I think The Intercept is one of the best sources of original independent investigative journalism in the US, along with ProPublica and DemocracyNow!. I have long contributed to the last two organizations but The Intercept never asked for support because it was funded by billionaire Pirre Omidyar. But clearly such a model is not sustainable over the long term and they have started to diversify their funding stream by asking for contributions.
Yesterday Glenn Greenwald, one of the founding reporters on The Intercept along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, asked for financial support from those who wish this kind of reporting to continue and explaining why.
On the simplest level, reader support will increase our funding and enable us to hire more great reporters, editors, designers, researchers, and others who make our journalism possible, ensuring that we continue to thrive and grow. But on a deeper level, being accountable to readers is a highly valuable attribute. Reader support transforms a journalistic outlet from a one-way conversation into a collective endeavor; it is an indispensable means of ensuring that coverage remains exclusively focused on the public interest.
Perhaps most important, reader support is key to our ability to maintain our status as a nonprofit journalistic venture, ensuring our stories are never influenced by click-bait or advertising pressures. That we are not geared toward profit has enabled us to keep our focus where it belongs: on high-impact, substantive, quality journalism.
I immediately sent in a contribution and am linking to the contribution page in case anyone else would like to do so.
As an example of their reporting, Greenwald has long been a strong supporter of Chelsea Manning who was released from prison today and he writes a moving account of his visits to her in prison and of Manning’s strength of character that refused to be beaten by the vicious treatment at the hands of the US government.
As one of the few people on the list of approved visitors, I spent many hours on the phone with her during this period. Her experience both in prison generally and transitioning specifically was filled with completely gratuitous challenges and difficulties caused by malicious or ignorant prison authorities.
But what is ultimately most striking about Chelsea Manning is her unyielding persistence. In the most humble yet determined tones, she insists on following what she knows is the right path regardless of the risks and costs to her. And in doing so, far beyond the initial acts of whistleblowing, she became a hero to LGBTs around the world, and so many other people, by demanding the right to be who she is, and to live freely, even under the most oppressive conditions.
Ultimately, what makes Chelsea Manning unique is not so much her political heroism but rather the way she has personally navigated her life after that. As I recounted in the letter I wrote in support of her clemency petition, she is the single most empathetic and compassionate person I have ever met. When I would speak to her, it was difficult for me to contain my anger and resentment over the abuse she had suffered and continued to suffer. Yet she never displayed or even seemed to share any of that anger, instead often defending even those who wronged her by empathizing with their own predicaments and mitigating their behavior.
The journalists at the The Intercept have been steadfast is exposing government wrongdoing irrespective of partisan affiliation and I hope they get a lot of support.