Greenwald calls out USA Today reporter over article targeting Capitol riot legal defense funding, gets accused of ‘harassment’
USA Today intern Brenna Smith tweeted her “first” story co-written for the outlet on Sunday, describing the situation with the typical good versus evil fluffing given most content related to former President Donald Trump and the so-called January 6 “insurrection.”
Defendants charged in relation to the event “continue to crowd fund their legal fees online using popular payment processors despite a growing crackdown from tech companies,” Smith wrote, presenting it as an “insurrection fundraiser” by “extremists” rather than a run-of-the-mill effort by typically under-funded individuals who’d descended on the Capitol with little thought that they’d be arrested for it later on.Also on rt.com Google Podcasts is like Parler and you can find ALEX JONES there, says NYT in latest pro-censorship story
Crowdfunding legal fees is a typical use for sites like GoFundMe, though in the wake of the January 6 demonstration, that particular site ruled out “fundraising for travel to political events that have a ‘risk for violence.’” Smith claimed 10 people involved in the Capitol demonstration were using GiveSendGo, the self-styled “#1 free Christian crowdfunding site,” to help cover their legal costs. Another site, AllFundIt, appeared last fall, describing itself as a “Christian conservative alternative to GoFundMe,” accompanied by a press release describing it as “welcom[ing] Trump Supporters Campaigns…W/Open Arms.”
The article concluded with a concerned description of reporters’ efforts to donate small sums of money in the name of Proud Boys members and other alleged rioters, noting that while some campaigns had disappeared from crowdfunding websites following concerned messages sent by USA Today reporters, others hadn’t. The overall outlook was positive, however, with praise heaped upon entities like PayPal whose large staff and hefty budget allowed it to play Whac-a-Mole with the so-called hatemongers like a pro.
Greenwald responded to Smith’s maiden scalp-collecting voyage with a ringing denunciation of the “journalistic tattletale and censorship industry,” though his article (posted to Substack) was dated February 7 and clearly targeted a handful of well-established “disinformation reporters” who had long based their careers on attempting to suppress the free speech of fellow journalists who happened to hold the “wrong” opinions. The group did not include Smith.
Not exaggerating: seems like 50% of journalism these days is finding new ways to pressure and shame tech companies to silence, censor and vanish people from the internet disliked by journalists. Their main cause is not transparency but internet censorshiphttps://t.co/8cLQxkZbAW— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 28, 2021
However, Greenwald did make it clear that if the intern intended on pursuing a career alongside the likes of CNN’s Brian Stelter and the New York Times’ Taylor Lorenz, two censor-happy reporters who had never met a wrongthinker they couldn’t smear as the Next Big Thing in Hate, Smith would enjoy a successful career in the new, anti-First-Amendment journalism industry, making it clear that this was not how up-and-coming journalists should be making a name for themselves.
See also: "Trust in traditional media has declined to an all-time low....For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media...56% of Americans agree with the statement that "Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people." pic.twitter.com/V2iMwL18Bi— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 28, 2021
Greenwald also offered what might have been termed constructive criticism, however, informing Smith that there was a reason “trust in traditional media” had “declined to an all-time low” – and it had more to do with journalists like the ones she worked with than it did with benighted audiences.
Plenty of Greenwald’s followers echoed his criticisms. “Congratulations on instantly becoming a tool of the police state,” one commenter snarked, adding “You’ll fit right in with the rest of your colleagues.”
Well done on using the prescribed propaganda lexicon, including "extremists", "insurrection" and "white nationalist" to caricature these people into the evil we know they are. You're going to do just fine serving the empire.— The Speculatist | Neoliberalism Kills | 🥝 |⏳ (@AlsoRandom) March 28, 2021
A criminal defendant's right to an lawyer is found in the 6th Amend, which requires the "assistance of counsel" for the accused "in all criminal prosecutions." This means that a defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during trial. So u oppose this?— Chuck Warren (@SilverBulletLLC) March 29, 2021
However, many more surfaced to lash out at Greenwald, accusing him of exaggerating his claims and running interference for Trump and “fascism,” despite the fact that the journalist has been a vocal critic of America's 45th president.
"Not exaggerating", says man who proceeds to make wildly exaggerated claim. Forget about impossible to substantiate. Half of us (or half of all journalistic effort depending on which ott metric he just dreamed up) are engaged in improperly pressuring tech companies.— Orin Gordon (@oringordon) March 28, 2021
"People disliked by journalists"These ppl didn't steal her boyfriend in 8th grade. They INVADED the US Capitol w/the intent to murder & to overthrow an election.— Elsbeth Washburn (@eswashburn64) March 29, 2021
Some lashed out at what they deemed Smith's blatant partisanship, questioning why it was acceptable to help bail out Black Lives Matter rioters (as Vice President Kamala Harris had done) but not acceptable to provide legal assistance to protesters who marched on the Capitol.
Are you doing the same for the people that had the riots over the summer and the insurrection of our police departments? Will you be making sure they do not get funding for legal defences well? Or is this purely partisan— Maureen Greene (@TweetsbyMo4U) March 28, 2021
Others swooped to Smith’s rescue, wishing her the best of luck in her internship as she fought what they called “terrorists” and, bafflingly, “incels.”
First, congrats on your story. I’m so sorry that you’re being trolled by men twice your age. It’s sad that anyone would take time out of their day to undermine the professional contributions of an intern. Moving on... They picked the right intern, well done!— Olivia P. Walker (@olivia_p_walker) March 29, 2021
Great work! Terrorist financing is a major issue and you’re doing great exposing it. Ignore the haters and losers!— Black Lives Matter KC (@BLM_KC) March 28, 2021
Expect we’re going to see a lot more good work from this byline. Sorry that this beat comes with constant harassment, but glad bright young reporters like her aren’t scared off by the craven men who make a living from trending on this stupid website. https://t.co/JE5XJtLicE— Brandy Zadrozny (@BrandyZadrozny) March 29, 2021
Ultimately, however, USA Today got the last laugh (and apparently enough clicks to satisfy its editors).
Our intern just published her first story with us and this is the vitriol she’s been met with. Just insane. Here’s the piece — it’s great and so is Brenna https://t.co/wTvnLxlrWipic.twitter.com/tW28WcatJp— Brett Murphy (@BrettMmurphy) March 28, 2021
Smith is not quite a newbie to the censorship-disguised-as-journalism scene, either - her Twitter bio mentions she previously worked for Bellingcat, the "open source investigations" outfit launched by venerable underwear salesman Eliot Higgins to bolster the credibility of US accusations against Syria and Russia.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!