I like most of the current wave of media sites that are being launched these days. I think Vox is great and The Upshot is a prime example of how traditional media organizations can launch their own "explainer blogs" while staying true to their traditional mission. I'm not a huge fan of Nate Silver's new FiveThirtyEight site, honestly I don't read it that much, but I certainly think it has a right to exist and might get better as we move into election season.
But if there is one project that is, well kind of pathetic, it has to be Glenn Greenwald's First Look Media "empire." I put "empire" in quotes because basically it still consists of one "blog" called The Intercept that publishes about one story a week usually about the whole Snowden-what-have-you or about why Greenwald hates President Obama (for the record he's hated President Obama since before he was sworn in.) I think that's fine for somebodies personal blog, I don't publish ever day and I took a break from Longwalkdownlyndale recently, but if you are a professional journalist with a big staff? That's just pathetic.
Now in Greenwald et al's defense they claim that they are still working through all that Snowden stuff and so can't "really" launch right now, even though they said they launched back in January. Umm okay. I think now is a good time to point out that they got $250 million to put do their "fearless" and "adversarial" journalism and this is all they can come up with.
Wow, just wow.
I'm a bit of a biased source here, I'm not a fan of Greenwald. I think he approaches journalism like a trial lawyer, that is he always skews things to support his side of the argument and if he can't skew facts that way he just ignores them. This makes sense for how a litigator should approach a trial, but it's a terrible way to go about journalism. In addition I don't think he really understands politics or how the government works at all and more importantly has no interest in learning.
But still, come on. Oh also I should point out that the whole First Look organization is set up as a tax exempt charity. Umm okay.
So for review Greenwald's new venture is a nonprofit with $250 million in assets that produces little to no output and is focused, for now at least, and just rehashing an old story (the NSA spies on people!) that just happens to be Greenwald's greatest (and only) professional triumph. Yeah that's about him in a nutshell.
If only we had some fearless and adversarial journalists to look into that whole set up, then we might have a juicy story.