Don’t ever refer to Glenn Greenwald as “blogger Glenn Greenwald.” Whenever some poor bastard in the traditional press describes him as such, he strenuously objects in classic Greenwaldian fashion, usually involving the word “drooling” and 5,000 words, give or take. He’s a journalist, dammit, not a blogger. And don’t you forget it, mister. In fact, in his most recent post for The Intercept, Greenwald bends over backwards to make sure everyone knows he’s a Journalist Doing Journalism. Also, journalist. Did I mention journalism?
But the way he’s described The Intercept‘s view of journalism in a new profile published in The Guardian, he inadvertently makes it sound like it’s just another blog — with, of course, a really juicy goody bag of source material courtesy of Edward Snowden.
I’ll come back to that presently. But first, I’d like to underscore that my gripe with Greenwald, contra-Charlie Pierce, has nothing to do with what I think of him personally. Frankly, the one or two non-political chats I’ve had with Greenwald over Twitter and email, he’s seemed nice enough. That notwithstanding, I think Greenwald is a terrible journalist/blogger — whatever you choose to call him — and I believe he’s seriously misled and misinformed thousands if not millions of readers via his too-clever redefinition of what he considers to be “doing journalism.” Clearly, many of the people who’ve read Greenwald over the past year have been unaware of his agenda beyond transparency, privacy and surveillance.
Since the advent of the written word, people have generally believed what they read, and so it goes with Greenwald’s reporting. Couple that with misleading headlines, buried ledes and hyperbolic leaps of logic, Greenwald has achieved mostly what he set out to do: hook the general public into believing that the National Security Agency is in our electronic devices watching our every move and collecting our every thought. Even though it’s, you know, not doing that.
But to me and a handful of others, this story is much more than about what NSA is up to. Greenwald and his colleagues at The Intercept, The Guardian and even NBC News are zealously abandoning the basic and quite important Journalism 101 rules, mainly because operating according to those rules of journalism would dampen the dramatic impact they’re attempting with this story.
In The Guardian yesterday, Greenwald announced that there won’t be any editors approving or rejecting articles for The Intercept:
“We want to avoid this hierarchical, top-down structure where editors are bosses and obstacles to being published,” Greenwald explains. “We are trying to make it much more collaborative. Our journalists have a variety of tools to make their writing better and one of them is the editor. We also want journalists to help to hire editors.”
Only Greenwald would demonize the notion of critical editors… [READ MORE]