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First POST: Greenwald's Day

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 28 2013

Greenwald's Day

  • Natasha Vargas-Cooper's profile of Glenn Greenwald in The Advocate is full of gems. Where did Greenwald get his politics? From his socialist grandparents in Florida. Why did Edward Snowden reach out to Greenwald rather a more mainstream reporter? Snowden told her, "“The bottom line is that sources risking serious harm to return public information to public hands must have absolute confidence that the journalists they go to will report on that information rather than bury it." Snowden added:

    “Glenn’s work is a foreshadowing of the death of ‘access journalism.’ What we’re seeing with the NSA reporting is that prioritizing the interests of officials over the public, the news audience, is not a winning strategy. Journalists and institutions that hold power to account will attract sources who can provide the facts you aren’t going to get in a briefing room. The access game is a mirage; the officials alienated by hard questions have no choice but to take your calls when confronted with the truth.”

  • Schadenfreude Dept. As repercussions continue to spread across Europe from German chancellor Angela Merkel's angry call to President Obama denouncing the NSA's spying on her cell phone, Berlin Internet privacy activist Anke Domscheit-Berg offered some useful perspective: “Merkel is embarrassingly late with her reaction. In the past few months, Chancellor Merkel did very little to make the U.S. government answer all those questions that should have had highest political priority. Now she gets a taste of what it feels like when foreign secret services spy on all your communication.”

  • Der Spiegel continues to dig deeper on the NSA-Merkel story, reporting that documents from Snowden indicate the spying on her started in 2002, when she was just her party's chair.

  • In the same vein, Greenwald notes the hypocrisy of European governments that are suddenly up in arms about Snowden's revelations but failed to offer him asylum back in the summer. His last column for the Guardian will appear October 31.

  • The New York Times former executive editor Bill Keller engages Greenwald in a fascinating back-and-forth. It's quite something to see Keller give Greenwald, who has been a vociferous critic of the Times, a respectful hearing. Inevitably, they get to WikiLeaks, and the Times' decision (led by Keller) to delay publication of James Risen's story about the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. But it's about much more: whether the media can be objective, how to relate to power, and Greenwald's new venture with Pierre Omidyar. Read the whole thing.

  • Thousands of people rallied Saturday in Washington, DC, to protest the NSA's mass surveillance programs, the Guardian reports.

  • Rep. Alan Grayson says, "Congressional overstay of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress."

In other news around the web:

  • Pushing back on the legion of commentators who have been explaining the problems with on the government's procurement process, Clay Shirky writes in the Guardian, "Building a bad website is a technology failure. Launching a bad website is a management failure."

  • The Wall Street Journal has a blow-by-blow reconstruction of how disjointed leadership produced the mess.

  • Meet Gittip, a platform for crowd-funding salary support for independent workers. Andrew Leonard of Salon calls it "a bold experiment in creating a financial infrastructure that will support people who want to do their own thing."As of this month they have 1,900 active users exchanging $6,600 a week.

  • David Karpf questions whether's new Decision Maker feature will fly. While it is aimed at enabling Members of Congress and other top political figures targeted by petitions to respond directly to petitioners, Karpf thinks there may be a "disconnect between the new tool and the core product," since most petitions on Change are aimed at corporations and social issues, not politicians or traditional political issues.

  • Scholars Chris Hoofnagle and Michael Zimmer have launched "The Zuckerberg Files," an online archive that is collecting every public statement made by the Facebook founder.

  • Netroots blogger Ian Welsh has prompted a fascinating debate with a post called "A brief note on why the progressive blog movement failed." His argument: the Democratic netroots didn't have enough "juice" to defeat incumbents. Chiming in to comment:'s Bob Fertik, former OpenLeft blogger Matt Stoller, and most interesting of all, MyDD founder Jerome Armstrong. Key moments: Joe Lieberman's 2006 re-election as an independent; Barack Obama's routing around the bloggers in 2008 (and the cult of personality his campaign built); and perhaps most crucial and least heralded: the failure of the netroots effort to primary Senator Blanche Lincoln in 2010 despite her vote for the bank bailout.

  • Susannah Vila and Christopher Wilson of engine room are live-blogging this week's Open Government Partnership summit in London for our WeGov section. Follow their reports here.