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Greenwald blasts the Guardian for posting ‘false claim’ about his relationship with Substack platform

“Today is a day ending in ‘y,’ which means that @TheGuardian published a false claim that could have been checked in about 5 seconds and that multiple outlets have already corrected,” Greenwald tweeted on Thursday in response to a Guardian article titled, ‘Substack: the future of news – or a media pyramid scheme?’

The “false claim” was that Greenwald was one of the writers to be offered an advance payment by Substack – a platform that allows content creators to release news letters to readers on a subscription basis. 

Under the Substack Pro program, the company has offered up to $250,000 advance payments to lure writers to go the independent route with their platform, along with other incentives. Writers are reportedly given a lower percentage (15%) of subscription fees if they accept the one-time advance payment, with that percentage jumping to the standard 90% after the first year.

The system is the latest element of Substack to be controversial, with critics claiming the massive payouts have created a kind of ‘pyramid scheme’ where some are being directly paid by Substack while others struggle to monetize the subscription model.

Critics have also blasted Substack for its independent publishing model, pointing to more right-leaning writers on the service as supposedly problematic. 

The Guardian claimed Greenwald and reporter Jesse Singal are among the “controversial writers” signed to the Substack Pro system. They also claimed other writers objected to Greenwald and Singal being “signed” with the platform.

The problem is Greenwald and Singal have not signed any such agreements. 

After complaints about the ‘mistake’, the Guardian issued a correction about Singal, but initially failed to say anything about Greenwald.

“God, The @guardian is so sloppy that even when they correct an article, they still can’t get it right,” Greenwald tweeted, asking the paper to correct their mistake and again confirming he has signed no such detail. 

Continuing his thread, Greenwald further slammed the paper pointing to a claim in the article that writer Matthew Ygelsias had been one of the writers to complain about Greenwald, despite no agreement ever being in place. Singal called that claim “100% made up.” Yglesias did not directly respond on his own Twitter account. 

“This is hilarious but important: each time the Guardian ‘corrects’ its article attacking Substack, it somehow manages to make it even *more* inaccurate by butchering both the editing and the correction,” Greenwald wrote. 

A correction was eventually issued about Greenwald, but the journalist pointed to the multiple mistakes as proof that “corporate news articles” are fact-checked less than the ones released independently through Substack.

The Guardian’s article has been dragged on social media with critics claiming the mistakes were to help create a negative narrative about an independent platform.

Greenwald is a former employee of the Guardian where he published his groundbreaking work on Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, but he now works independently and has heavily criticized the paper and its accuracy since then.

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