On journalism, NYT’s Bill Keller vs Glenn Greenwald

An exchange between The New York Times’s former editor, now op-ed columnist Bill Keller and Glenn Greenwald entitled, “Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of Journalism?

Here is the section where Greenwald addresses questions about his new media outlet:

As for the new venture we’re building with Pierre Omidyar: we’re still developing what it will look like, how it will be structured and the like, so my ability to answer some of your questions is limited. But I can address a few of the questions you raise.

We absolutely believe that strong, experienced editors are vital to good journalism, and intend to have plenty of those. Editors are needed to ensure the highest level of factual accuracy, to verify key claims, and to help journalists make choices that avoid harm to innocents.

But they are not needed to impose obsolete stylistic rules, or to snuff out the unique voice and passion of the journalists, or to bar any sort of declarative statements when high-level officials prevaricate, or to mandate government-requested euphemisms in lieu of factually clear terms, or to vest official statements or official demands for suppression with superior status. In sum, editors should be there to empower and enable strong, highly factual, aggressive adversarial journalism, not to serve as roadblocks to neuter or suppress the journalism.

We intend to treat claims from the most powerful factions with skepticism, not reverence. Official assertions are our stating point to investigate (“Official A said X, Y and Z today: now let’s see if that’s true”), not the gospel around which we build our narratives (“X, Y and Z, official A says”)

 

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