Glenn Greenwald: Breitbart News Has ‘Editorial Independence’ That ‘Left and Establishment Right Utterly Lack’

Ueslei Marcelino Reuters
Ueslei Marcelino/ Reuters

Asked for his opinion of Breitbart News, acclaimed journalist Glenn Greenwald praised the news site’s editorial integrity and said the site was “very impressive in terms of the impact they’ve been able to have.”

While Greenwald was clear that Breitbart contains content he “sometimes find repellant” and Breitbart writers and articles he’s highly critical of “just on political grounds,” he gave Breitbart News high marks for “giving voice to people who are otherwise excluded.”

Although he prefers to avoid political labels for himself, Greenwald is a former columnist for left-wing media outlets Salon and the Guardian and one of the founding editors of new media news source The Intercept, a left-leaning site that has shown political independence by publishing articles blasting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton:

Greenwald spoke to this reporter about the Making the News podcast. About his opinion of Breitbart News and the state of right-wing media, he said:

I think Breitbart is actually a fascinating case. And I do think right-wing media has had a lot more success in pioneering ways to challenge establishment authority that left-wing media has.

I think very much the same spirit that animates Breitbart was also the animating force behind Matt Drudge and, to a lesser extent, Rush Limbaugh — none of which have ever been part of or comfortable within the Republican establishment.

In fact, all of them, in varying degrees, has been very antagonistic to the Republican establishment. Certainly Drudge has and definitely Breitbart has, maybe not Rush Limbaugh quite as much, but to some degree, too.

So there’s obviously a lot of things at Breitbart that are published that I vehemently disagree with and sometimes find repellant just on an ideological basis.

But what I find really interesting about Breitbart is that it captured the ethos of a significant part of the conservative movement and the right-wing electorate, and even independents that have been completely excluded from all of the organs of establishment thought in the Republican party. And not only did that, but it was so independent in how it did it.

You know, it was extremely critical of Republican party leaders, and even today — I mean, obviously, I think it’s fair to say Breitbart has been partial to Trump, but one of the things that has actually impressed me is that even in this transition, when Trump nominates someone who’s record is at odds with the promises that Trump made that appealed to Breitbart’s writers and readers, Breitbart has been very vocal in being very critical, even of the candidate with whom they’re most closely associated with, which is Trump — which is integrity and a sort of editorial independence that I think most media outlets on both the left and the establishment right utterly lack.

And so there’s a lot of bad things I have to say about Breitbart articles and Breitbart writers, just on political grounds, but in terms of how they’re using their platform, and how they’re amplifying and channeling this independence and giving voice to people who are otherwise excluded, I think it’s all very impressive in terms of the impact they’ve been able to have.

Best known for his work on stories where he often worked closely with WikiLeaks, Greenwald is the reporter behind the Edward Snowden story, as well as stories about the FISA court rulings on NSA techniques and WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning. He’s also the author of several books and a frequent guest on television and radio. Greenwald’s reporting on the NSA earned him the 2013 Polk Award and earned the Guardian team he led a Pulitzer Prize for public service, among other honors.

Listen to the entire Making the News episode with Glenn Greenwald below:


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