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I haven’t been a fan of Glenn Greenwald. I disagreed with his take on the war on terror and I have found his views on Israel repulsive, to say the least.
Since he left the practice of law to pursue journalism, Greenwald has become a prominent reporter. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his role in the Snowden affair, about which much is to be learned from Ed Epstein’s How America Lost Its Secrets. He also (literally) went onstage to pick up an Academy Award with Laura Poitras in 2015 for the Snowden documentary Citizenfour. Greenwald is his own man, but they told the story as Snowden wanted it told.
It might nevertheless be noted, as I take it from Ed’s account, that the vast majority of documents Snowden stole (including military secrets) had nothing to do with government misdeeds and were not given to journalists. In light of current events, Ed’s concluding chapters on Snowden’s refuge in Russia take on heightened interest along with his account of his research in Russia. I recommend Ed’s book to anyone interested in the Snowden story beyond the headlines.
If I may borrow Glenn Reynolds’s formulation, I would like to say that we’ve descended into some sort of bizarre hellworld in which Greenwald has become the voice of reason. He quit the Intercept, the site he co-founded with Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, when it declined to publish his article on Joe and Hunter Biden in connection with Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop (“TITLE: THE REAL SCANDAL: U.S. MEDIA USES FALSEHOODS TO DEFEND JOE BIDEN FROM HUNTER’S EMAILS”). Greenwald provided an account of his resignation on Substack here.
Denouncing what he calls “corporate journalism,” Greenwald has become a powerful voice calling for fairness and accountability. In the video below posted on his Substack site, Greenwald criticizes the doxing of the Libs of TikTok Twitter author by Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz. Greenwald’s account in the first 20 minutes of the video is excellent and thorough, even if my take on the Pentagon Papers case, subsequent exposures of highly classified intelligence, and the “neocon led war on terror,” as Greenwald puts it in what follows, doesn’t exactly gibe with his.
We don’t really need Greenwald’s review of his career in journalism to understand his critique of Taylor Lorenz, the Washington Post, and the “corporate journalism” they represent. However, he establishes his own thesis about the journalism he respects and the whole thing is illuminating in its own way.