Claiming "trends of repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity" have overtaken the publication he co-founded and the mainstream media at large, journalist Glenn Greenwald resigned from The Intercept on Thursday.
In an essay announcing his resignation, Greenwald said a decision by the Intercept's New York-based editors to censor an article he wrote that criticized Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was the "final, precipitating cause" of his departure. He lamented that the "pathologies, illiberalism, and repressive mentality that led to the bizarre spectacle of my being censored by my own media outlet are ones that are by no means unique to The Intercept."
My Resignation From The Intercept The same trends of repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity plaguing t… https://t.co/hjTed6IW6j— Glenn Greenwald (@Glenn Greenwald)1603993157.0
According to Greenwald, an article he wrote this week criticized Biden, the Democratic nominee, over recent revelations about his business relations with foreign entities as reported by the New York Post and by a witness who claims to be a former business partner of the Biden family. He also critiqued "the media's rank-closing attempt, in a deeply unholy union with Silicon Valley and the 'intelligence community,' to suppress" the Hunter Biden materials. But Greenwald's editors wouldn't let him publish the story unless he removed the parts critical of Biden.
"The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept's editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression," Greenwald wrote.
"The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden's conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication."
He added that his editors rejected a suggestion that they publish their own article airing disagreements with his views on the Biden evidence rather than preventing him from publishing the story.
"So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose," Greenwald wrote.
In response, he chose to leave, "voluntarily sacrificing the support of a large institution and guaranteed salary in exchange for nothing other than a belief that there are enough people who believe in the virtues of independent journalism and the need for free discourse who will be willing to support my work by subscribing."
"Like anyone with young children, a family and numerous obligations, I do this with some trepidation, but also with the conviction that there is no other choice," Greenwald wrote. "I could not sleep at night knowing that I allowed any institution to censor what I want to say and believe — least of all a media outlet I co-founded with the explicit goal of ensuring this never happens to other journalists, let alone to me, let alone because I have written an article critical of a powerful Democratic politician vehemently supported by the editors in the imminent national election."
Greenwald co-founded The Intercept and its parent company First Look Media in 2013 with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras. He said the original mission of the publication was "to create a new media outlets where all talented, responsible journalists would enjoy the same right of editorial freedom I had always insisted upon for myself."
He believes that The Intercept of today is "completely unrecognizable when compared to that original vision."
"Rather than offering a venue for airing dissent, marginalized voices and unheard perspectives, it is rapidly becoming just another media outlet with mandated ideological and partisan loyalties, a rigid and narrow range of permitted viewpoints (ranging from establishment liberalism to soft leftism, but always anchored in ultimate support for the Democratic Party), a deep fear of offending hegemonic cultural liberalism and center-left Twitter luminaries, and an overarching need to secure the approval and admiration of the very mainstream media outlets we created The Intercept to oppose, critique and subvert."
Sounding off on the ideological bent of "every mainstream center-left political organization, academic institution, and newsroom," Greenwald declared his independence from groupthink.
"I began writing about politics fifteen years ago with the goal of combatting media propaganda and repression, and — regardless of the risks involved — simply cannot accept any situation, no matter how secure or lucrative, that forces me to submit my journalism and right of free expression to its suffocating constraints and dogmatic dictates."
The Intercept on Thursday published a response to Greenwald's criticisms, accusing him of crafting a "narrative" "teeming with distortions and inaccuracies."
Glenn Greenwald's decision to resign from The Intercept stems from a fundamental disagreement over the role of editors in the production of journalism and the nature of censorship. Glenn demands the absolute right to determine what he will publish. He believes that anyone who disagrees with him is corrupt, and anyone who presumes to edit his words is a censor. Thus, the preposterous charge that The Intercept's editors and reporters, with the lone, noble exception of Glenn Greenwald, have betrayed our mission to engage in fearless investigative journalism because we have been seduced by the lure of a Joe Biden presidency. A brief glance at the stories The Intercept has published on Biden will suffice to refute those claims.
We have the greatest respect for the journalist Glenn Greenwald used to be, and we remain proud of much of the work we did with him over the past six years. It is Glenn who has strayed from his original journalistic roots, not The Intercept.
In tweets sent after the Intercept's response was published, Greenwald refused to get into a "tit-for-tat" with his former employer, but announced he would publish the emails sent back and forth between him and his editors over the article "so people can decide for themselves if it was censored."
3) Given their claims, I'm going to publish -- along with the censored article -- the emails about it so people can… https://t.co/rfMtDVPOdi— Glenn Greenwald (@Glenn Greenwald)1604000490.0
The news of Greenwald's resignation was received with admiration and respect from many journalists and political commentators.
Lee Fang, a reporter for The Intercept and now former colleague of Greenwald, called him "the most principled person in media today."
Glenn Greenwald is the most principled person in media today. https://t.co/xKFGuxDWXi— Lee Fang (@Lee Fang)1603995175.0
Others applauded Greenwald for his "courage."
Bravo to Glenn Greenwald for his courage in standing up for what journalism is supposed to be.Without those committ… https://t.co/pcQ1fOTSMI— Lara Logan (@Lara Logan)1603999304.0
Because he is a brave journalist ... I just subscribed to Greenwald https://t.co/lrl3Rr1K4M Also subscribed to… https://t.co/SfjE9cKJKy— Mollie (@Mollie)1603994346.0
Glenn: I can’t overstate how much I admire your integrity and intellectual independence. We’d be honored to have yo… https://t.co/PdYD0SaSrf— Sohrab Ahmari (@Sohrab Ahmari)1603995016.0
In an era of corporate media corruption, the voices of rebellion against the dominant narrative are increasingly st… https://t.co/6ekXCinPzd— Ben Domenech (@Ben Domenech)1603994906.0
"Courage is required to step out of line, to question and poke at those pieties most sacred in one’s own milieu, bu… https://t.co/av2XIStzXF— Bari Weiss (@Bari Weiss)1603994825.0
Let's be clear. I'm sure there are many things I don't agree with Glenn Greenwald about, but he is a dying breed, a… https://t.co/tlFd7oM4Mv— Brent Bozell (@Brent Bozell)1603999607.0
I disagree with Glenn a lot, but I have always been impressed by his willingness to stand on his principles. The MS… https://t.co/t5XiVLIy6b— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1603998995.0
Glenn Greenwald 1000% respect wow https://t.co/nWmsW3wTjv— Tim Pool (@Tim Pool)1603993487.0
But Greenwald is not without some detractors.
The Intercept: *applies editorial standards* Glenn Greenwald: https://t.co/erO8uuDu7o— Joe Berkowitz (@Joe Berkowitz)1603995634.0
This is such amazingly *great* news for THE INTERCEPT, a truly impressive news outfit whose investigative journalis… https://t.co/DjHjLvLgnR— Seth Abramson (@Seth Abramson)1603994744.0
Inevitable. There are still good reporters at The Intercept and I hope they can now be free of the stain of Greenwa… https://t.co/TKJ4URz5ab— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali)1603995150.0