BFP Exclusive: And an Oligarch Shall Lead Them: Omidyar, Greenwald & First Look Media’s Attack on the Future of the Press

“Now, if you want to take the position that people should not work at organizations funded by oligarchs, or that journalism is inherently corrupted if funded by rich people with bad political views…” Glenn Greenwald

The long-term mission of the news blog The Intercept, launched in February 2014 by First Look Media—the recently developed news organization created and entirely funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to the tune of $250 million—is “to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues.” However, the vital basis behind its creation really lies in its short-term mission, which is “to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.”

That’s because two of the website’s three founding editors—former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras—are the only two people that are known to possess the entire cache of what Snowden stole from the National Security Agency’s networks, estimated to be anywhere in the range of 58,000 to 1.7 million documents, and possibly more.

The third founding editor, war correspondent and Dirty Wars author Jeremy Scahill, is a fitting example of the types of professionals that First Look Media has actively pursued: independent-minded journalists with a history, be it perceived or real, of conducting adversarial, investigative reportage against the most powerful governmental and corporate bodies. 

This, all under the direct financial backing of Omidyar, The Intercept’s publisher, whose personal fortune is worth $8.2 billion (according to the most recent Forbes estimate).

The Deciders

In a December interview with The Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman (with whom he additionally leaked selected documents to), Snowden said that he wanted to give society “a chance to determine if it should change itself,” and that all he wanted was “for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”

Such an opportunity was never actually afforded to the public directly, however. This noble task was instead entrusted to only a select group of journalists. According to Greenwald, Snowden “carefully selected which documents he thought should be disclosed and concealed, then gave them to a newspaper with a team of editors and journalists and repeatedly insisted that journalistic judgments be exercised about which of those documents should be published in the public interest and which should be withheld.”

It is his “agreement” with his “source” that has become something of a faux-journalistic maxim for Greenwald to vigilantly cite ad nauseam.

As he wrote in January via his personal blog:

Anyone who demands that we “release all documents” – or even release large numbers in bulk – is demanding that we violate our agreement with our source, disregard the framework we created when he gave us the documents, jeopardize his interests in multiple ways, and subject him to far greater legal (and other) dangers. I find that demand to be unconscionable, and we will never, ever violate our agreement with him no matter how many people want us to.

Current calculations made by Cryptome read as follows:

Rate of release over 6 months, 132.8 pages per month, equals 436 months to release 58,000, or 36.3 years. Thus the period of release has decreased in the past month from 42 years.

That means that, judging by the current release rate, it will be another 36 years before the full scope of the NSA’s massive surveillance apparatus is actually revealed to the public.

To help provide context to what appears to be a dubious conflation of journalistic ethics and legalities, I sought the opinion of civil rights attorney Stanley L. Cohen, whose penchant for defending activists spans some three decades, ranging anywhere from the IRA to Hamas.

“Every time a journalist raises these arguments about—‘Oh, I’ve got agreements’ and ‘I’ve cut deals’—it is a blow against all journalists,” says Cohen, “because ultimately what protects the journalist from government over-reaching is the journalist’s privilege.

“The intent behind the journalist’s privilege is not that a journalist is going to exercise discretion to decide what he or she thinks is in the public’s best interest, but is designed to facilitate the free-flow of information from a source to an intermediary who performs the function of keeping the public in the know, the loop; informed. It doesn’t contemplate this kind of unique vetting, self-censorship, and selection process that seems to give such strength to Mr. Greenwald.”

As established in Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. (1991), the Supreme Court previously affirmed that a promise to a source does create an enforceable agreement, with the Court ruling that the First Amendment does not bar a promissory estoppel suit against the press. Additionally, the journalist’s privilege asserts that reporters have a right to protect the identity of those to whom confidentiality was promised, including also the unpublished information provided by the source—though such a privilege is still far from being averse to legal challenge.

Greenwald, a lawyer-turned-blogger-turned-journalist, operates somewhere in the middle grounds of this legal hodgepodge. 

“He’s positioned himself very nicely,” Cohen concedes. “Greenwald apparently tries to be all things to all people. The real problem is he’s not only done damage to the journalist’s privilege, he’s also violating legal privilege. He picks and chooses what is all too convenient at various crossroads.

