Hanging out with Jacob?
Well, we’ve come full circle. Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill are teaming up with eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to start their own news media outlet.
Cards on the table: Pierre Omidyar is a technology billionaire who runs in the same circles as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his chess partner Warren Buffet. Omidyar’s non-profits fund projects like “Ushahidi”, from Pierre’s bio at achievement.org (no laughing!):
Among other Omidyar family philanthropies, the Omidyar Network supports the creators of the emergency communication technology Ushahidi (Swahili for “testimony”), an application which allows users to create maps from data submitted by cell phone users… Crowdmap, a free user-friendly web-based version of the application is now available online, thanks to the support of the Omidyar Network.
“Ushadhidi” reminds me of the program Morgan Freeman’s character threatened to quit Wayne Enterprises over in The Dark Knight.
Pierre, God says it’s unethical.
The information above ought to be enough to blow this new media venture’s credibility out of the water. But it gets better.
Pierre recently teamed up with Arianna Huffington to make HuffPost Hawaii, check out their totally chummy pics here. I was in D.C. when the HuffPo mother-ship was launched: Craig’s List was heavy with Arianna’s ads searching for journalists to staff her outfit. This gave rise to to innumerable “gently used” journalism jokes, because well, there were a lot of out-of-work journalists in town and why would Huffington want to shake up the fourth estate?
So thanks to Pierre, HuffPo’s disappointing journalism now has a Pacific outlet. A lot of funky stuff seems to go down in Hawaii. Sort of like D.C.’s home away from home.
Yes, I believe that whatever Omidyar’s media venture is, it’s not a spontaneous gift to truth in journalism. Why have somebody like Pierre Omidyar be the face of the money?
Well, let’s see. He’s ethnically Iranian, but his parents enjoyed a privileged life in Paris. Pierre was born in 1967 and the family moved to Potomac when he was a boy– gee, that would be sometime around the Iranian Revolution. Potomac is a tony D.C. suburb, favored by people who get rich off the federal government. Pierre went to good schools nearby and started working for Apple Computer.
Then, magically, he founded eBay and could quit his day job. There were a few strange detours along the way, as documented by Jennifer Viegas in Pierre Omidyar: The Founder of Ebay:
The http://www.ebay.com site also linked to a page on the Ebola virus. Called Ebola Information, the page had all sorts of links and information pertaining to the deadly disease. It is unclear why Omidyar created the page. Regardless, there is an apparent similarity between the words “Ebola” and “eBay”.
Er, yeah Jennifer. Or maybe it has something to do with his eventual ‘charitable’ interest in AFRICOMAfrica.
And then there’s the little PayPal thing:
In 2002, eBay acquired the online payment processing firm PayPal, which it uses to process most of its online transactions, compelling many online sellers to employ the service.
In 2011 Paypal refused to handle donations to Wikileaks. Why? PayPal froze Wikileaks’ assets after it released stolen US diplomatic cables.
Step back a minute here, Laura. I would have thought that at least you were smarter than this. Better find something Pierre said BACK THEN to distance himself from the Paypal decision, PRONTO.
Does it make any sense for me to go on, or have I made my point about Greenwald’s/Poitras’/Scahill’s latest move?
Just one more. Jeremy Scahill, famous from Democracy Now!, was outside Slobodan Milosevic’s house the night the Serbian leader was arrested. Wow! Any journalist with prescience like that must be… smart and hard working!
Hear the gospel, Whistle-blowers: now you can find Laura at her own media venue! Come one come all! One stop shopping! (Pun intended.)
The Russians just have to be in here somewhere… but, in the meantime, my sides hurt from laughing! It makes me want to shout…
Photo thanks to Jim Griffith. My opinions are mine alone.