Journalist Glenn Greenwald announced his resignation from The Intercept on Thursday, alleging that the outlet he co-founded was attempting to censor a column in which he criticizes Joe Biden.
Greenwald said he would continue publishing a freelance column, joining a number of journalists such as Matt Taibbi and Andrew Sullivan who have moved their work to the independent publishing platform Substack. Sullivan announced in July that he would leave New York Magazine, writing at the time that editors and writers at the publication were forced to commit to “critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
Greenwald laid out the reasons for his own resignation in a Substack post.
“The final, precipitating cause [of resignation] is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,” Greenwald wrote. Lashing out at “all New-York-based Intercept editors” who “vehemently” support Biden, Greenwald claimed that “modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. ”
Greenwald wrote that the article his editors wanted to censor referred to newly released documents pertaining to Joe Biden’s conduct in Ukraine and China. He criticized his former publication for “a deep fear of offending hegemonic cultural liberalism and center-left Twitter luminaries, and an overarching need to secure the approval and admiration of the very mainstream media outlets we created The Intercept to oppose, critique and subvert.”
Intercept EIC Betsy Reed blasted Greenwald’s announcement, alleging that Greenwald attempted to make himself “appear a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum.”
“While he accuses us of political bias, it was he who was attempting to recycle a political campaign’s—the Trump campaign’s—dubious claims and launder them as journalism,” Reed said in a statement. “We have the greatest respect for the journalist Glenn Greenwald used to be.”
In a Wednesday appearance on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Greenwald slammed what he termed the media’s unwillingness to report on Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
“They’re all desperate for Trump to lose,” Greenwald said, referring to various media outlets. “They don’t want to be scorned in their social circles. And so they’re willing to abdicate their journalistic function, which is reporting on one of the most powerful people in the world, and Joe Biden in part because they want to manipulate and tinker with the election using journalism, but a much bigger part because they’re scared of being yelled at on Twitter.”
A staunch left-winger who made his name exposing what he considered to be the excesses of the Bush-era surveillance state, Greenwald has more recently earned praise from conservatives for his skeptical coverage of the Russia investigation as well as his reporting on Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
Greenwald’s resignation also follows a shake-up at the New York Times in early June, when staffers at the paper openly protested the publication of an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), in which he called to deploy federal troops to quell riots following the death of George Floyd. The Times subsequently fired opinion editor James Bennet, and opinion writer Bari Weiss announced her resignation from the paper shortly afterwards.
Editor’s note 3:45 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from Intercept EIC Betsy Reed.