“I think there’s also some very serious confusion floating around here, because I heard people talk about—‘Well, he’s a lawyer.’ Well, he may be a lawyer, but Snowden is not his client. Greenwald needs to decide who the fuck he is. If he’s a lawyer, let him start practicing law. If he’s an agent, let him start making movies and get on with his life. If he’s a journalist, he needs to stop deciding what is in the best interest of the public’s right to know.”

Cohen recently represented a hacktivist involved in the December 2010 Anonymous-affiliated “denial of service attack” conducted against PayPal, a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay, in response to the company’s decision to block donations to the Wikileaks website. 11 of the 14 defendants—who came to be known as the “PayPal 14”—accepted a plea deal this past December. In reference to Omidyar’s late call for leniency in the case, Cohen noted in a De-Manufacturing Consent interview with Guillermo Jimenez that “the notion that all of a sudden [Omidyar] woke up and became egalitarian because he really had concerns about people he had persecuted for two years is absolute bullshit.”

Legitimizing Billionaire Benefactors

In late February, Pando ran an article by Mark Ames revealing that Omidyar’s Omidyar Network had co-funded Ukraine revolution groups, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of several years into the same NGOs as the US government—which ultimately helped propel regime change in Ukraine.

As Pando’s Paul Carr noted: “Omidyar and First Look have made statement after statement about how they aim to be a thorn in the side of the US government, and yet in several cases Omidyar has co-invested with that same US government to shape foreign policy to suit his own worldview.”

Such a collaboration is incredibly significant (as is Carr’s more recent reportage on the high volume of White House visits that have been made by Omidyar and senior Omidyar Network officials since 2009) and further validates the prospect that compartmentalizing discourse and controlling dissent is First Look Media’s true modus operandi.

Interestingly enough, Greenwald’s lengthy, scoffing response to the Pando exposé, entitled “On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence,” proved almost more telling than the article itself.

Summoning strength through ignorance, he writes:

Despite its being publicly disclosed, I was not previously aware that the Omidyar Network donated to this Ukrainian group. That’s because, prior to creating The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, I did not research Omidyar’s political views or donations. That’s because his political views and donations are of no special interest to me – any more than I cared about the political views of the family that owns and funds Salon (about which I know literally nothing, despite having worked there for almost 6 years), or any more than I cared about the political views of those who control the Guardian Trust.

There’s a very simple reason for that: they have no effect whatsoever on my journalism or the journalism of The Intercept. That’s because we are guaranteed full editorial freedom and journalistic independence. The Omidyar Network’s political views or activities – or those of anyone else – have no effect whatsoever on what we report, how we report it, or what we say.

Newsroom pressures between those who produce and those who pay their salaries are obviously nothing new. “The pressure is applied subtly,” explain Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols in their book, The Death and Life of American Journalism. “Successful editors and reporters tend to internalize the necessary values so no pressure is necessary. At other times, the pressures can be explicit. The effect is that the news is altered, unbeknownst to the public, in a manner it would never had been had the newsroom been independent and freestanding.”

In an article that he wrote for Salon in August 2009 on General Electric’s editorial influence over NBC and MSNBC, Greenwald even echoes those very sentiments, noting that “corporate employees don’t need to be told what their bosses want. They know without being told.”

That same year, Greenwald was a recipient of the Ithaca College’s Park Center for Independent Media’s first annual Izzy Award for special achievement in independent media. In a quote attributed to that event, he states the following:

Media outlets controlled by large corporations and all of their conflicting interests not only have proven largely ineffective at serving as an adversarial check on the government, but worse, have become mindless amplifiers of government claims. Being outside that system is now virtually a prerequisite to genuinely [critical] reporting on the actions and statements of the government.

In his acceptance speech, further pontification over his valiant views on journalistic independence and the importance of remaining distant from the political power structure: “I think that’s absolutely vital to being a real journalist,” he states. “If anything, the independence of journalism means keeping a distance from, rather than blending into—becoming an appendage of the entities of political power structure, the financial elites, that you intend to cover.”

Fast-forward to 2014, and such idealism has evidently faded quickly from Greenwald’s point-of-view.

Take this blog excerpt from January, for example:

For me, “activism” is about effects and outcomes. Successful activism means successful outcomes, and that in turn takes resources. It’s very easy to maintain a perception of purity by remaining resource-starved and thus unable to really challenge large institutions in a comprehensive and sustained way. I know there are some people on the left who are so suspicious of anyone who is called “billionaire” that they think you’re fully and instantly guilty by virtue of any association with such a person.

