Journalist Glenn Greenwald aimed a spotlight at "junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance" such as CNN’s Brian Stelter
Journalist Glenn Greenwald aimed a spotlight at “junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance” such as CNN’s Brian Stelter who engage in “character-assassinating, censorship-fostering games” while pretending to be reporters.
“Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism,” Greenwald wrote in his latest Substack piece, headlined “The Journalistic Tattletale and Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows.”
Greenwald explained that some journalists appear to exist solely to silence others.
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“I’ve written before about one particularly toxic strain of this authoritarian ‘reporting.’ Teams of journalists at three of the most influential corporate media outlets — CNN’s ‘media reporters’ (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy), NBC’s “disinformation space unit” (Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny), and the tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) — devote the bulk of their ‘journalism’ to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken (banning, censorship, content regulation, after-school detention),” Greenwald wrote.
“These hall-monitor reporters are a major factor explaining why tech monopolies, which (for reasons of self-interest and ideology) never wanted the responsibility to censor, now do so with abandon and seemingly arbitrary blunt force: they are shamed by the world’s loudest media companies when they do not,” he continued.
The impetus for Greenwald’s latest piece was New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz, who falsely accused tech investor Marc Andreessen of using a slur – but some of his harshest criticism was aimed at CNN and NBC.
“Darcy has built his CNN career by sitting around with Brian Stelter petulantly pointing to people breaking the rules on social media and demanding tech executives make the rule-breakers disappear,” Greenwald wrote. “The little crew of tattletale millennials assembled by NBC… spend their dreary days scrolling through 4Chan boards to expose the offensive memes and bad words used by transgressive adolescents; they then pat themselves on the back for confronting dangerous power centers, even when it is nothing more trivial and bullying than doxxing the identities of powerless, obscure citizens.”
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Greenwald declared “the worst of this triumvirate is the NYT’s tech reporters,” which he said “quickly donned their hall-monitor goggles and Stasi notebooks to warn that the Bad People had migrated to Signal and Telegram.”
“These examples of journalism being abused to demand censorship of spaces they cannot control are too numerous to comprehensively chronicle. And they are not confined to those three outlets. That far more robust censorship is urgently needed is now a virtual consensus in mainstream corporate journalism: it’s an animating cause for them,” Greenwald wrote.
As a result, Greenwald feels America is in a bizarre situation where “journalists are not the defenders of free speech values but the primary crusaders to destroy them.”
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He wrote that people like Stelter crave power and also “do it partly for ideology and out of hubris” and “do it from petty vindictiveness.”
“They clearly get aroused — find otherwise-elusive purpose — by destroying people’s reputations and lives, no matter how powerless,” Greenwald wrote. “Whatever the motive, corporate media employees whose company title is ‘journalist’ are the primary activists against a free and open internet and the core values of free thought.”
As for Lorenz, the Gray Lady tech reporter who inspired the scathing piece, Greenwald detailed a situation in which she falsely accused Andreessen of using a slur on audio app Clubhouse.
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“Lorenz lied. Andreessen never used that word. And rather than apologize and retract it, she justified her mistake by claiming it was a “male voice” that sounded like his, then locked her Twitter account as though she — rather than the person she falsely maligned — was the victim,” Greenwald wrote.