First Look Media's initial venture under the editorship of Gleen Greenwald started out focusing primarily on the material available from the revelations of Edward Snowden. They are now expanding the focus to a critique of the mainstream US media and its coverage of international affairs. These developments begin to offer us some perspective on what role this new media venture is going to play and on the question of how much independence Greenwald as the editor is going to have from the control of Pierre Omidyar, the publisher. Let's take a look.
The vast bulk of the commentary issuing from American commentators about the Russian military action in Ukraine involves condemning exactly that which they routinely advocate and which the U.S. itself routinely does. So suffocating is the resulting stench that those who played leading roles in selling the public the attack on Iraq and who are still unrepentant about it, such as David “Axis of Evil/The Right Man” Frum, have actually become the leading media voices condemning Russia on the ground that it is wrong to invade sovereign countries; Frum thus has no trouble saying things like this with an apparently straight face: “If Russia acts the outlaw nation, can it be expected to be treated as anything but an outlaw?”
American media elites awash in an orgy of feel-good condemnation in particular love to mock Russian media, especially the government-funded English-language outlet RT, as being a source of shameless pro-Putin propaganda, where free expression is strictly barred (in contrast to the Free American Media). That that network has a strong pro-Russian bias is unquestionably true. But one of its leading hosts, Abby Martin, remarkably demonstrated last night what “journalistic independence” means by ending her Breaking the Set program with a clear and unapologetic denunciation of the Russian action in Ukraine:An embedded video provides Martin's commentary.
I, along with a bunch of other people, wrote some reflections on how the shadow of the invasion of Iraq hangs over the policy debate about Ukraine. Greenwald here is focusing more specifically on the history of US media coverage of Iraq. He details the firing of the few TV commentators who dared to criticize the US invasion and compares it to Martin's outspoken comments. Now of course it is possible that Martin could suffer a similar fate at the hands of the Russian government, but the fact that she wasn't cut off the air does contradict the usual US assertions that all media in Russia are completely under Putin's iron fist.
This is of course vintage Greenwald in his willingness to be a severe critic of US policy. This comes a few days after the controversy arising from the claims on Pando that Omidyar's funding of western oriented NGO activities in Ukraine would put the muzzle on First Look Media. From this article it doesn't look like Greenwald is wearing a muzzle.