That’s fine: there’s no arguing against that view, though I would hope they’d apply it consistently to everyone who takes funding from very rich people or who works with media outlets and organizations funded by rich people – including their friends and other journalists and groups they admire (or even themselves).

Though repetitive in rhetoric, it is relevant to note that this is the exact same line being drawn two months later in his Pando response:

That journalistic outlets fail to hold accountable large governmental and corporate entities is a common complaint. It’s one I share. It’s possible to do great journalism in discrete, isolated cases without much funding and by working alone, but it’s virtually impossible to do sustained, broad-scale investigative journalism aimed at large and powerful entities without such funding. As I’ve learned quite well over the last eight months, you need teams of journalists, and editors, and lawyers, and experts, and travel and technology budgets, and a whole slew of other tools that require serious funding. The same is true for large-scale activism.

That funding, by definition, is going to come from people rich enough to provide it. And such people are almost certainly going to have views and activities that you find objectionable. If you want to take the position that this should never be done, that’s fine: just be sure to apply it consistently to the media outlets and groups you really like.

Not only does Greenwald now openly advocate the fusing of journalism with the same corporate-capitalist powers that he once deplored, but he even appears to be making a concerted effort to link activism into the fray as well, thereby successfully commoditizing all forms of dissent into one big pre-packaged, for-profit bundle to the masses.

Notice too the Romney-esque “billionaires-are-people” motif being casually floated, along with the notion that those who abhor the influence of billionaire benefactors on both the press and activism on a general scale are really just succumbing to their own naive, unrealistic worldview and will therefore never be able to effect policy or produce change on any significant level.

                                            * * * *

Thomas Jefferson called the free press “the only security of all,” describing the agitation that it produces as something that must be submitted to, “to keep the waters pure.”

No matter how unique or trying are the times, the raw autonomy of such a freedom should never be made available to alteration. Allowing even the smallest of amendments could easily imperil the very fabric of our democracy.

With every new step that Greenwald takes to justify his own actions, he consequently leads us that much deeper into the murky, authoritarian waters that our founding fathers feared the most.

Acceptance of the endless regurgitation of government secrets slowly served up by the teaspoon doesn’t appear to be the only concession being forced upon a public bedazzled by the spectacle.

We are being told, against all reason and better judgment, that Omidyar is somehow the two hundred and fifty million dollar exception to the rules, and that Greenwald and the select few journalists with access to the Snowden-NSA treasure-trove are thusly incorruptible and pure.

We are to ignore the blatant corporate-government collusion that plagues this entire affair and accept the defeatist standpoint that those afflicted with the disease of integrity will never be able to bring about any real, lasting change to society without the essential aid of “philanthropic” billionaires along the way.

Taking all of this into account, along with the slow crawl of NSA documents being promised to us as our eventual reward for our complete compliance to the corporate state, it is imperative that we ask ourselves: Do the ends really justify the means?

# # # #

Mark Mondalek – BFP contributing author, is a writer and editor based in Detroit.

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Comments

  1. Well done, Mark Mondalek. Few should have any doubt that we are dealing with controlled opposition, when we consider Omit Your News Corp et al. Those who still doubt it should take another look at the recent BFP EyeOpener Report-The Psychology of Cognitive Dissonance.

    Quote worth repeating:

    “I think there’s also some very serious confusion floating around here, because I heard people talk about—‘Well, he’s a lawyer.’ Well, he may be a lawyer, but Snowden is not his client. Greenwald needs to decide who the fuck he is. If he’s a lawyer, let him start practicing law. If he’s an agent, let him start making movies and get on with his life. If he’s a journalist, he needs to stop deciding what is in the best interest of the public’s right to know.”

    • Quote worth repeating:
      Journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce, not by those who fund the outlets where they do it. The real issue is whether they demand and obtain editorial freedom. We have. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is the journalism we or any other media outlets produce. -Glenn Greenwald

      • Would you like to see him quoted saying the exact opposite of this? Would it matter to you?

