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Once embraced by the liberal media, Glenn Greenwald made regular appearances on cable news and was widely celebrated for his Pulitzer Prize-winning story about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
But now, he has been virtually shunned by the same people who revered him as a journalist. It’s no accident as he has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the establishment press in recent years.
Greenwald says his attitude is nothing new, insisting his urgency to confront “the beast of media propaganda” began during the Bush-Cheney era as America entered the War on Terror, which he said exacerbated the media’s relationship with the U.S. security state into becoming deferential rather than adversarial.
And following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, the media morphed into a “crusading force” to vanquish what it viewed as the “greatest threat to American democracy.”
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“If you actually believe that… then pretty much anything like lying and censorship and misinformation will become justifiable and that is very much what the world’s most powerful media corporations are devoted to. And you basically can’t accomplish anything in this world unless you’re willing to engage with that and try and undermine it,” Greenwald told Fox News Digital at the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas.
One recent example that captured Greenwald’s disdain for the corporate press was its coddling of Nina Jankowicz, the Biden administration’s handpicked executive director of the so-called “Disinformation Governance Board,” which the DHS ultimately shelved following intense public backlash.
Greenwald described Jankowicz as a “resistance activist” after critics highlighted her pro-Democrat tweets, as well as her documented history of peddling misinformation, from elevating the Trump-Russia collusion narrative to dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop as a “Trump campaign product.”
Except not one journalist had pressed her about the falsehoods she elevated during her media tour in the weeks following the collapse of the “Disinfo Board.” Instead, they portrayed her as being the victim of right-wing attacks.
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“The reality is that the people who most aggressively and destructively peddle and disseminate fake news and disinformation are the people who most vocally claim to be so concerned about it,” Greenwald said. “This is such a perfect example of how disinformation has basically come to mean anything that is undermining of or subversive to the interests of the Democratic Party.”
He continued, “The consensus of the corporate media is that she was victimized by a campaign of disinformation. You would think, to substantiate that claim, they would identify what was said about her that was false or misleading. And never once did they do so… Because really what they mean by disinformation is questioning of their orthodoxies and pieties. That’s what the word effectively really means.”
While Greenwald has built quite the fan base with his Substack, he also has many foes, particularly liberals on Twitter who constantly accuse him of being “right-wing” for his criticisms of the legacy media.
He calls that description of him “bizarre,” particularly since he was previously the target of the right-wing Brazilian government, telling Fox News Digital he can’t think of any political stance of his that has changed since he was previously perceived by those same people as a leftist.
Ultimately, he thinks such labels have become “meaningless” since Trump scrambled the “ideological landscape in a very fundamental way.”
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“If you are opposed to Big Tech censorship of the Internet, is that a left- or right-wing idea? If you’re opposed to NATO and U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine, is that a left- or right-wing idea? If you think that, you know, corporate giants are too close with the government and get too many favors from it, is that a left- or right-wing idea? Sounds a lot like the swamp that Trump was vowing to drain. It also sounds like what Obama in 2008 was swearing to combat… And so I think it’s more about what’s happened to the labels around me rather than any changes within me,” Greenwald said.
Among the media outlets Greenwald is most critical of is CNN, which has undergone a major executive shakeup earlier this year with the ousting of its president Jeff Zucker, who had transformed the network once known as the “most trusted name in news” into a televised anti-Trump battalion.
Zucker has since been replaced by Chris Licht, who despite having been the executive producer of the left-leaning “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” vowed to restore CNN’s journalistic credibility with more balanced coverage of current events.
Greenwald says he hasn’t noticed any changes at CNN since Licht took over in May; at least besides rolling back its use of the “breaking news” graphic, telling Fox News Digital it’s virtually impossible for the network to make any meaningful changes “as long as they keep the same set of Democratic partisans” who’ve helped redefine the CNN brand.
“People like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter and… Jim Sciutto… the whole gang of CNN people… created their lives around the idea of defeating the Trump movement. That is their primary branding identity, and it’s also their life mission,” Greenwald said. “So without fundamental changes in personnel, there’s no way to change anything that CNN is, because people always rightly associated it with the political mission that they almost explicitly adopted.”
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Greenwald said if he were Licht, he’d “fire every single person who’s on the air,” suggesting he’d spare one or two anchors from CNN’s lineup like Jake Tapper, but by and large, they’ve turned CNN “into a network of the Democratic Party and American liberalism.”
Another media institution Greenwald pulls no punches toward is The Washington Post, which he said had undergone a “humiliating” “soap opera” in recent weeks, between reporter Felicia Sonmez torching her colleagues on Twitter before she was fired, and the criticism directed at the paper’s drama-fueled tech columnist Taylor Lorenz.
He insisted educational institutions, corporations and liberal news outlets like the Post are now “completely paralyzed” by “intense internal fighting and psychodrama” by younger staffers that will “cause them all to implode.”
“There’s the caricature of millennial culture that everybody’s constantly looking for ways to be marginalized and victimized, including people who are Ivy League school graduates and who grew up in upper middle-class homes and who… regard themselves as the people for whom your greatest amount of pity should be reserved,” Greenwald said. “And these kinds of people destroy organizations by taking all of their personal, psychological illness and demanding that it be treated as some kind of primary centered political issue.”
Greenwald suggested experiencing such a newsroom transformation firsthand at The Intercept, which he co-founded in 2014. He recalled Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat in the 2016 election as a paradigm shift, alleging online discussions on the workplace communication platform Slack became the “therapy couch for millennial journalists.”
“Not only was there, like, open digital weeping about the tragedy the nation had just suffered through Hillary Clinton’s loss, but people felt very strongly that we personally bore responsibility for that and there were even suggestions we had to apologize for it to the public for having done our job as journalists,” Greenwald said.
Greenwald called seeing fellow journalists so emotionally affected a major “red flag,” as well as the response from The Intercept’s leadership.
“They started evaluating our social media policy, really thinking that we need to correct what, in fact, is something that we did of which we should have been quite proud. And from there, it just went downhill,” Greenwald said.
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Greenwald left The Intercept in 2020, accusing his former colleagues of censoring his reporting on Hunter Biden in the final weeks of the presidential election. The Intercept rejected his characterization of what transpired before his exit.
During the interview, Greenwald took a swipe at The Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed, who recently announced she’s joining The Guardian as its U.S. editor, comparing the move to “rats jumping a sinking ship.”
A spokesperson for The Intercept declined to comment.
Following his exit from The Intercept, Greenwald turned to Substack, the popular newsletter subscription platform where several exiled media personalities including Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan have also found financial success.
With trust in legacy media at an all-time low among Americans, he sees newsletters and podcasts as the future of journalism.
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“When I left The Intercept, my main concern was would I be able to maintain enough audience attention about my work if I’m not attached to a media structure,” Greenwald said. “And what I found was that more people read my work now, and it makes a bigger impact than ever before, precisely because I’ve liberated myself from media corporations.”