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Journalism (The Intercept)

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, February 19th, 2014 - 37 comments
Categories: accountability, Media, Politics - Tags: , ,

So, for anyone interested in proper, investigative journalism…

The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media, was created by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. It has a two-fold mission: one short-term, the other long-term.

Our short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Although we are still building our infrastructure and larger vision, we are launching now because we believe we have a vital obligation to this ongoing and evolving story, to these documents, and to the public.

Our NSA coverage will be comprehensive, innovative and multi-faceted. We have a team of experienced editors and journalists devoted to the story. We will use all forms of digital media for our reporting. In addition, we will publish primary source documents on which our reporting is based. We will also invite outside experts with area knowledge to contribute to our reporting, and provide a platform for commentary and reader engagement.

Our long-term mission is to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues. The editorial independence of our journalists will be guaranteed. They will be encouraged to pursue their passions, cultivate a unique voice, and publish stories without regard to whom they might anger or alienate. We believe the prime value of journalism is its power to impose transparency, and thus accountability, on the most powerful governmental and corporate bodies, and our journalists will be provided the full resources and support required to do this.

While our initial focus will be the critical work surrounding the NSA story, we are excited by the opportunity to grow with our readers into the broader and more comprehensive news outlet that the The Intercept will become.


37 comments on “Journalism (The Intercept)”

  1. karol 1

    Ah. Excellent. I read this article on the anti-wikileaks surevillance and pressure tactics last night, and didn’t realise or check the info about the Intercept site. Bookmarked, and following on Twitter.

    A much needed addition to the global news media.

    [lprent: fixed link ]

  2. Umm, let the buyer beware – that publication is financed by shifty libertarian billionaire (ebay founder) Pierre Omidyar. I can only hope critics are wrong, because if they are right, this is a disaster…




    tl;dr versions:

    “That’s right: Snowden doesn’t have the files any more, the Guardian doesn’t have them, the Washington Post doesn’t have them… just Glenn and Laura at the for-profit journalism company created by the founder of eBay.”

    “Whistleblowing has traditionally served the public interest,” continued Ames. “In this case, it is about to serve the interests of a billionaire starting a for-profit media business venture. This is truly unprecedented. Never before has such a vast trove of public secrets been sold wholesale to a single billionaire as the foundation of a for-profit company.”


    “The question, however, is what defines power to a neoliberal mind? We’re going to take a wild guess here and say: The State …. In other words: look out Government, you’re about to be pummeled by a crusading, righteous billionaire! And corporate America? Ah, don’t worry. Your dirty secrets—freshly transferred from the nasty non-profit hands of the Guardian to the aggressively for-profit hands of Pierre Omidyar—are safe with us.”


    “The point is this: In the most successful whistleblower cases, the public has sided with the selfless whistleblower against the power- or profit-driven entity whose secrets were leaked. The Snowden case represents a new twist to the heroic whistleblower story arc: After successfully convincing a large part of the public and the American Establishment that Snowden’s leaks serve a higher public interest, Greenwald promptly sold those secrets to a billionaire.”

    As Mark Ames points out, “Civic-minded billionaire? Yes, you’ll find him two doors down from the tooth fairy.”

    • Bill 2.1

      Must say that I’ve been somewhat bemused by the negative and dismissive shit Mark Ames has regularly put out there with regards the Snowdon leaks. Right from ‘day one’ too. Very strange.

      • Among other things, the dude (and his colleague Yasha Levine) first broke the story on the Kochs astroturfing the Tea Party movement, exposed the private security contractors in leage with union-busters astroturfing the anti-TSA protests, exposed the links between the LAPD and Israeli arms companies, exposed the links between the lobbyists for the Georgian government and the McCain campaign in the war they staged to try and weaken Obama’s campaign in ’08, caught out and brought up the links between charter school advocates and a campaign to break the teachers’ union, and has been very supportive of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and the Wikileaks project. Maybe he’s wrong about Snowden, or maybe he’s right to smell a rat. I dunno, but I’ve been reading him for around a decade now. If he’s been faking all this long just so that he could pounce Snowden, he’d have to be some kind of psychic.

        EDIT: and let’s not forget the S.H.A.M.E. project, where he and Levine profiled the links between various talking heads in the US media who try to hide their links to the Koch machine, big tobacco, big pharma, etc. Ames seems clean enough to me.

        • Colonial Viper

          After successfully convincing a large part of the public and the American Establishment that Snowden’s leaks serve a higher public interest, Greenwald promptly sold those secrets to a billionaire.”

          This is a bullshit statement.

          Previously, Snowden’s revelations were helping the billionaire owners of the New York Times and the Washington Post make money. That’s the nature of media enterprises today.

        • karol

          Just looking at the Wikipedia sketch of Pierre Omidyar, it seems he is a character of contradictions.

          He is as much into supporting not-for-profit endeavours as he is into supporting corporates. His rise via eBay was kind of a fluke – at least, he didn’t start eBay to make a million. He does want to encourage individual creativity.

          Kind of reminds me of some late 19th century, early 20th century philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie – who wanted to make pathways to achievement for the less well-off via public services, in the pre-welfare state days.