        • Actually, I am also an avid follower of James Corbett. I know what quote you will refer me to. However, when someone writes hundreds of articles, gives hundreds of interviews, and writes several books, it is not particularly difficult to find contradictory quotes. I am sure I have said exactly opposite things on a given issue in my lifetime. I dare suggest that the same is probably true of you as well. But this is a distraction. Let me see if I can make this easier for you. What do you think of the following quote from, let’s say, a generic, anonymous journalist:

          Journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce, not by those who fund the outlets where they do it. The real issue is whether they demand and obtain editorial freedom. We have. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is the journalism we or any other media outlets produce.

          Do notice that I have OMITTED GG’s name from the quote to help you stay focused. What do you think of the JOURNALISM produced by Glenn Greenwald? What do you think of the JOURNALISM produced by The Intercept so far? You are aware, I am sure, that Glenn Greenwald is a recent recipient of the prestigious Polk Award for JOURNALISM.

          • So, that’s a “No”? Why do you bother offering quotes for repetition, if they are so transitory in nature, as you are now suggesting?

            Yes, make it easy for me. Please. I want to know exactly how to keep myself from feeling cognitive dissonance, because I’ve attached myself to a famous journalist and I can’t bear the criticism.

            Really, I think his journalism is full of lies by omission and that he should have no role in deciding what is in the public interest. I think he is participating in a controlled opposition effort. I thought I already said that.

            What did you think of this article? Did you read it?

  2. This controversy reminds me of the Oklahoma City bombing: Bombs in addition to the 1st blast, a young reporter from a local station tracking the story, big media money from NY shows up, buys the station, and the young reporter is canned. History now has the packaged story of that event like so many events in America’s story. I notice a pattern here.

  3. avatar bowsers says:

    Head over to Chris Floyd’s Empire Burlesque and witness Floyd tearing Greenwald up, six ways from sunday. Greewald was stupid enough to take floyd on, and boy does Glenn pay for it.

  4. avatar Ribbit-Mark says:

    Bowser I did as advised. I headed over to C.F.’s website.
    I read the material you referred to.
    If anyone tore anyone else up, it was Greenwald tearing up C.F.

    • Bowsers & Ribbit-Mark,

      What do you think of the analysis here, in this post?

      • avatar Ribbit-Mark says:

        Overall I think Mark Mondalek makes some very good points in his article.
        He does however start off a little awkwardly, with a very poorly worded sentence:

        “In a December interview with The Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman (with whom he additionally leaked selected documents to), Snowden said that he wanted to give society “a chance to determine if it should change itself,” and that all he wanted was “for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”
        Such an opportunity was never actually afforded to the public directly, however. This noble task was instead entrusted to only a select group of journalists…”

        Neither Greenwald nor “a select group of journalists” were ever *given the task* to afford the public an *opportunity to do anything*.
        He was given the task to publish portions of the cache that Snowden gave him, that’s it.
        If the public chooses to act on any of the revelations, that’s their business, not the journalists.

        What he should have written was: “ *The information* that the public would use to decide if they want to change themselves or how they are governed was never given to them directly. Rather it was given to them by a third party, a select group of journalists.”

        Mark then goes on commendably to highlight the fact that Greenwald operates, or pretends to operate in a vacuum with respect to knowledge of his employer’s political beliefs. To my mind this is simply unbelievable.
        If we, the illiterate general public are aware of the political beliefs of Omidyar, then surely the highly literate Greenwald must also be.

        As far as the painstakingly slow pace of release of the Snowden cache is concerned, I side with Greenwald still, for two reasons.
        Firstly he did make an agreement (as I had always suspected) with Snowden concerning their release. Who are we to dictate how the documents should be handled? We wouldn’t have any of them had it not been for Snowden’s efforts.

        Secondly, it probably is a good strategy to leak meaningful documents at strategic points in time, rather than dump the whole cache at once. This is strictly because of the general public’s inability to easily digest information of this nature and their psychological mindset.

        Dump the whole cache at once and you’ve shot your wad, so to speak. What do you do for an encore?
        The public’s attention wouldl be lost re: the NSA and their nefarious activities.
        But feed them juicy tidbits little by little and you’ve got them eating out of the palm of your hand.

