Glenn Greenwald: ‘Journalists Are Authoritarians’, an Interview with Nick Gillespie

Glenn Greenwald is the rare journalist who puts his principles before his politics. From Nick Gillespie at

Few journalists are more relentlessly iconoclastic than Glenn Greenwald, who shared a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Edward Snowden revelations.

Though unapologetically progressive, the 53-year-old former lawyer never shrinks from fighting with the left. A week before the 2020 election, he quit The Intercept, the online news organization he co-founded in 2014, because, by his account, it refused to run a story unless he “remove[d] all sections critical of” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Denouncing what he called “the pathologies, illiberalism, and repressive mentality” that led him to be what he characterized as  “censored” by his own media outlet, Greenwald railed that “these are the viruses that have contaminated virtually every mainstream center-left political organization, academic institution, and newsroom.”

Like a growing number of refugees from more-traditional news organizations, Greenwald took his talents to Substack, a platform that lets independent content creators earn revenue directly from their audiences. He wasted no time lobbing grenades, posting stories and videos with titles like “No Matter the Liberal Metric Chosen, the Bush/Cheney Administration Was Far Worse Than Trump” and “The Three Greatest Dangers of Biden/Harris: Militarism, Corporatism and Censorship, All Fueled by Indifference.”

Reason‘s Nick Gillespie spoke with Greenwald via Zoom in November. The reporter appeared from his home in Brazil, where he lives with his husband, two children, and numerous dogs. Among other topics, they discussed what Greenwald sees as a generational fight playing out in newsrooms and what he fears from Biden’s presidency.

Let’s start with you leaving The Intercept, this amazing publication that you helped start only a few years ago. What happened?

Well, some of you may recall that when I created The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, it was at the height of the Snowden story back in 2013. I was at The Guardian at the time. And I had received a lot of support institutionally and editorially from The Guardian. But I began noticing, as I worked with other media outlets to report that story, a lot of internal obstacles that they thought were quite difficult to overcome in terms of doing the reporting not just with that story but that, in general, I thought needed to be done.

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