          Omidyar also reminds me of the founder of Al Jazeera.

          Al Jazeera has produced some really good critical coverage of news and current events. It also has been criticised for the ways it slants some of its coverage.

          It’s hard for any independent news organisation to get a start without some significant fianncial backing these days.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Has the New York Times always been a for-profit media entity? Of course.

      Has the Washington Post always been a for-profit media entity? Of course.

      Is TVNZ a for-profit media entity? Of course.

      The key difference with The Intercept is this: independence from corporate control i.e. full editorial and journalistic control by some of the most outstanding, independent and proven media figures of the last decade.

      • Time will tell, I guess!

        • Colonial Viper

          Not good enough.

          You don’t get to launch a series of disparaging innuendo and then try and walk away from it.

          Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill have done some of the best reporting of the 21st century and directly against the interests of the power elite.

          Your smears are bullshit.

          • Cemetery Jones

            I’m not walking away, I just don’t see any way of going further than I have to convince you. I’m not gonna insult you, I’ve given you what I have, and said what I think.

            • Colonial Viper

              All you’ve done is serve the interests of the power elite smearing against a small independent media team.

              Well done you.

              By the way I haven’t insulted you either. Just said that your comments were bullshit, which they are.

              • Two things, I guess.

                First, your description of this ‘small independent media team’. I guess personally I feel that ‘small independent media team’ ceases to apply when you work for a billionaire investor whose motivations are anyone’s guess beyond what we can glean from his track record, and what we can speculate from that basis (and his known political beliefs) that he might want with those materials (which he now owns). What evidence do you have of their independence? On what grounds do you so equivocally state that I serve the power elite here?

                Second, I wasn’t implying you insulted me and I apologise if that inference was easily drawn. I was stating that if you’re pushing me to continue the argument of my initial post, then I’m going to decline because it’s pointless. I stated what I believe and provided some links which explain the grounds for my assertion, but I’m not going to demand that you believe me or insult you for not believing me (or the sources I provided). I know the RWNJs like to get people chasing their tails and engaging in Verdun-like back-and-forth arguments, but personally I don’t find amusement or fulfillment in that.

                • weka

                  Is the main basis of your criticism that the person who now owns the information is a billionare?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Cemetery apparently can’t tell the difference between a crack team of journalists who have done some of the best reporting of the 21st century, and the rich guy financing them who has zero editorial control, and who doesn’t even get to see stories ahead of when they are published.

                    And please, the billionaire doesn’t “own” the information, he has no ability to box it up and give it back to the US govt unpublished, even if he wanted to.

                    • weka

                      I was going to put ‘own’ in quotation marks, but decided to avoid at least one argument 😉

                    • Colonial Viper


                    • Hey CV, I see you replied to Weka and referred to me. Maybe you could reply to my comment above then? Better yet, I’ll put it here for your convenience:

                      What evidence do you have of their independence, which you so unequivocally assert to be a fact?

                      On what grounds do you so unequivocally state that I serve the power elite here?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Simple – I trust Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill, and their professional journalistic record, far more than I trust the likes of power elite apologists like you.

                      On what grounds do you so unequivocally state that I serve the power elite here?

                      Not only do you serve them, you are a shill for their interests against independent media.

                    • “Simple – I trust Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill, and their professional journalistic record, far more than I trust the likes of power elite apologists like you.”

                      I could just as easily say that blind trust suits the plutocracy just fine. No waiting to see if they’ve been bought? Perfect.

                      “On what grounds do you so unequivocally state that I serve the power elite here?

                      Not only do you serve them, you are a shill for their interests against independent media.”

                      Nice non-answer. Training to be a National MP? You made the allegation, now step up, or step off.

                  • Hey Weka, I think it was about 4 months back that I first heard about Omidyar and his interest in financing this venture. I’ve since then been reading what I can about the guy. I linked 3 articles in my original post which may give some idea of where I’m coming from. Chiefly though, I personally believe that the plutocracy will play all kinds of dirty tricks on us all. Is his money a factor? Absolutely. Left wing political thought is heavily based on the historical experience of wealthy people using their power and influence to get what they want.

                    We also know that governments can’t match the wealth of private companies and individuals any more, and -despite what the libertarians believe – most of the bad things governments do tend to be done at the behest of rich companies and individuals who influence government to get what they want. Those files that Snowden had don’t just have dirt on governments, they have dirt on all the companies who’ve been engaging in foul practices to control them. Omidyar has all kinds of business connections, and from what I’ve read about him, I’m yet to be convinced he isn’t another sleazy libertarian who only has a problem with the state when it isn’t working for him and his mates. Taking advantage of brave journalists who’ve been cornered and intimidated, and who don’t have an awful lot of options and appearing like the proverbial cavalry just at the right moment seems like just the kind of thing I’d expect from the plutocracy.

                    • Murray Olsen

                      It all seems plausible to me, CJ. I’ll be watching developments with interest.