        • Hi Ribbit-Mark,

          Thanks for your reply about the content of this article. You make some good points. I would disagree with the following section at the end of your comments:

          As far as the painstakingly slow pace of release of the Snowden cache is concerned, I side with Greenwald still, for two reasons.
          Firstly he did make an agreement (as I had always suspected) with Snowden concerning their release. Who are we to dictate how the documents should be handled? We wouldn’t have any of them had it not been for Snowden’s efforts.
          Secondly, it probably is a good strategy to leak meaningful documents at strategic points in time, rather than dump the whole cache at once. This is strictly because of the general public’s inability to easily digest information of this nature and their psychological mindset.
          Dump the whole cache at once and you’ve shot your wad, so to speak. What do you do for an encore?
          The public’s attention wouldl be lost re: the NSA and their nefarious activities.
          But feed them juicy tidbits little by little and you’ve got them eating out of the palm of your hand.

          I have seen this idea parroted, even by Russ Tice (I was really disappointed to hear that). While I understand the surface of this argument about continual release, piece by piece, I think that, upon deeper inspection, it is unethical and impractical.

          I hold the public’s right to know above any agreement about what evidence to publish. This is evidence of serious and ongoing crimes.

          It also seems that some are considering the public as a bunch of imbeciles who only watch CNN. I remind you that we are also part of this group. We should raise our expectations of the public and not use ineptitude as an excuse. We need many analysts pouring over the material so that the best analyses can rise to the top. Having this information kept in the hands of only a few, who you seem to agree may well be affected by their direct relationship with one of the members of the oligarchy, is dangerous and a poor strategy, practically.

          As Kevin Ryan mused, think of an allegorical doctor/patient conversation.

          Doc: Sorry, Mr. Patient, you have a life-threatening illness and immediate action is necessary.

          Patient: Please tell me more about this!

          Doc: Great, I’m glad I’ve got your attention. Go home, tell your family, tell them about my new website. Let them know that we will be very adversarial towards this illness.

          Patient: No! I want to know what the f%#$ is wrong with me! Tell me – now!

          Doc: You see, the boys down at the lab and I have an agreement…

          And so on. That’s not exactly how he said it, but you get the picture. We have a right to see this evidence. And this right is more important than some, very ambiguous agreement between Snowden and Greenwald. See Cohen’s comments about Greenwald’s pseudo-lawyer/pseudo-journalist/pseudo-movie mogul status and realize we are being played with for financial gain and even worse.

          • avatar Ribbit-Mark says:

            It’s easy to play armchair quarterbacks from the positions we are in; saying what they should have done and should do with their cache of documents.

            Allow me to ask you these difficult questions Xicha.

            If you were in Greenwald’s shoes right from the beginning, upon first meeting with Snowden in Hong Kong, what would you have done differently?

            Would you have accepted the cache of documents?
            If so, would you have agreed to Snowden’s requests on how they were to be released?

            If yes, would you have turned your back on Snowden shortly after and released all of the documents to the public?
            If you would have betrayed Snowden, what effect do you think this would have on any potential whistleblowers observing the situation who were considering going public via selected journalists?

            Would you have turned down a $250 million dollar deal with Omidyar to set up a website/news organization because it didn’t quite sit right with your political/moral beliefs?

          • Hi Ribbit-Mark,

            Besides my prior response being “easy”, what did you think of it?

            As for your new comment and questions, I am impressed with the framework within which you seem to be working.

            It’s easy to play armchair quarterbacks from the positions we are in; saying what they should have done and should do with their cache of documents.

            Where’s your sense of ownership of these documents? You are a member of the public, no? These are evidence of serious, ongoing crimes against you, no? Don’t be a push-over, when someone tells you this information is not yours. My main point, which went unacknowledged in your last reply, is that the public has a right to know what is in these documents. Comprehending this might change your outlook.

            If you were in Greenwald’s shoes right from the beginning, upon first meeting with Snowden in Hong Kong, what would you have done differently?
            Would you have accepted the cache of documents?
            If so, would you have agreed to Snowden’s requests on how they were to be released?
            If yes, would you have turned your back on Snowden shortly after and released all of the documents to the public?
            If you would have betrayed Snowden, what effect do you think this would have on any potential whistleblowers observing the situation who were considering going public via selected journalists?

            Being Greenwald, am I acting as a lawyer, journalist, or soon-to-be media star? Well, if it were me, it wouldn’t matter, since I would be witnessing evidence of serious, ongoing crimes against the public and the Constitution of the United States. This fact, again unacknowledged by you, would inform my actions the most.

