Ken Silverstein, former Harper’s editor and journalist for The Intercept, had some harsh words for The Intercept upon his departure from the organization, reported Talking Points Memo.
“Wow, it is amazing how good it feels not to work for The Intercept,” said Silverstein.
First Look Media is a media company that was launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and The Intercept is the “investigative arm” whereas Racket, which never launched, was to focus on political satire. However, corporatism and mismanagement led to Racket’s fall before it even got off of the ground. Silverstein said First Look’s supposed poor management was his reason for leaving The Intercept, and he also blames it for the Racket’s failure.
“[W]hen the company pulled the plug some months back, it fired the remaining staff and told them to clear out of the office immediately, that very day, to take their things and get out and FL would generously give them one month severance,” said Silverstein. “I am pretty sure the Koch Brothers treat fired workers with greater respect.”
“The fact that that it hired so many talented people to create Racket and spent millions of dollars on it and in the end fired everyone and Racket never published a single story is probably the greatest squandering of money and example of criminal ineptitude in the history of modern journalism,” Silverstein wrote on Facebook. “Again, what a pathetic joke.”
Silverstein was one of the employees at Racket when it fell apart, and he then later went to The Intercept. He took issue with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who won notoriety for covering the Edward Snowden leaks. Silverstein said Greenwald’s “work is excellent,” but he “put up with bullshit from management” and “tolerat[ed] the terrible actions of corporate management.”
TPM noted that Greenwald helped pen an article with former Intercept editor-in-chief John Cook about Racket’s failure. According to the article, Racket’s failure was a “collision between the First Look executives, who by and large come from a highly structured Silicon Valley corporate environment, and the fiercely independent journalists who view corporate cultures and management-speak with disdain.”
There have been several “high-profile” departures from First Look in the past. Within the last six months, journalists Matt Taibbi and John Cook left First Look citing issues with The Intercept’s “direction.”