Glenn Greenwald’s war on the Russia investigation

Photograph by Sebastian Palmer


Interesting item, both for the insight into the subject and into ‘journalism’ 2018.

The original title of the article was Does This Man Know More Than Robert Mueller? And the photo seems to have been chosen to show some grotesque version of its subject.

But this is a feature-length item and surely it will present an interesting look into the interesting and somewhat disappointing subject. 

And sure enough, the beginning of the article does offer at least some insight into what makes Greenwald tick and gives ample, early-space to his views on ‘Russiagate,’ but at the same time it starts to show a certain level of contempt, both for his views and his assertion that we are living in a period of McCarthyism.

Yes, the author seems to be saying, Greenwald does offer some proof that Russiagate is hype, but then writes in relation to another subject that “Greenwald’s been yelling about this, quite heatedly, since before the election.”

So the point is? That only a crybaby would express concerns about a New McCarthyism? Or assert the need for a media that actually reports on something other than ‘the party line?’ Who knows.

But as the feature moves along, the passing veneer of ‘bipartisan’ reportage takes on the hint of same-old-same-old as it proceeds to ‘build its case’ against its subject. 

It is too bad. Such articles could be viewed as yet-another-missed opportunity to restore the value of real journalism, but let’s be honest. This type of ‘reporting’ is truly the norm. 

Either way, this is yet-another missed opportunity.  The absurd notion that the election of Donald Trump is the single worst thing to happen to mankind since the dawn of creation is growing tiresome.

If you want to fight the perception of ‘fake news,’ how about writing some real news for a change. 


21 Jan 2018|| New York Magazine

“It’s 10:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro time. Glenn Greenwald and I are finishing dinner at a deserted bistro in Ipanema. The restaurant, which serves its sweating beer bottles in metal buckets and goes heavy on the protein, is almost aggressively unremarkable (English menus on the table, a bossa-nova version of “Hey Jude” on the stereo). Greenwald avoids both meat and alcohol but seems to enjoy dining here. “I really believe that if I still lived in New York, the vast majority of my friends would be New York and Washington media people and I would kind of be implicitly co-opted.” He eats a panko-crusted shrimp. “It just gives me this huge buffer. You’ve seen how I live, right? When I leave my computer, that world disappears.”

Greenwald, now 50, has seemed to live in his own bubble in Rio for years, since well before he published Edward Snowden’s leaks and broke the domestic-spying story in 2013 — landing himself a Pulitzer Prize, a book deal, and, in time, the backing of a billionaire (that’s Pierre Omidyar) to start a muckraking, shit-stirring media empire (that’s First Look Media, home to the Intercept, though its ambitions have been downgraded over time). But he seems even more on his own since the election, just as the agitated left has regained the momentum it lost in the Obama years.

The reason is Russia. For the better part of two years, Greenwald has resisted the nagging bipartisan suspicion that Trumpworld is in one way or another compromised by a meddling foreign power. If there’s a conspiracy, he suspects, it’s one against the president; where others see collusion, he sees “McCarthyism.” Greenwald is predisposed to righteous posturing and contrarian eye-poking — and reflexively more skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community than of those it tells us to see as “enemies.”

And even if claims about Russian meddling are corroborated by Robert Mueller’s investigation, Greenwald’s not sure it adds up to much — some hacked emails changing hands, none all that damaging in their content, maybe some malevolent Twitter bots. In his eyes, the Russia-Trump story is a shiny red herring — one that distracts from the failures, corruption, and malice of the very Establishment so invested in promoting it. And when in January, as “Journalism Twitter” was chastising the president for one outrage or another, Congress quietly passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize sweeping NSA surveillance, you had to admit Greenwald might have been onto something.

“When Trump becomes the starting point and ending point for how we talk about American politics, [we] don’t end up talking about the fundamental ways the American political and economic and cultural system are completely fucked for huge numbers of Americans who voted for Trump for that reason,” he says. “We don’t talk about all the ways the Democratic Party is a complete fucking disaster and a corrupt, sleazy sewer, and not an adequate alternative to this far-right movement that’s taking over American politics.”

Greenwald’s been yelling about this, quite heatedly, since before the election. “In the Democratic Echo Chamber, Inconvenient Truths Are Recast As Putin Plots,” reads the headline of an Intercept piece published in October 2016. “The Increasingly Unhinged Russia Rhetoric Comes From a Long-Standing U.S. Playbook,” reads another, from February 2017. As Mueller’s investigation widened, no fallen domino — not the guilty plea of former Trump national-security adviser Michael Flynn, not the indictment of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — chastened Greenwald. When it was recently reported that Steve Bannon had lobbed a “treason” charge in the direction of Donald Trump Jr. — precipitating his break with the president — Greenwald rolled his eyes. Bannon’s “motives are pure & pristine and he is simply trying to inform the public about the truth,” Greenwald tweeted sarcastically.

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