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Substack journalist Glenn Greenwald took a swipe at The Intercept after the news organization sent out an email pleading for donations.
Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who co-founded The Intercept in 2014, took to Twitter on Wednesday and shared a screenshot of an email the publication sent saying it had “some troubling news to share.”
“Over the last 18 months, the number of readers making recurring monthly donations to The Intercept has declined by nearly 20 percent,” The Intercept wrote. “That’s over 4,000 donors. Most of those contributions were small donations of $5 or $10 a month. But together, they really add up.”
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“Huh,” Greenwald reacted. “So The intercept announced today that, as of 18 months ago, they began to experience a significant and precipitous drop in people willing to be paying members and to donate.”
“Did anything happen exactly 18 months ago over there that might have caused this sad decline?” Greenwald wondered, adding a sad teary-eyed emoji.
Greenwald appeared to be alluding to his dramatic exit from The Intercept, which occurred roughly 18 months ago.
When reached out by Fox News, Greenwald doubled down on his assertion that The Intercept’s decline in donations and his departure is more than a coincidence.
“For weeks after I left the Intercept, I was receiving dozens if not hundreds of emails from former members of the Intercept, who wrote to [The Intercept editor-in-chief] Betsy Reed, and cc’d me, saying they only joined because of my journalism and/or were canceling their membership in protest of the Intercept’s censorship of my reporting and to use it to subscribe to my Substack,” Greenwald told Fox News. “I also heard from very reliable sources inside the Intercept that they lost a huge chunk of their membership base when I quit. I know for certain that a large number of their former members are now subscribers to my Substack.”
“I was the most-read writer at the Intercept every year since its founding, except the last year when I quit, and only a few were even close. Their traffic is shockingly tiny and anemic… Nobody reads the Intercept, so of course they have no members and people willing to pay – just like CNN found that having nobody who watches their shows means nobody will pay to watch,” Greenwald added.
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Greenwald also pointed to an October 2021 report suggesting Reed was being dishonest when she told Axios that Greenwald’s departure did not have a dramatic impact on the Intercept’s readership, saying “we still have good numbers” despite the dip that occurred following the 2020 presidential election.
“The specific fundraising email Glenn is tweeting about is part of a campaign aimed at increasing the number of monthly recurring donors, which has declined in the 18 months since Biden’s election,” The Intercept’s senior communications director Rodrigo Brandão told Fox News. “The Intercept is fortunate to have an incredibly committed audience willing to support our journalism. We’re flattered Greenwald continues to follow our work so closely.”
Regarding what Reed told Axios in October 2021, The Intercept touted its numbers despite the “slight drop” in donations that was expected following the 2020 presidential election, telling Fox News, “more than 65,000 people donated to The Intercept in 2021, just below the previous year’s total of 70,000.”
However, when pressed on Reed’s assertion that Greenwald’s departure did not dramatically impact its readership, Brandão told Fox News, “With regards to Reed’s comment to Axios (i.e. ‘we still have good numbers’), that was and remains accurate. We have no further comment.”
Greenwald left The Intercept in October 2020 after accusing its editors of “censoring” his piece that was critical of then-candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
The Intercept’s editor-in-chief Betsy Reed defended her organization, saying Greenwald’s decision to resign stemmed from “a fundamental disagreement over the role of editors in the production of journalism and the nature of censorship.”
Reed called the claim that The Intercept’s editors are all pulling for Biden “preposterous” and said a brief glance at her website would refute those claims. “Facts are facts and The Intercept record of fearless, rigorous, independent journalism speaks for itself,” she wrote.
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“The narrative he presents about his departure is teeming with distortions and inaccuracies – all of them designed to make him appear a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum,” Reed wrote. “While he accuses us of political bias, it was he who was attempting to recycle a political campaign’s – the Trump campaign’s – dubious claims and launder them as journalism.”
The harsh rebuttal to Greenwald’s resignation failed to mention anything specific about the controversy surrounding Hunter Biden’s overseas business associates that was first reported by the New York Post, instead chalking them up to “dubious claims” pushed by the Trump campaign.