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Glenn Greenwald lauds bravery of RT’s Abby Martin, then NY Times outs her as 9/11 Truther

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Let’s follow the bouncing ball on this one as it takes some unpredictable rebounds.

On Friday, PandoDaily’s Mark Ames revealed that Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire funding Glenn Greenwald’s new journalistic effort, First Look, had helped fund efforts to bolster the opposition groups in Ukraine responsible for ousting President Viktor Yanukovych. Ames wondered about Greenwald and documentarian Laura Poitras, two people with access to the full cache of Snowden documents, working for a billionaire who was using his money to affect global politics.

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On Saturday, Greenwald fired back, ridiculing Ames for suggesting that Greenwald wouldn’t act completely independently as a journalist, regardless of who was writing his paychecks. In fact, he said, he didn’t even particularly care about Omidyar’s political activities: “Prior to creating The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, I did not research Omidyar’s political views or donations.”

On Monday, PandoDaily’s Paul Carr pointed out that in 2007, Greenwald had a very different attitude about the political ambitions of media owners when he lambasted The Politico because its president and CEO was a longtime Reaganite. Wrote Greenwald then: “There is nothing wrong per se with hard-core political operatives running a news organization. Long-time Republican strategist Roger Ailes oversees Fox News, of course. But it seems rather self-evident that a news organization run by someone with such clear-cut political biases ought to have a hard time holding itself out as some sort of politically unbiased source of news.” (Emphasis ours.)

Then, Tuesday morning, Greenwald seemed to be addressing this squabble when he celebrated RT anchor Abby Martin for her views on Putin’s invasion of Crimea.

For days, RT (formerly Russia Today), had been broadcasting Putin-friendly reports that bordered on outright propaganda. But then on Monday night, Abby Martin, who is based in Washington, went against the prevailing view at RT and announced, “Just because I work here, for RT, doesn’t mean I don’t have editorial independence and I can’t stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations’ affairs. What Russia did is wrong.”

Greenwald’s celebration of Martin sounded remarkably like his heated defense of his own independence just a few days earlier: “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.”

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And now, another strange bounce of this caroming story. The New York Times today, on its blog The Lede, where updates to the Ukraine situation tend to come in small, incremental bites, let loose with a lengthy takedown of Abby Martin, outing her as a longtime 9/11 “Truther.”

“Before she rose to prominence on television, she was an active member of what is known as the 9/11 Truth movement, whose members hold that the official history of the terrorist attacks is a cover for a concealed government conspiracy,” writes Times reporter Robert Mackey.

The piece linked to a 2008 YouTube video of Martin talking about the 9/11 attacks being “an inside job” as she marched in a Santa Monica protest.

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For her part, Martin has denied reports that RT is sending her to Crimea for on-location reporting (and for “re-education,” some have joked). And she has blasted back at Mackey on Twitter…

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On Twitter Mackey defended the Times piece by saying it gives ‘context’ to Martin’s views about Crimea. The only context we can see is that being a Truther destroys her credibility. And now, we can’t help wondering what Greenwald will say to that (and we have a feeling we won’t have to wait long to find out).

Watch the 2008 video of Abby Martin describing her 9/11 views at a Santa Monica protest…

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2020 Election

Masks take center stage in presidential race as Biden slams Trump for ‘costing people’s lives’

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In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden laid into President Donald Trump for his comments belittling his decision to wear a mask at the Memorial Day events at the beginning of the week.

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Trump has frequently refused to don a mask while speaking to the media, even when he is in public places where masks are required.

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“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Biden to @DanaBashCNN about Trump belittling his wearing of a mask. “This macho stuff ... It’s costing people’s lives.”

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The president emphasized that he does have the power — but did not elaborate on how specifically he would do so, and added that he doesn't think he will have to.

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Trump continues pushing conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough — immediately after reporter tells him about widower begging him to stop

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At Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Donald Trump was asked by reporters if he was aware of the letter from the widower of deceased congressional aide Lori Klausutis, begging the president to stop promoting conspiracy theories that she had been murdered by former representative and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

The president replied, "Yeah I have." However, almost immediately after, he used the moment to continue pushing the conspiracy theory, adding, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

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