            First, I would ask Snowden “You seriously want me to help you buffalo the public into believing that only their meta-data is being recorded? For how long? Why?”

            Then I might say “Gee, Golly, Ed, it might sound a little inconsistent if I say that you are giving me free reign to decide what gets published, but, at the same time, I say that you have told me exactly what to publish and when. My head is spinning. Wait, do you mind if I get filthy rich with this shit?”

            Would you have turned down a $250 million dollar deal with Omidyar to set up a website/news organization because it didn’t quite sit right with your political/moral beliefs?

            You have taken a slippery slope, redefining words like moral beliefs as beliefs that can be bought for the right price. And your empathy for poor Greenwald could be applied to many a total bastard who took the money. All in all, the self-demeaning powerlessness and sheepish parroting of ideas that haven’t been thought through, IMO, paint a picture of success for Greenwald et al and failure for the resistance to tyranny.

  5. Greenwald writes well, is articulate, and it is so easy to accept good presentation. The real test is the behavior – what does he do? What has he done? Does he do what he says he will do? I voted for the lying bastard, Obama, and then watched him send another 30,000 to Afghanistan. Listened to him and voted for the lying bastard again, and then watched him kill more children with drones: “…this will haunt me for the rest of my life, – but I’m not done” That is psychopathology – sick MF – and that last straw, murdering the 16 year old – now I look forward to Obama’s karmic ruin: the universe does not forget the killing of children. This culture of money and power, I think overwhelms the best moral character. Lincoln said: “most men can withstand considerable adversity, do withstand considerable adversity, if you want to test his character, give him power”. America produces very few men (or women) of character. I think Greenwald is another coke whore in a long string of press chickenshits that pander to an audience for a price or co-dependent chickenshits that say anything for an audience. I doubt I’m different – criticizing has the magic of raising one, instantly, to the level of those who are doing something – I give him credit – he is doing something!

  6. Xicha,
    Referring to our exchange above, yes, I did read the article. I didn’t think much of it. I even listened to the interview that Mark did with Guillermo Jimenez about the article. I didn’t think it was possible, but I thought even less about Mark after listening to the interview. In fact, at this point it is not clear to me why I should pay any attention to what Mark has to say at all. Some highlights about Mark from the interview:

    He has a degree in Creative Non-fiction writing from “Chicago”

    He wrote several book reviews

    In 2011 he met his cousin, Helen Thomas, FOR THE FIRST TIME! He did several hours of interviews with his newly-acquainted – but otherwise world-famous – cousin. In the process of looking for “anybody” who would take the interviews he was steered to BFP, which, gratefully, didn’t take them either.

    With regards to the Snowden revelations, he “didn’t even understand” what the PowerPoints were even saying

    Not exactly a compelling presentation. Frankly, Mark sounded like he had smoked something really good prior to the interview. It seemed he had a lot of difficulty putting two consecutive coherent thoughts together. In my opinion, the article he wrote was a thinly-veiled cut-and-paste plagiarism of the original Pando articles and comments on the Omidyar controversy.

    But I digress.
    Again:
    What do you think of the following quote from, let’s say, a generic, anonymous journalist:
    “Journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce, not by those who fund the outlets where they do it. The real issue is whether they demand and obtain editorial freedom. We have. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is the journalism we or any other media outlets produce.”

    sounded like he was smoking something really good

    • Your Logical Fallacy Is: ad hominem

      You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.

      Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

      As for your quote, which you attempt to protect from being hypocritical by making anonymous, I have already answered, so I will quote myself:

      Really, I think his journalism is full of lies by omission and that he should have no role in deciding what is in the public interest. I think he is participating in a controlled opposition effort.

      Greenwald reinforces the meta-data meme. The result of his journalism is that the majority of Americans now think that the government is collecting phone records, instead of phone calls. Instead of all audio content from all cell phone calls in the USA. He does this in interviews as well.

      He is a hypocrite, when his relationship with Omidyar is considered. You know the quotes, but you wave your hand as though there were no impetus for the change of heart. Nothing like personal interest. Only a random change that happens to everyone. You are purposefully blinding yourself, because you don’t want to see it.

