Pierre Omidyar’s role at First Look Media

Following a report on Pierre Omidyar’s involvement in Ukrainian politics, Glenn Greenwald felt obliged to explain why he knew nothing about this.

That’s because, prior to creating The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jermey Scahill, I did not research Omidyar’s political views or donations. That’s because his political views and donations are of no special interest to me – any more than I cared about the political views of the family that owns and funds Salon (about which I know literally nothing, despite having worked there for almost 6 years), or any more than I cared about the political views of those who control the Guardian Trust.

There’s a very simple reason for that: they have no effect whatsoever on my journalism or the journalism of The Intercept. That’s because we are guaranteed full editorial freedom and journalistic independence. The Omidyar Network’s political views or activities – or those of anyone else – have no effect whatsoever on what we report, how we report it, or what we say.

I’m having a hard time squaring Greenwald’s description of the editorial independence of The Intercept with the following statements made by his colleague there, Jeremy Scahill, as reported by the Daily Beast:

The whole venture will have a lower wall between owner and journalist than traditional media. Omidyar, he says, wanted to do the project because he was interested in Fourth Amendment issues, and they are hiring teams of lawyers, not just to keep the staff from getting sued, but to actively push courts on the First Amendment, to “force confrontation with the state on these issues.”

“[Omidyar] strikes me as always sort of political, but I think that the NSA story and the expanding wars put politics for him into a much more prominent place in his existence. This is not a side project that he is doing. Pierre writes more on our internal messaging than anyone else. And he is not micromanaging. This guy has a vision. And his vision is to confront what he sees as an assault on the privacy of Americans.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 thoughts on “Pierre Omidyar’s role at First Look Media

  1. Davejoe

    I found Greenwald’s piece rather convincing. Besides, his track record has been stellar!

  2. bobs

    Greenwald, of whom I am a great fan, is being disingenuous here. Omidyar is not a donor. First Look is his show. Ukraine is a mess. Both sides of the aisle have had a chance to govern and both of them have shown to be utterly corrupt. Still, flawed as it is, it’s (or was) a democracy. So for the State Dept and silicon valley billionaires to interfere with a country they know nothing about is sickening. If that doesn’t bother GG then something’s wrong with the guy.

Comments are closed.