Glenn Greenwald is not a conservative. We’ve written about him before, but he’s also not afraid to call out his own side. He noted that the Obama administration was equally terrible about press freedom. While his site, The Intercept, is set up as an investigative reporting outlet that also serves as a safe space, for lack of a better term, for people to leak information about government malfeasance, Greenwald noted that there’s a difference between that and leaking information to hobble an administration you don’t like. I’m not giving the man a pat on the back, but there’s a difference between Edward Snowden leaking information about how the government monitors certain digital communications and activities that could be constitutionally questionable and giving transcripts of a call between Trump and the prime minister of Australia that puts him in a negative light. The latter has no legal questions and is just politically motivated nonsense. And Greenwald notes that such activity within the intelligence community that are not constrained by the courts, or any other constitutional mechanism, can run amok by leaking information because they’re sour over an election result. He said it’s a recipe for the destruction of our democracy (we’re really a constitutional federal republic).
CNN threatened to dox a Reddit user for creating a meme of Donald Trump body slamming WWE’s Vince McMahon—the CNN logo was superimposed over his face. The network threatened to reveal his identity if he ever posted something that they felt was objectionable. Greenwald called this activity creepy and an example of corporate bullying. Even Vox News found these antics by CNN to be highly unethical. Greenwald has also been highly skeptical of the Russian collusion story, or at least noted that there’s been serial recklessness on behalf of the mainstream media, posting stories that turn out to be utterly false. It’s become tiring—and American voters have all but tuned out the whole Russia story altogether. No one cares about this story. Greenwald also noted that social media among the Left has created this groupthink among liberal journalists, which leads to these fact-free Russia stories being published. The biggest myth is the one where they think Russia hacked our election. That is patently false. He elaborated further with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Wednesday. Real Clear Politics transcribed the interview [emphasis mine]:
TUCKER CARLSON: So, Glenn, just to get to the facts of this story, it is conclusively shown that the story about the 21 voting systems being hacked is untrue, correct?
GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST: It's false in two ways, one is that several of the states included in the list, such as Wisconsin, California, and Texas, said that the websites that the Homeland Security Department cited had nothing to do with voting systems, they are entirely unrelated.
And it's false in a second way, which is a lot of the stories, in fact, most of them said that Russia tried to hack into the voting systems when in fact even Homeland Security, it can only show that what they did was scan those computer systems, which is basically casing something to say for vulnerabilities and made no attempts to actually hack into them. So, it was false on various levels.
CARLSON: So, you and I don't agree on a lot of issues but I think we share the same concern about this story, and that is that American journalists are being manipulated for whatever reason by the intelligence community in the United States, and I'm wondering why after years of having this happen to American journalists, they are allowing this to happen again.
GREENWALD: Well, that's the thing I would refrain that a little bit. I don't actually think so much that journalists are the victims in the sense of that formulation that they're being manipulated. I think at best what you can say for them is they are willingly and eagerly being manipulated.
Because what you see is over and over they publish really inflammatory stories that turn out to be totally false and what happens in those cases? Nothing. They get enormous benefits when they publish recklessly. They get applause on social media from their peers, they get zillions of re-
tweets, huge amounts of traffic, they end up on TV. They get applauded across the spectrum because people are so giddy and eager to hear more about this Russia and Trump story.
And when their stories get completely debunked, it just kind of, everybody agrees to ignore it and everyone moves on and they pay no price. At the same time, they are feeling and pleasing their sources by publishing these sources that their sources want them to publish. And so, there is huge amounts of career benefits and reputational benefits and very little cost when they publish stories that end up being debunked because the narrative they are serving is a popular one, at least within their peer circles.
CARLSON: Gosh! That is so dishonest. I mean, I think all of us and journalism have gotten things wrong, I certainly have. If you feel bad about it, I mean, you really do and there's a consequence. Do you really think there's that level of dishonesty in the American press?
GREENWALD: I think what it is more than dishonesty is a really warped incentive scheme bolstered by this very severe groupthink that social media is fostering in ways that we don't yet fully understand.
GREENWALD: Most journalists these days are in Congressional Committees or at zoning board meetings or using -- they're sitting on Twitter talking to one another and this produces this extreme groupthink where these orthodoxies arise in deviating from them or questioning them or challenging, believe me, results in all kinds of recrimination and scorn. And embracing them produces this sort of in group mentality where you are rewarded, and I think a lot of it is about that kind of behavior.
CARLSON: That is really deep. I mean, you live in a foreign country, I'm not on social media, so maybe we have a little bit of distance from this, where do you think the story is going? What's the next incarnation of it?
GREENWALD: Well, the odd part about it, and about the inpatients that journalists have in trying to just jump to the finish line is that there are numerous investigations underway in the city, including by credible investigators, including Senator Burr and Warner and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which most people seem to trust and certainly Robert Mueller who is armed with subpoena power, and everyone is really eager to lavish with praise.
So, we are going to find out presumably one way or the other soon enough. I guess that one thing that is so odd to me Tucker, is that, this has been going on now for a year, this accusation that the Trump administration or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to hack the DNC and John Podesta's email and we know that there are huge numbers of people inside the government who are willing to leak, even at the expense of committing crimes in order to undermine Trump and yet, there has been no leaks so far showing any evidence of that kind of collusion leading one to wonder why that is.
So, I hope that everybody is willing to wait until the actual investigation reveals finally the real answers. But it doesn't seem that will be the case.
CARLSON: Bravery is when you disagree in public with your peers. And by that definition, you are a very brave man. Glenn Greenwald, thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
So far, there is also zero evidence that Russia and the Trump campaign officials colluded during the 2016 election.