      When I asked you to comment on this article, you attacked the author’s character, but didn’t address any of the content. I suppose you would rather wait until it magically changes to something else. Because that must happen to everyone, since it happens to Greenwald and must be valid and normal and good. Because you have attached yourself emotionally to him and can’t bear admitting you’ve been buffaloed. That’s my best guess, at this point. Self-blinded hand-waving and indignation towards any information or analysis that threatens your view. You make a good fan.

  7. That’s an answer to a question that was not asked.

    Again: What do you think of the following quote from, let’s say, a generic, anonymous journalist: “Journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce, not by those who fund the outlets where they do it. The real issue is whether they demand and obtain editorial freedom. We have. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is the journalism we or any other media outlets produce.”

    For the last time, please answer the question being asked and only the question being asked. In your previous reply you said:

    “As for your quote, which you attempt to protect from being hypocritical by making anonymous, I have already answered, so I will quote myself:

    Really, I think his journalism is full of lies by omission and that he should have no role in deciding what is in the public interest. I think he is participating in a controlled opposition effort.”

    This is a response that is specific to Glenn Greenwald. The question does not mention Glenn Greenwald.

    As for your quote, which you attempt to protect from being hypocritical by making anonymous, I have already answered, so I will quote myself:

    Really, I think his journalism is full of lies by omission and that he should have no role in deciding what is in the public interest. I think he is participating in a controlled opposition effort.
    - See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/04/03/bfp-exclusive-and-an-oligarch-shall-lead-them-omidyar-greenwald-first-look-medias-attack-on-the-future-of-the-press/#comments

  8. You’re right, I was being Greenwald specific. Sorry. Here’s your generic quote and my response.

    Journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce, not by those who fund the outlets where they do it. The real issue is whether they demand and obtain editorial freedom. We have. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is the journalism we or any other media outlets produce.

    Yes, journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce. Now please consider what that journalism really is.

    Is journalism words on a page without context of the surrounding pages or the interests who paid for publishing? A talking head voicing information and analysis that should be considered expressly without context of the speaker?

    Your argument for the separation of words from speaker and context is ignorant. Even scientific articles should be considered in context.

    Example:
    Imagine big pharma publishing their most pro-SSRI info available. Do you consider that they have left out a bunch of data that is not pro-SSRI? Do you consider other data that suggests that SSRIs have the same efficacy as a placebo? Or will you limit yourself to the isolated words on the page of the pro-SSRI data? I think I can guess your answer, and I think it is strategically deadly.

    You seem to be asking for proof that Omidyar has directly influenced Greenwald’s words. But, you also seem not to listen to any evidence presented. Maybe because Greenwald says it’s not evidence? I don’t know. You can’t seem to understand the concept of self-censorship, in the face of great personal gain? Means, motive, and opportunity, along with circumstantial and testimonial evidence – being funded by a sole billionaire who works hand in hand with the gov on anti-democratic initiatives and Scahill announcing that Omidyar wants to be involved and uses their internal communication system more than any other).

    Do you want to continue this defense?

  9. “Yes, journalists should be judged by the journalism they produce.” – Xicha

    Thank you Xicha.

  10. avatar Ribbit-Mark says:

    Xicha I am replying to your last response to me over here, because strangely, I wasn’t given the standard ‘Reply’ button that follows most posts.

    First off, it should be known that I am living up in the Great White North.

    That should reveal much about my responses so far.

    We too have a Big Brother that watches us here (besides the NSA) but most Canucks haven’t been outraged yet by any of their skulduggery.

    “Besides my prior response being “easy”, what did you think of it?”

    and …

    “Where’s your sense of ownership of these documents? You are a member of the public, no? These are evidence of serious, ongoing crimes against you, no? Don’t be a push-over, when someone tells you this information is not yours ”

    So when you talk about ownership and a right to know about evidence of serious crimes, I don’t feel the urgency as I would perhaps if I was an American.

    Thanks for your responses to some of my questions.

    How about this one though?
    -Would you have accepted the cache of documents?
    If yes, what would be going through your mind as you shook hands with Snowden re: the deal you just made with him?

    By your responses so far, it seems that you would have pissed off Snowden royally and he would be having serious doubts about giving the cache to you.

    Would you really say those things to Ed, knowing that you would likely be shooting yourself in the foot and not be able to get your hands on the cache?

    ‘Would you have turned down a $250 million dollar deal with Omidyar to set up a website/news organization because it didn’t quite sit right with your political/moral beliefs? ‘

    “You have taken a slippery slope, redefining words like moral beliefs as beliefs that can be bought for the right price.”

