Greenwald clarifies, I screwed up

First, I am sorry for posting this tweet. I screwed up. In the tweet, I said that the only thing transparent about Glenn Greenwald is his stonewalling. The article which I was linking to, on the New York Magazine website, provided quotes from a Greenwald piece, without reporting the substance. In the piece they were citing, Greenwald answered the most important question I had been calling on him to answer. I had not read the Greenwald piece when I wrote that tweet. That was a mistake.

In his post, he said, unequivocally, that he owns no stock in either of the Omidyar ventures, one which is a non-profit for journalism and the other a for-profit tech company. Not that there would be anything wrong with owning stock, but it is something that needed disclosure, something that I have explained over and over in a series of posts late last year, none of which got this response from Greenwald or any of the other principals in the new company.

There are still other issues. Why the delay in saying he had no stock? And by item #4 in the Greenwald post, we’re back to the normal Greenwald approach, over-stating his critics’ concerns. At best, this is his lawyerly alter-ego popping up. At worst it makes me think he’s still hiding important stuff. Not everyone is out to get him. I was a Greenwald defender and fan until I was introduced to Greenwald the Stone Wall.

An important point, the Snowden documents don’t belong to him or the Omidyar ventures. They don’t belong to Snowden. They belong to the people of the United States. We have a huge stake in what’s done with them. In normal times we’d trust the government to look out for the people’s interest, but this is about the government abusing that trust. Greenwald is dancing with high charge explosives. We deserve his full devotion to this story. Why is now a good time for him to be involved in a startup? Why not wait until the Snowden disclosures are complete? Or if he must be involved in a startup, which I know from experience is a hugely time-consuming thing, why not pass the torch to another reporter, or group of reporters? Greenwald’s newest response is that we’re asking for a complete and immediate dump of the documents. I’m not asking for that! I don’t know anyone else who is. What I do want to see is an honest, fair, complete, expedient and urgent disclosure of that information. Perhaps he should start a new venture just to disclose the information in those documents. These are the questions behind the questions about Greenwald’s ownership position in the Omidyar companies.

Transparency is not easy, but when you are occupying a seat of historic importance, with our future at stake, we insist that you take that responsibility seriously. And saying you are, when your actions don’t indicate that you are, is not a good answer.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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