“You have to be adversarial,” Glenn Greenwald tells me yesterday in a George St basement food hall. “You don’t get into this business to be liked.”
For what little the detail may be worth, Greenwald, the journalist who earned a Pulitzer for the pivotal part he played in the Snowden revelations -- the latest of which fuelled a joint investigation into Pine Gap by the ABC and The Intercept, published and broadcast this past weekend -- is himself tremendously likeable. He is, unlike the Democratic National Committee, respectful to basement baristas, he is very fond of a joke and will even agree to pose for selfies with mildly starstruck Crikey reporters.
But, forget all this. Greenwald is chary of being uncritically liked, even by the vast, sometimes devout, readership he’s accumulated through his work at Salon, The Guardian and, now, The Intercept. “Any profession that does not question its pieties, that doesn’t interrogate itself cannot advance.” Any journalist, he says, that does not return, post by post, to the assumptions that underscore their work will not offer true analysis of a world that, it is largely agreed, in a state of transformation. Just more reasons to be liked by those who already find you adorable.