The recent revelation that The Intercept will bury the Snowden leaks cache ripped out that site’s “beating heart” — if that’s the right term, haha. That makes now the perfect time to review some of that dubious publication’s more dubious moments. I could write a book on the topic, but I’ll keep the list short because I know some of you have to work today.
Pierre Omidyar’s move to eliminate the archive is not the only “fearless adversarial” journalism he’s practiced lately. Since 2018, in the wake of claims that Russian disinformation has infiltrated independent and social media, a new browser application named News Guard has been released . The app claims to offer a “nutritional” label for media sources it has reviewed. By the way, Michael Hayden — former director of both the NSA and CIA — sits on News Guard’s advisory board. If you’d like to find out more about it check out Whitney Webb’s fantastic work on both News Guard and Omidyar for MintPress News. Incidentally, that site was recently red-rated by News Guard.
The reason I bring this up is that Omidyar recently came out in support of this soft-censorship browser app even as he was fearlessly and independently closing down the Snowden archive. It seems he’s had a sudden change of heart about freedom of the press.
It’s hardly PO’s first rodeo in that regard. In 2017, both he and George Soros (I’m culturally Jewish so don’t even go there) donated $500K to the UK based fact-checking AI tech company Full Fact, aka Faux Fact.
The Omidyar Network has also contributed “$100 million to support investigative journalism, fight misinformation and counteract hate speech around the world.” Of that amount $4.5 million went to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists of Panama Papers shame; the virtuous sounding but highly shady Anti-Defamation League; Chequeado, a Latin American “factchecking,” and other “civic” groups.
Matt Bannick, the Omidyar network’s managing partner, says the money was doled out to combat declining trust in news media. Do tell
The laundry list of questionable moments hardly stops at the top. Enter Jeremy Scahill of Intercepted podcast, in which the host attempts to sound like William Shatner. This is the same Scahill who in 2018 insisted that al-Qaeda should be called the “resistance.” When questioned about that, he tried to weasel his way out of having tried to normalize a terrorist organization.
As you can imagine quite a few folks piped in that day.
But Jeremy chose to pick on little ol’ me instead.
More recently Ro Kahana was on Intercepted speaking about the situation in Venezuela. Ro said that Maduro should’ve accepted USAID, which by then much of the media had accepted was a Trojan horse for regime-change. That’s about the point that even a ball-less “independent” journalist like Scahill might’ve drilled down a bit on Ro’s — and Bernie Sanders’s — stance, especially given that Elliot Abrams is helping run the regime change operation. But that was tiptoeing too far in the poppy fields for Scahill, as it would be for others working for Omidyar or Stratcom.