Glenn Greenwald tore into the New York Times' Bill Keller on Monday over his comments about Greenwald's NSA stories.
In a New Yorker profile of the Guardian's recent scoops, Keller praised the British newspaper for breaking NSA revelations. The former executive editor of the Times also, however, criticized the Guardian for allowing Greenwald, an opinion columnist, to write the news stories.
"If one of our columnists had come up with a story of that magnitude — something that could not be contained in a column — we would have turned it over to the newsroom reporting staff," Keller told the New Yorker's Ken Auletta. He added that the Times would have noted that the columnist obtained the documents, but other staffers would have written the story.
Greenwald responded in the New Yorker piece, saying, "That to me is a really good reason why people like Edward Snowden don't want to go to the New York Times. This idea that if you ever express an opinion in your life about the news topic on which you're reporting, that somehow that makes you not a real journalist — that you wouldn't be able to write the story." The only thing that matters, he said, is "if your reporting is reliable."
On Monday, he fired back again, tweeting:
Bill Keller is the strangest person to use as a journalism expert given that he's responsible for one of the worst journalistic disgraces of the last decade at least: suppressing the Risen/Lichtblau NSA story for a full 15 months - through Bush's reelection - because the Bush White House told him to conceal it, and **then finally publishing it only because Risen was about to break the story in his book and the NYT did not want to get scooped by their own reporter on a story they were suppressing***.
If you have *that in your past, it's probably best not to sit in judgment on how best to do journalism.
Greenwald has criticized Keller in the past, notably for the Times' approach to WikiLeaks and stance on the term "torture."
The Guardian is currently partnering with the Times for some of its NSA reporting, a decision that came after it was subject to intense pressure from British authorities over the Snowden leaks.