We don’t have enough independent voices in journalism. And different voices bring different opinions and the search for the truth (whatever the truth is, but that’s another story).
The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the news about the NSA leaks and much more, using information provided by Edward Snowden, has announced that he won’t be working with the British newspaper The Guardian, where he published his revelatory articles, in order to become part of a startup journalistic site funded by Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.
The project arose out of current destabilizing tendencies in journalism: Namely, government pressure on reports and governmental surveillance of citizens, according to an article in the New York Times. The Times itself is an old-fashioned journalism organization that’s been pretty good at adapting to changing technologies, but that still seems to be mired in the bureaucratic tendencies of establishment media: reporters’ and columnists’ angling to get close to power rather than to uncover power’s excesses.
Everyone should applaud a new journalism outlet as newspapers shrink and media gets controlled by too few big players. We live in an age when too many people simply want to hear what they already know, rather than to be challenged with new information that might give them a more accurate view of the world.
If you’re writing a book, you want to challenge your readers, don’t you? You don’t just want to repeat to your audience what it already knows, in the hope that people will turn to you to reinforce existing ideas. What’s the good in that?
For the new site to be truly worthwhile, it needs to be an independent voice, as much as that’s possible today. An independent voice is the one most worth listening to. If we always hear what we know, or think we know, the we learn nothing. And what comes from that? For one thing, I can think of a recent government shutdown…