November 08, 2014

Feel some new #schadenfreude for Glenn Greenwald

Why might you be tempted to feel schadenfreude?

Because Glenn's current journalistic landing post, libertarian billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is imploding, Ted Rall says.

First, though, I have to clear up one factually incorrect statement by Rall.

Glenn Greenwald is NOT a "liberal." And, Ted Rall is smart enough and informed enough he should know better. And yes, I emailed him about this. I told him that, specific to economic issues and specific to income inequality, not regulatory system unfairness vis-a-vis the banksters, I'd eat my hat if Rall could prove GG was a liberal.

Well, he's emailed back, snarkily asking "Who's got a hat?"

To which I replied, knowing that he's worked with Pando before, that Yasha Levine would get an even bigger laugh than I did about Rall's claim.

Rall then responded that he'd call GG a left libertarian.

Still incorrect, Ted, about as incorrect as a missing Malaysian Airlines flight having been hijacked to Kazakhstan!

That said, back to the good stuff.

Rall first tells us that Omidyar's original $250 million pledge of financial support has shrunk to $50 million. Oops. Better cash that paycheck now, Glenn.
It amazes me that people as savvy as First Look’s top editors didn’t insist, before leaving respectable publications like the UK Guardian and Rolling Stone for a start-up, that Omidyar put the $250 million (or $50 million, or single-digit millions now) in escrow, or at least under the control of a group of trustees of whom Omidyar would be just one, and would include top editorial staff like Greenwald. 
I met with a high-level First Look official during the summer to discuss the possibility of working together. I asked: “Where’s the $250 million?” He didn’t know. He couldn’t say. 
More serious, more funny, and more weird all at the same time, Rall tells, via this linked NYMag piece, that as of last month, Greenwald had never met Omidyar.
“To this day,” Greenwald says, “I’ve never met Pierre in person.” 
Ted ... it is amazing. But, precisely because of that, maybe, at least outside their narrow area of focus, we shouldn't call these folks "savvy"? And, Matt Taibbi has never totally floated my boat anyway. That said, if he doesn't go back to Rolling Stone, let's see if he finally has the cojones to report about corner suite nepotism there. (That said, I will give credit to First Look for openly reporting Taibbi's departure, including his full side of the story.)

And, with brilliance like this:
That morning, Greenwald had published an Intercept column excoriating Obama’s move to bomb ISIS in Syria, suggesting he was intentionally driving recruits to the terrorist army. 
Can we really call GG savvy in all of his political analysis even? Wow, that's as crazy as some Tea Party stuff.

Survey says: No. And, survey also says that for most libertarians, there’s a conspiracy theorist somewhere in their closets.

And, Greenwald's own personality surely ads gas to that fire:
“I think the concept of adversarial journalism is a limited and flawed one,” says Steven Aftergood, the author of Secrecy News, a respected blog that has received past Omidyar Network funding. “It is not an impartial search for truth as much as it is a combative attempt to defeat a perceived adversary.”

GG probably still would make a great trial lawyer, whether civil or criminal, whether prosecutor/plaintiff or defense. But, he probably makes an a-hole human being at times, as well as a needlessly adversarial reporter.

Omidyar? Survey says of him, via that NYMag piece more than ever, that he's a stereotypical Silicon Valley libertarian, hating government snooping but loving him some private tech company snooping.

Anyway, Omidyar's got billions to burn. First Look Media in general and The Intercept in particular won't die. But, they will become more and more irrelevant.

As for Greenwald? My first thought, re Omidyar's cheapness, was:

"No duh — that's how libertarian billionaires got to be libertarian billionaires."

My second thought spun off that and was about GG and petards in the background.

As for Rall? Getting past his misconstrual of GG, he's right about First Look's problems. That includes them cheapskating him. And, his own schadenfreude.

As for Taibbi? He's back at Rolling Stone, which means he still won't write about Jann Wenner's nepotism. (I asked him before he left.)


Simon said...

Just curious even if there is nepotism at Rolling Stone, given the sort of crimes Matt Tiabbi does report about, is there really any reason for him to talk about it?

Is it breaking laws?

I don't think much of Murdock but having him give his sons important roles in his business is neither here nor there.

Gadfly said...

No, but it does undercut claims to the thoroughness of Taibbi's muckraking.

Simon said...

How? What a private business does regarding nepotism and hiring can hardly come under corporate corruption. & even if it did, pales into comparison to the billion dollar frauds he talks about.

Would a crime reporter need to write a story about his son stealing a bag of crisps?