This week, Glenn Greenwald broke twitter by announcing that he was leaving the Intercept, the publication which he helped create.
Greenwald claims he is leaving because he feels the other editors are censoring an article he wrote in order to protect Joe Biden. The other editors claim that Greenwald is throwing a temper tantrum because they did not want to publish what they felt was a poorly sourced story about Hunter Biden.
Plenty of takes, some in good faith others not so much, have been written about Greenwald's resignation. So I will not offer much new info or insight into the nuances of what it means for a high-profile journalist to leave a six figure job in the middle of a pandemic, or to conjecture about why the other editors aren't interested in stories about Hunter Biden.
No, I just wanted to take the time to say this;
Glenn Greenwald is a total asshole.
There seems to be this shallow idea, both on the left and the right, that people who do good things from time to time are also good people and are grounded in reality. Greenwald is proof that this is bullshit.
Jacob Silverston in the New Republic put it in the best terms, "Greenwald seems to think he is beyond editing or critique."
Anyone who has followed Greenwald on twitter since the Snowden story knows this to be true. Greenwald got a lucky break with that scoop in 2012 and it seems to have progressively gone to his head over the years. I can vouch for this because I have experienced Greenwald's ego first hand.
Attached are images of a thread of his that I posted on, mistakenly in good faith, where he retorts with immediate personal attacks, calling my ideas "bullshit" and "ahistorical." I will let my dear reader be the judge of that, but you can also see the hint of the ego here because he made this comment on a RT I had posted of his original tweet, not in his own thread. We all defend our point of view from time to time, but why would a high profile journalist like him feel the need to take such exception to a comment from a small time account like mine? Kicked dogs bark the loudest I suppose.
Further, regarding his comment, pushing Biden to the left isn't what our goal should be, our goal should be to get him to bend to public pressure. Biden will never say the words "i love medicare for all" but a mass movement could scare the shit out of him into signing it into law. To equate ""pushing Biden left" with getting Biden to sign legislation that addresses material needs is tactical idiocracy.
I am not the only one who Greenwald has responded to criticism with personal attacks, look at Greenwald's twitter from to today and you will find an endless array of bad faith smears, right-wing talking points and conspiracy theories, and a childish responses to those who disapprove of his opinions or do not like his writing.
It's time to admit that just because Greenwald broke the story about Edward Snowden, exposing massive corruption in our capitalist state, that doesn't make Greenwald an inherently good comrade or even a good journalist or person. I see no difference between Greenwald's leaving the Intercept and Bari Weiss leaving the New York Times because both are crying about censorship despite having stakes in some of the most widely read publications in the world and a following of hundreds of thousands of people.
I also see no difference in the opportunism you commonly see from journalists after they get famous off a big scoop. Let's be honest, some journalists get famous off of one story and then they coast on it the rest of their lives, even if they never do something of substance ever again. Bob Woodward is the best example of this, name one scoop Woodward has brought to the world since Watergate? Can't do it, can you? That is because he is no longer a journalist out to find truth, he is now a pundit seeking to make a profit, one can see this clearly especially in his demonstration of low journalistic integrity by sitting on the story of Trump's covid debacle to protect his book sales.
I see no difference between that and Greenwald's behavior.
We need to stop making excuses for people like Greenwald, we need to stop letting people who do one good thing coast and capitalize on that thing. The level of attention that came with exposing the NSA has clearly gone to Greenwald's head and given him a sense of entitlement to never be criticized, something no writer is entitled to.
Stop giving people like Greenwald a free pass just because their work validates your own politics and agenda. It's really as simple as that. Greenwald has acted like he is too good for criticism and we have obliged him for too long because he broke the important story about Edward Snowden. I say we stop making excuses for the celebrities in our movement and hold everyone to scrutiny to maintain the integrity of the left.
Glenn Greenwald did a good thing for the world in 2012, that doesn't mean he is a good comrade, journalist, or person.