A lot of people have been calling Glenn Greenwald’s decision to leave The Intercept, which he helped found, brave and heroic. Indeed, it takes some guts to quit a job for whatever principled reasons. But there’s a reason why Greenwald and, before him, Andrew Sullivan and Bari Weiss, were able to take this kind of stand against what they saw as institutional oppression from their respective news outlets. It’s very important to note that before they quit–to much fanfare–they were already household names (or household names at least for anyone glued to the daily Twitter dramas).
Not everyone has the ability to quit a job, knowing everything will be all right. The people who are able to do this are already relatively high-profile, whose names draw in their own audiences, and they are able to do this even without the help of big name institutions and big name backing. “Going independent,” for these people, makes far more sense than being subject to the whims of an editor. In some ways, it’s kind of like, “Wow, you guys are so secure in your own ability to get people reading your work that you don’t need to think about a steady paycheck and benefits! And maybe you can even earn more money this way!”
Believe me: there are many people who have wanted to take a stand against things that have happened in their newsrooms, in the organizations they worked for, at the companies that hired them, but they just can’t because too much is on the line financially. But day by day, they try to act as the ~resistance~ any way they can, to try to change things on the margin, and that, too, is heroic.