Opinion: Fearless Adversarial Journalism Doesn’t Work When You Are Funded By A Billionaire
Opinion: Fearless Adversarial Journalism Doesn’t Work When You Are Funded By A Billionaire by Elizabeth Vos – DisObedient Media
Disobedient Media previously opined on the dagger-in-the-back publication of a hit piece against Wikileaks’ Julian Assange just one day after a UK magistrate, with blatant conflict of interest in the matter, shot down his legal representatives’ attempt to finally free him from the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy.
What that article did not address was the patently obvious terminal illness suffered by The Intercept. That is, the outlet claims to publish “fearless, adversarial” reporting, while it is funded by a billionaire. Ken Silverstein, formerly employed at The Intercept and by Omidyar’s First Look Media, has described endemic problems at the outlet that have risen directly out of Omidyar’s leadership or lack thereof.
The fundamental problem facing The Intercept is not ultimately about how or why the outlet published a smear specifically timed to cut support away from Assange, even though that is in and of itself despicable. It’s that doing so acts in support of the very deep state and moneyed, military interests that The Intercept purports to critique “fearlessly.”
Adding to a sense of betrayal of The Intercept’s principles in the wake of the outlet’s hit-piece is the fact that a number of writers at the publication are by all accounts on good terms with Assange, and have worked with mutual supporters including the superb Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi. Maurizi collaborated with Wikileaks on the verification of documents for many years, and worked with Glenn Greenwald on preparation for the disclosure of the Snowden files.
Adding to the years of support Greenwald has shown Assange, the Wikileaks co-founder also sent Wikileaks’ own Sarah Harrison to the aid of Snowden after he was marooned in Hong Kong in 2013, an act which Stefania Maurizi revealed very likely cost the publisher his freedom.
After the publication of the Snowden files, the UK ceased any attempt to create a legal process by which Assange might have been safely freed, and in the same year pressured Sweden to continue its investigation after the country’s authorities expressed their intent to drop the matter. Likewise, in the wake of Assange’s actions towards Snowden, the Obama White House changed its stance from a reluctant acceptance that prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing might not be possible given that US publishers had also published the same material.
Snowden’s revelations also provided much of the impetus for the launch of The Intercept as an outlet, after Glenn Greenwald departed from The Guardian. In this way, Assange’s story and his fate in the Ecuadorian embassy is inextricably linked with the origin of The Intercept’s rise on the back of the Snowden revelations.
Only a few months later, in October 2013 while Snowden was still stuck in a Moscow airport and out of reach of US authorities and The Intercept was gearing up for launch, the UK made it clear to the Swedish prosecutor that she should not drop her investigation and European Arrest Warrant for Assange, even though Sweden’s law on proportionality required her to do so.