                    • weka

                      Thanks. So would it be fair to say that the jury is still out*, but that you have good reasons to be suspicious, while other people might prefer to wait and see which way it goes? Others still might see the situation as corrupted but not to the extent of being useless.

                      I haven’t read the links, but I take it that we don’t yet know how much editorial freedom the journalists will or won’t have.

                    • Thanks for the reply, Weka and yes, that is pretty much where I stand on this issue. We do have no way of knowing these things for ourselves as of yet.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    basically the corporate controlled MSM is shit scared that this new and independent journalistic initiative will get traction.

    best wishes to Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill. Three of the finest journalists of the 21st century, willing to write and publish the unvarnished truth in the face of direct opposition and sanction from the power elite.

    No wonder the power elite is busy with their smear campaign against them, their partners, friends and family.

  4. fambo 4

    Got to give Cemetery Jones credit for raising these issues. As long as someone forwards an argument so that the reader of comments extends their knowledge and understanding of the diverse elements contained with it, then it’s all good. Narrow minded, repetitive hating is a completely different kettle of fish. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s comments on this so far.

  5. Philj 5

    As the media and politics in NZ head to the right, it’s only to be expected that some thoughtful and courageous journalists will pursue their interest in freedom and truth. Good on them.

  6. greywarbler 6

    Jones sounds as if he would be happy to see the journalists dead in the water, or why be so negative at once. Why do a tall poppy on them before we even get to see their stuff?

  7. greywarbler 7

    Another example of brave and ethical journalism is that of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre. They researched thoroughly a story against Bovine Growth Hormone put in cows to get better yields, but which was never properly tested on humans by Monsanto, and could apparently pass into humans.
    Delaying tactics, threats, lengthy court battles. Finally Jane tried under a Florida whistleblower law and the Court decided that telling the truth is not a compulsory thing for the media.

    (Important note: After a long court battle, the Court dismissed the whistle blowers protection for the reporters because the Court stated that there was no law to force that the NEWS state the truth. NEWS was/is no different than other TV shows/reality shows.)
    This is type of deceitful corruption is not just FOX news but includes almost all MSM (Main Stream Media).

    Self researched, alternative news and information (from multiple sources) is one of the best methods to stay well informed.
    Never trust or follow MSM/mega corporations such as Monsanto.
    The corrupt FDA has once again turned its back on the American public and has actually assisted in suppressing the dangers of this issue.


    • emergency mike 7.1

      Thanks GW. Corporate control of the media protecting profits over public health, backed up by the law in full ass-mode.

      “…the Court dismissed the whistle blowers protection for the reporters because the Court stated that there was no law to force that the NEWS state the truth.”

      Keep calm and continue the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

      • greywarbler 7.1.1

        I bought myself a card with the keep calm and carry on message the other day. Somehow I felt the need to have it.

  8. Not at all – I’d refer you to my original post, “I can only hope critics are wrong, because if they are right, this is a disaster…” I stand by that. What did you think of the articles I linked?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Keep spreading your smears and innuendo dude. The power elite will be pleased with the work you are doing today.

    • Shaz 8.2

      Hi Cemetery,

      I did link to and read quite a bit of the articles you linked to and it was an interesting excursion.

      A few years mainstream lenders were getting into micro-lending in the developing world following the success of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh which under Muhammud Yunus’s leadership loaned by the end of 2008, USD 7.6 billion to the poor. With Grameen there are no contracts, the bank is values based and repayments have generally been at around 98%.

      Its hardly surprising then that venture capitalists swarmed in with commercial models, which without the philosophy and care of the original, some have gone badly wrong, going to show that there is more to an aid institution than the ability to leverage capital. The article doesn’t make it clear where Omidyar’s foundation was investing but the Wikipedia page about the Grameen Bank gives a decent overview http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grameen_Bank.

      There are detractors and micro-lending is not a panacea. However there is no doubting what has been achieved. As to Omidyar’s foundation and its impact and motivations – development work is hideously complex. If you have the money, applying it to benefit poor people in a way that is sustainable and doesn’t over-ride local institutions, including government and local government institutions that may not be robust, is darned difficult. As an example food aid outside of a crisis damages local production and undercuts livelihoods for small farmers and food traders. As to the neo-liberal agenda I wouldn’t be so harsh. One of the reasons why people in the developing world can’t sell their goods is when they cannot make contracts because there is no available means of enforcing them when they go wrong. If your trading is limited to people you personally know and trust that is a huge bar to economic well-being. In that respect an ability to trade goods is less about neo-liberal property rights than the provision of robust civic institutions to allow exchange of goods beyond your friends, village and family.

      It is not ideal that the English speaking world’s access to information about state spying on citizens and overreach of powers is reliant on a few rich individuals but to blame Greenwald does rather look like shooting the messenger. I tend to agree with Karol that Omidyar sounds something like an old style Carnegie or a Bill Gates. It’s a truism that our times have created many accidental millionaires and in the absence of a society that limits huge wealth disparities I would rather, on balance, have as many as possible of them using as much of their unearned wealth as possible in ways that are ultimately beneficial to the wider society.

  9. captain hook 9

    make sure you focus on who gets the money!

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