“I love Glenn Greenwald,” Cook continued, “but he’s basically keeping the same secrets the NSA was keeping” instead of “laying it all out there so people could look at it for themselves.”
I asked how Gawker would have handled Edward Snowden’s leaks, had he come to them instead of Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman.
“I would have read through everything,” he said. “I wouldn’t have put it up without reading it, but as quickly as practicable I would have put it all out there, and published every bit of it.”
Cook wouldn't even have shown the "discretion," profit-driven though it was, that Glenn Greenwald did in his handling of Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. And remember, Greenwald threatened to go elsewhere if The Guardian didn't publish his story about the first of the Snowden files almost immediately.
So John Cook, an occasionally decent enough journalist and certainly someone who enjoys being a thorn in people's sides -- but also a guy who says that his personal mantra is, "Always err on the side of the data dump," and who thinks Greenwald is too timid -- is the editor at Gawker. That's about what you'd expect from a site like that. Except that John Cook isn't the editor at Gawker anymore. He's now an editor at First Look Media. More specifically, he's the new editor-in-chief of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald's news magazine at First Look. A guy who won't provide any kind of oversight at all and who will actually encourage even more indiscriminate abuses is going to be the boss of a guy who already has no problem with indiscriminate abuses. It's like getting a meth addict to run the rental office at a San Bernardino County trailer park.
We've already gone over -- many,many times -- what's wrong with Greenwald's supposed journalism, so there's no sense in retreading that. Suffice it to say the previous editors of his work -- at The Guardian and Salon -- weren't getting in his way as much as they were doing him a favor by occasionally forcing him to conform to the strictures of ethical journalism. But Greenwald wouldn't have any of that kind of thing; he saw any sort of stymying of his obsessive desire to just print whatever the hell he wanted without concern for correctness or consequence as proof of both weakness and corruption. That's why he was easily enticed to join First Look, because Pierre Omidyar promised him complete editorial freedom.
And that's what he's getting. He's getting more than that with John Cook, actually. Not only is Cook not going to provide crucial oversight and push-back to keep Greenwald honest, he's actually going to encourage Greenwald to go even further out on a very unstable limb than he already does regularly.
We always knew Greenwald wanted a yes-man. Turns out he's getting a yes, more-man.