    I haven’t attempted to redefine any words.
    You may have read it that way but I was making no such attempt.

    I know the definition of moral beliefs and political beliefs and am quite comfortable with their long-standing meanings.

    You side-stepped my question though.
    Let me ask it in a more sanitized version:

    Would you have turned down a $250 million dollar deal with Omidyar to set up a website/news organization

    • Ribbit-Mark,

      I appreciate the polite commentary. Yes, you did use the word moral correctly; excuse me. My main point there was about the slippery slope of excusing Greenwald because of your empathy for someone being offered the right price. Isn’t that the motivation for most ne’r-do-wells?

      What is the real question here? Is it a question of what is right and wrong or a question of how much empathy we have for bad actors? These two questions seem to be confounded, with the end result of blurred morality, rolled up in a blame – the – victim mentality calling criticism Monday morning quarterbacking.

      • Just a couple notes: my problem with the word moral, in your “would you take the money” question, was that if you have them there isn’t a question about whether or not they get in the way. Also, replies are only indented so much, as a consideration of horizontal space in the formatting of comments – just use the nearest reply link above the comment to which you would like to reply and your comment will go under it, just not indented.

      • avatar Ribbit-Mark says:

        I have noticed that you often make assumptions about what posters here are thinking, when in reality they could be thinking something quite different than what you perceive.

        Here’s just one case in point:

        ” My main point there was about the slippery slope of excusing Greenwald because of your empathy for someone being offered the right price.”

        You assumed that I was excusing Greenwald for his decision to become part of the Omidyar team, because he simply couldn’t resist the money being offered to him.

        In reality, I was not thinking that way at all.

        If it was a case of Greenwald being forced to tow the line of Omidyar, implicitly and explicity, as part and parcel of his $250 million business agreement, then yes you could definitely make the argument that Greenwald had a price, and that price was met. That from that point on, he would simply be a mouthpiece of Omidyar.

        Rather, I was thinking that Greenwald was and is able to separate his business dealings from his beliefs and convictions.
        There is no evidence yet in any of the articles written at his new website that he has compromised his professional integrity as a journalist.

        It will be interesting to see how things develop in the future, if an issue surfaces where he writes an article at odds with a known Omidyar position.
        That could be his true acid test.

        I must say I am somewhat disappointed that you have chosen not to answer some of my questions.
        Admittedly they are difficult questions to answer, not so much by the degree of thought that is required, but rather by virtue of the fact that they force you to reveal part of your true character.

        I still would like to hear your answer to these questions if you don’t mind.

        Would you have accepted the cache of documents?
        If yes, what would be going through your mind as you shook hands with Snowden re: the deal you just made with him?

        BTW, how do members here quote with italics the way you do? I don’t see any provision for that when I am posting. It’s also a pity there is no preview before you post.

        • Dude.

          • 8-9-10…Its over! Verbal knockout by Ribbit-Mark!

          • Totally different ring. Yours is apparently part of a circus and you are the clown who got stuck cleaning up Greenwald’s elephant shit journalism.

        • There is no evidence yet in any of the articles written at his new website that he has compromised his professional integrity as a journalist

          Especially if you don’t want to see it. It’s not only I, who have been trying to inform you about such evidence. Are you aware of the points being made regarding his “journalism”? That’s an actual question, unlike the hypothetical ones you’ve been asking. Take off the toilet paper rolls and maybe you will be less disappointed in my comments. I don’t think it would be productive to keep going in circles with you.

          Best of luck.

          • I do apologize for my contribution to bringing the level of discourse down. I should have resisted the urge to engage in such behavior. It won’t happen again.

  11. “The real issue is whether they demand and obtain editorial freedom.”

    The real issue is that there’s no such thing as a journalist obtaining editorial freedom when there are funders involved who must be appeased. If you write something that doesn’t sit right with those who fund your news organization, then you have no more news organization. (period). Any half-decent journalist will tell you this. Greenwald is clearly blowing smoke up your ass.

    “We have.”

    Greenwald said it. You believe it. That settles it.

  12. avatar metrobusman says:

    Great article, save for the misunderstanding of who the Founders were and what they wanted. They were the Omydars of their day,.

  13. avatar CuChulainn says:

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