Renowned columnist calls out USA Today reporters, mainstream media for targeting powerless private citizens
By Nolan Barton // Mar 31, 2021

Renowned columnist and book author Glenn Greenwald called out in an opinion piece the reporters of USA Today, and the mainstream media in general, for targeting powerless private citizens.


USA Today on Sunday, March 28, reported that the defendants accused in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot were trying to "crowdfund their legal fees online using popular payment processors and an expanding network of fundraising platforms."

In an article titled "Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online," USA Today reporters Brenna Smith, Jessica Guynn and Will Carless detailed how the Capitol rioters spring from one fundraising tool to another, using new sites, usernames and accounts.

Greenwald said the only purpose of the article was to pressure and shame tech companies to do more to block these criminal defendants from being able to raise funds for their legal fees and to tattle to tech companies by showing them what techniques those indigent defendants are using to raise money online.

The second-most circulated newspaper in the country behind the Wall Street Journal didn't merely report how the fundraising was being conducted. It also influenced a funding site and a payment app to terminate the accounts of two of those defendants – Joe Biggs and Dominic Pezzola. Both used the site Our Freedom Funding to raise funds for their legal fees.

"As of Wednesday afternoon, the Biggs fundraiser was listed as having received $52,201. Pezzola had received $730. Biggs' campaign disappeared from the site shortly after USA Today inquired about it," the article said. It also stated that: "A USA Today reporter was able to make a $1 donation to Pezzola's fundraiser using Venmo, a payment app owned by PayPal. After being alerted by USA Today, Venmo removed the account. "

Some journalists at major media outlets abuse their platform

Greenwald pointed out that nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories.

"This USA Today article is thus yet another example of journalists at major media outlets abusing their platforms to attack and expose anything other than the real power centers which compose the ruling class and govern the U.S.: the CIA, the FBI, security state agencies, Wall Street, Silicon Valley oligarchs," wrote Greenwald, who had been placed on numerous "Top 25" lists of columnists in the country and was named one of America's Top 10 Opinionists by Newsweek magazine in 2012.

He went on to cite examples of how the media "use their huge megaphones to humiliate and wreck the lives of ordinary private citizens who they judge to have bad political opinions." (Related: Trust in mainstream media plummets: Only 2% of young adults trust the media.)

"CNN confronted an old woman on the front lawn of her Florida home for the crime of having used her little Facebook page to promote a pro-Trump event they claimed was engineered by Russians. The same network threatened to expose the identity of another private citizen who created an anti-CNN meme unless he begged and promised not to do it again. HuffPost doxed the real-life name of an anonymous critic of Islam and triggered a boycott of her family's business," Greenwald wrote.

"Just last week, the Daily Beast decided to expose the identity of a private citizen at Spring Break in Miami and detail his marital and legal problems because a video of him went viral due to his being dressed as the Joker and uttering 'COVID truther' phrases. The same outlet congratulated itself for unearthing and exposing the real name of an African-American Facebook user whose crime was posting videos mocking Nancy Pelosi."

Greenwald noted that everyone has the right to a legal defense and to do what they can to ensure they have the best legal defense possible – especially when the full weight of the Department of Justice is crashing down on your head even for non-violent offenses, which is what many of these defendants are charged with.

The right to a vigorous defense was the "same principle that caused then-candidate Kamala Harris to solicit donations last summer that went to protesters charged with violent rioting," Greenwald added.

USA Today mum when Kamala Harris endorsed fund-raiser for Minnesota rioters

Interestingly, the USA Today article made no mention of the fundraising campaign by the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) endorsed by Harris in June last year to post bail for rioters arrested in Minnesota.

Harris, a vice-presidential candidate at that time, tweeted: "If you're able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota." (Related: Seven months ago, Kamala Harris bailed out criminal rioters; now she wants to punish Capitol "insurrectionists.")

A quick Google search also showed no article from USA Today, or at least in its online platform, that has reported about Harris's controversial tweet.

The Minnesota riots reportedly caused millions in property damage to more than 1,500 locations as rioters tore through dense stretches of Minneapolis, St. Paul and other metro communities in retaliation to the George Floyd killing.

Buildings along Lake Street in Minneapolis and a 3.5-mile stretch of University Avenue in St. Paul's Midway area experienced some of the heaviest damage.

Pharmacies, groceries, liquor stores, tobacco shops and cell phone stores were ransacked, losing thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise. Many were looted repeatedly over consecutive nights. Gas stations, restaurants and even parked cars were set on fire.

Hundreds of rioters were arrested, but the MFF was able to raise about $20 million to fund their defense.

Follow for more on how mainstream media is misrepresenting the political unrest violence happening across the country for its own agenda.

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