Lefty Glenn Greenwald Slams Liberal Media for ‘Extreme Groupthink’

In a Tuesday appearance on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, the progressive journalist and co-founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald spoke with Carlson about the media’s fixation with the Russia story and how they got so many things wrong. And in the process, Greenwald called out the liberal media for being a self-gratifying echo chamber where consequences for false reporting no longer apply but benefits flow.

Greenwald pointed out how the media was eager to publish any “inflammatory” information pertaining to the Russia investigation no matter how often they “turn out to be totally false.” And with absolutely no consequences from their employer or colleagues.

They get enormous benefits when they publish recklessly,” he added. “They get applause on social media from their peers, they get zillions of retweets, huge amounts of traffic, they end up on TV. They get applauded across the spectrum because people are so giddy and eager to hear more about this Russia and Trump story.

He lamented about how there were almost no repercussions for their false reporting because their peers just pretend it didn’t happen and moved onto the next sensationalist article. And according to Greenwald, there were far greater upsides to reckless reporting than downsides:

And when their stories get completely debunked it just kind of -- everybody agrees to ignore it and everyone moves on and they pay no price. At the same time, they’re feeling and pleasing their sources by publishing the sources that the sources want them to publish. So there's huge amounts of career benefits and reputational benefits and very little cost when they publish stories that end up being debunked, because the narrative they are serving as a popular one, at least within their peer circles.

“Gosh, that’s so dishonest,” Carlson exclaimed. “I think all of us and journalism have gotten things wrong, I certainly have. And you feel bad about it, you really do and there's a consequence.” “Do you really think there's that level of dishonesty in the American press,” he asked his guest.

I think what it is more than dishonesty is a really warped incentive scheme bolstered by this very severe groupthink that social media is fostering in ways that we don't yet fully understand,” Greenwald argued.

Greenwald followed up by noting that many journalists were no longer out in the field anymore, which was to be expected since many newspapers closed down their state house operations in favor of national reporting over the decades. “They're sitting on Twitter talking to one another and this produces this extreme groupthink where these orthodoxies arrive in deviating from them or questioning them or challenging, believe me, results in all kinds of recrimination and scorn,” Greenwald explained.

And when it came to the media’s rush to publish leaked information that undermined Trump’s administration, Greenwald observed a suspicious trend: “We know that there are a huge number of people inside the government who are willing to leak … and yet there have been no leaks so far showing any evidence of that kind of collusion, leading one to wonder why that is.

Transcript below:

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FNC
Tucker Carlson Tonight
October 17, 2017
8:30:56 PM Eastern

TUCKER CARLSON: It's been 49 weeks and counting since the 2016 election, the hunt is still on for proof of Russian meddling. Did Putin get Trump elected? We still don't know. We did recently speak though to progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was at the press is replacing good reporting with inaccurate scandal-mongering. Watch this.

[Cuts to Video]

TUCKER: So Glenn, just to get to the facts of this story, it is conclusively shown that the story about the 21 voting systems being hacked is untrue, correct?

GLENN GREENWALD: It's false in two ways, one is that several of the states included in the list, such as Wisconsin, California, and Texas, said that the websites that the Homeland Security Department cited had nothing to do with voting systems, they are entirely unrelated. And it's false in a second way, which is a lot of the stories, in fact, most of them said that Russia try to hack into the voting systems when in fact even Homeland Security can only show that what they did was scan those computer systems, which is basically casing something to say for vulnerabilities and made no attempt to actually hack into them. So, it was false on various levels.

TUCKER: So, you and I don't agree on a lot of issues but I think we share the same concern about this story, and that is that American journalists are being manipulated for whatever reason by the intelligence community in the United States, and I'm wondering why after years of having this happen to American journalists, they are allowing this to happen again.

GREENWALD: Well, that's the thing I would refrain that a little bit. I don't actually think so much that journalists are the victims in the sense of that formulation that they’re being manipulated. I think at best what you can say for them; they are willingly and eagerly being manipulated.

Because what you see is over and over they publish really inflammatory stories that turn out to be totally false and what happens in most cases? Nothing. They get enormous benefits when they publish recklessly. They get applause on social media from their peers, they get zillions of retweets, huge amounts of traffic, they end up on TV. They get applauded across the spectrum because people are so giddy and eager to hear more about this Russia and Trump story.

And when their stories get completely debunked it just kind of -- everybody agrees to ignore it and everyone moves on and they pay no price. At the same time, they’re feeling and pleasing their sources by publishing the sources that the sources want them to publish. So there's huge amounts of career benefits and reputational benefits and very little cost when they publish stories that end up being debunked, because the narrative they are serving as a popular one, at least within their peer circles.

TUCKER: Gosh, that’s so dishonest. I think all of us and journalism have gotten things wrong, I certainly have. And you feel bad about it, you really do and there's a consequence. Do you really think there's that level of dishonesty in the American press?

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GREENWALD: I think what it is more than dishonesty is a really warped incentive scheme bolstered by this very severe groupthink that social media is fostering in ways that we don't yet fully understand. Most journalists these days are in congressional committees or at zoning board meetings or using shoe leather reporting. They're sitting on Twitter talking to one another and this produces this extreme groupthink where these orthodoxies arrive in deviating from them or questioning them or challenging, believe me, results in all kinds of recrimination and scorn. And embracing them produces a sort of in-group mentality where you are rewarded, and I think a lot of it is about that kind of behavior.

TUCKER: That is really deep. You live in a foreign country, I'm not on social media, maybe we have a little bit of distance from this, where do you think the story is going? What's the next incarnation of this?

GREENWALD: Well, the odd part about it, and about the inpatients that journalists have in trying to just jump to the finish line is that there are numerous investigations underway in the city, including by credible investigators. Including Senator Burr and Warner and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which most people seem to trust and certainly Robert Mueller, who’s armed with subpoena power and everyone is really eager to lavish with praise.

We are going to find out presumably one way or the other soon enough. One thing that is so odd to me, Tucker, is that this is been going on now for a year, this accusation that the Trump administration or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to hack the DNC and John Podesta’s email. And we know that there are a huge number of people inside the government who are willing to leak, even at the expense of committing crimes in order to undermine Trump, and yet there have been no leaks so far showing any evidence of that kind of collusion leading one to wonder why that is. So, I hope that everybody is willing to wait until the actual investigation reveals finally the real answers. But it doesn't seem that will be the case.

TUCKER: Bravery is when you disagree in public with your peers. And by that definition you are a very brave man.


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