I have spent most of my adult life reporting from war and conflict zones around the world and on the front lines of social justice struggles in the United States. As a young journalist for Democracy Now! in the 1990s, I reported from Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, and Nigeria. After 9/11, I knew the Bush administration was going to target Iraq, and I began reporting regularly from Baghdad. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I came across Blackwater mercenaries in New Orleans, prompting a decadelong investigation into the role private contractors play in U.S. wars and disaster profiteering. Under the Obama administration, I investigated the drone program in Yemen and Somalia, the role of U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan, and the embrace of some of the most secretive and lethal forces in the CIA and military. That reporting became a film and book, “Dirty Wars.”
I never went to journalism school; instead, I learned reporting as a trade. I have always believed that journalism should be accessible to all and real reporting requires getting dirt under your fingernails. It was in that spirit that I embarked on a partnership that led to the creation of The Intercept.
I will never forget sitting with Glenn Greenwald on his porch in Rio de Janeiro with a dozen dogs barking, monkeys jumping through trees, and the two of us reading top-secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. It was on that porch that we began discussing what would become The Intercept. Glenn, Laura Poitras, and I had been talking for some time about collaborating, and with multiple U.S. wars raging and the Snowden revelations raising public awareness about the dangers of government surveillance, we decided to make a run at creating our own news organization.
We were blessed to have a partner in Pierre Omidyar who believed in our mission and committed to making it real. Without his generous financial support, none of this would have happened. We also knew that as we built and grew, we would need to cultivate other funding sources. The Intercept is now at an exciting moment in its short history. We are breaking major stories every week on a range of issues and expanding our areas of coverage. But to sustain this work and deepen our investigative journalism, we are asking for the support of our readers.
I believe the notion of “objectivity” as it has been defined in U.S. journalism is bullshit; it is often used as a euphemism for bias toward the views of the powerful. I believe that great journalism boils down to a few key principles:
If you agree with these principles and believe in the core mission of The Intercept, we want to welcome you to become a sustainer of our journalism. Your support will enable us to bring on more journalists, conduct aggressive investigations of both Democrats and Republicans, expose U.S. wars, and be a force for social change. The very principle of a free press is under assault from the most powerful office in the country. The president of the United States has suggested journalists should be imprisoned for reporting on his administration. Reporters are being killed across the world in record numbers. The stakes are very high in the U.S. and around the globe. The hard-hitting, aggressive, adversarial, independent journalism we do at The Intercept could not be more urgently necessary than it is now. And we need you to keep it going and to grow.
We have been so moved and humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve received since we started our membership campaign. More than 1,000 people signed up to support our work on the first day, and we encourage you to join them.