“I approach my journalism as a litigator,” Glenn Greenwald once told the New York Times. “People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.”
This of course is the exact opposite of what a journalist is supposed to do. Journalists are supposed to critically evaluate stories and report all the facts without a predetermined narrative. Despite disregarding the most basic tenets of the profession, Greenwald and his fellow activist reporters at The Intercept continue to present themselves as the sole arbiters of ethical transparency in journalism. And never more have Greenwald’s true colors shown than with his ridiculous reporting on the Russian hacking of the DNC.
Greenwald assumes the DNC, the CIA, and President Obama are lying about the hacks, and has focused almost all of his reporting on attempting to disprove everything the organization and anyone affiliated with it is saying. Greenwald would have his readers believe that 19 intelligence agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA, along with dozens of private security analysts are all lying about the Russian hacks in order to discredit president-elect Trump. This all based on no evidence whatsoever other than his own insistence that the public must be shown evidence that is already available online for anyone to read.
Yesterday, Buzzfeed published a dossier that they described as “a collection of memos written over a period of months,” that “includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians.” The dossier was reportedly prepared “for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent”.
The claims in the dossier were shocking to say the least, particularly the sordid account of Trump supposedly hiring prostitutes to urinate on the bed President Obama and his wife had slept on in a Moscow hotel. The report has not been verified, and Ben Smith, the editor of Buzzfeed went to great lengths to explain why he decided to publish the dossier. Here was the email he sent his staff:
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 11, 2017
Had the Banter been sent this dossier, we would have published it too given the supporting evidence corroborating its authenticity. As the Independent reported:
The British connection is of some relevance here; much of the material, it appears, was put together by a former senior British intelligence official.
The official’s work had involved the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War and he had maintained contacts since in Russia and eastern Europe while working as a security consultant. Importantly, he is well known to the American agencies and, according to senior sources, they felt the official had enough credibility to be taken seriously.
This coupled with Trump’s atrocious history of abusing, insulting and assaulting women makes the story entirely believable. Of course this doesn’t make the story true, but it certainly warrants the media making the documents publicly available — a move one would think Greenwald should support given his unyielding belief in transparency at almost any cost. But no, Greenwald believes the dossier should not have been published because the source is anonymous. Yes, seriously.
Furthermore, Greenwald believes — again, with no evidence whatsoever — that this is the intelligence community’s way of getting back at Trump for trashing them. “They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News”,” wrote Greenwald.
“Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials.”
This is apparently all part of a giant conspiracy held between a desperate Democratic Party “still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party” and the intelligence agencies that have always been shilling for Clinton. Writes Greenwald:
For months the CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton, and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin,” adding that Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”
The CIA apparently loves Clinton because she “was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria” and “Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow”. Again, Greenwald provides zero evidence for these assertions.
Perhaps it has not occurred to Greenwald that the CIA supported a Clinton presidency because she does not have the temperament of a 6 year old, would not have dismissed intelligence reports because she didn’t like what they said, and wouldn’t have kick off a nuclear war because she was irritated by a country she didn’t like. This would of course be the most obvious conclusion, but not to Greenwald who never fails to see dastardly conspiracies when it comes to the big bad government and the obsequious corporate media.
The CIA is not a perfect organization. It has a long, storied history of deceit, lies, and outright criminal activity. But like any giant bureaucracy, it isn’t all good and it isn’t all bad — it is both. While it has done much bad in the world, the CIA also provides vital intelligence that keeps the country safe from all sorts of horrendous threats. It is made up of tens of thousands of hard working Americans who have dedicated themselves to serving their country, and for Greenwald to assume — without a shred of evidence — that they are lying about the Russian hacks, betrays his thinly veiled prejudice.
Hilariously, Greenwald took to twitter after posting his ridiculous piece to claim that the dossier story was “falling apart”, citing — wait for it — anonymous intelligence officials:
1) This whole story is falling apart; 2) if this is true, those who mocked Kellyanne Conway for saying this were wrong & she was right. https://t.co/6fvgfLEhk7
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 11, 2017
It is now abundantly clear that we can discount anything Greenwald has to say on the DNC hacks and the mounting evidence of Trump’s extensive and deeply troubling ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Even if a video was leaked of the prostitutes urinating on Trump, Greenwald would no doubt insist that it was a fake and attempt to blame the DNC and the CIA for trying to subvert democracy and thwart Donald Trump.
Greenwald routinely lambasts the media for their “slavish fealty to political power”, forgetting that Donald Trump is now the political power he claims to want to hold to account. Instead, he is spending his time vigorously attempting to disprove evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Kremlin, no matter how much of it continues to emerge.
“People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.”
And if you have no documents, you simply make it up instead.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.