading his work when he was an unknown blogger in the days of the open internet. He soon attracted a large following and began a period of moving more and more into the mainstream; first, with Salon, and later with the Guardian, from where he delivered the Snowden files, at a time when Wikileaks was the darling of all the major liberal news media.
In 2013, he left the Guardian, at a time when the newspaper’s relationship with Julian Assange/Wikileaks was beginning to break down and started The Intercept, which delivered on its promise of fearless journalism by breaking more Snowden stories and with its coverage of the Vault 7 leaks of CIA hacking tools, before slowly sliding away from its mission with some atrocious hires (Mehdi Hasan being the worst) and smear pieces (of Julian Assange/Wikileaks, both of which have always served as the canary in the coal mine); the last few years have witnessed The Intercept’s transformation into an outfit indistinguishable from The Nation, Mother Jones, etc.
So here we are, it’s 2020, and Julian Assange is going through the paradoxical spectacle of a show trial held behind closed doors, Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party, and Greenwald has resigned from The Intercept because his editors refuse to countenance any criticism of Joe Biden. We have come full circle, and Greenwald has gone back to blogging, but in an era of a closed rather than an open internet, and when those he attacked during the Bush/Cheney years are front and center once again, setting the news agenda sometimes literally, with countless former CIA officers now acting as pundits on the cable news networks and with neocons now partnering a Democratic Party that shares their wish for a new Cold War.
Looking back, older, wiser, and sadder, those days of the mid-2000s hardly seem as hellish now, days when one couldn’t, in one’s innocence, imagine that anything worse than a Bush/Cheney presidency was possible.
Thank you for not listening.