We’re Zaid Jilani, Lee Fang and Dan Froomkin. We cover politics for The Intercept, a digital news organization dedicated to producing fearless, adversarial journalism. We believe in bringing transparency and accountability to powerful governmental institutions.

Earlier this year, Lee Fang was the first reporter to ask Hillary Clinton to release the Goldman Sachs transcripts. Recently you may have seen our exclusive reporting on the DNC leaks and Hillary Clinton's candid remarks to a group of donors. On Tuesday night, we went beyond fact-checking to add some much-needed context to the VP debate.

We’re here to talk about this unpredictable election cycle and our coverage of powerful institutions. Ask us anything.

Proof: https://twitter.com/theintercept/status/783034394680422400

EDIT: Thanks for joining us! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask us on Twitter (@ZaidJilani, @lhfang, @Froomkin). If you want to reach out to any of us securely, our email addresses and PGP keys are on our staff website: https://theintercept.com/staff/

Comments: 174 • Responses: 8  • Date: 

Akaida12 karma

What do you think is the most under covered story of the election? Whether it's a particular issue, or just some dynamic that's not being talked about enough.

terran121242 karma

The fate of the human race on earth is imperiled thanks to global warming. Most political actors in America -- the Democratic and Republican and Libertarian presidential candidates for instance -- either refuse to acknowledge this or have not presented policy plans that would even begin to address the totality of the issue.

We've seen all sorts of topics covered breathlessly in the news, from beauty pageants to pnuemonia, but the fate of human beings themselves is getting next to no coverage.

svszo18 karma

How do you balance being investigative / adversarial in your every day work without being overwhelmed with despair when you think about the world / politics / international affairs?

terran121214 karma

Early in 2011 I met someone who was a Syrian journalist who fled to the U.S. to seek asylum because the government there came after him. He described, at length, extreme brutality and people risking their lives to tell the truth. In one town, they used to hide USB dongles with information on a donkey and send it to the next town just to spread information (they called it the "wifi donkey," I think). I asked him how people could keep doing it despite being massacred and he told me, "After six months, there is no fear."

These people risk their lives day in and day out to try to tell the truth about what is happening over there, so who am I to complain if I am sometimes threatened in terms of my reputation or career by powerful people? I do risk a bit doing this type of work but it could be much worse. I think everyone in our field who is not willing to be adversarial with powerful people should remember that.

JustaBunchofNopes7 karma

What exactly is Zaid's Twitter profile picture?

terran121222 karma

In 2014, Hong Kong saw widespread protests led by a pro-democracy youth movement. What really surprised me was how young the movement was, many of its leaders were teenagers. What you see in my picture is one of the symbols they used.

Notice the creature, who is Totoro of anime fame, is holding a yellow umbrella. Umbrellas became an iconic part of this protest -- with thousands of umbrellas marching down the streets demanding more meaningful voting rights in Hong Kong.

In the anime film that features Totoro, he is known for scenes where he is holding an umbrella.

This clever protester in Hong Kong combined their umbrella movement with this iconic anime character, thus creating really cool protest art.

thedanger887 karma

What kind of college education do you think is important to have, if any, to become a journalist?

terran121224 karma

Hi, this is Zaid Jilani. Maybe you'll find this odd but I never took a journalism class in college. A long time ago, I remember reading Matt Taibbi and he gave some advice to the extent of: if you want to go into journalism, study an issue area -- such as economics, or sociology, medicine -- develop an expertise then write about that. That being said I don't think it is any problem to take some journalism classes and learn the basics. Regardless of what you do in terms of education I'd say the best advice is write, write, write. Write for your student paper, your community newsletters, hometown paper, whatever you can. There are plenty of structural barriers in the journalism business but the best you can do as an individual is to get out there and get experience at any level, while also pursuing your education or day job.

Davy_Stone7 karma

Love The Intercept's work and you really created a great oasis of investigative journalism in a sea of corporate media.

But my question is what books helped influence your views on journalism, history, culture, and even life the most?

terran121218 karma

This is a really hard question, you'd make a good journalist!


John Steinbeck's novels -- East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath -- as well as his short book Travels With Charley to me offered a look into America addressing many of its shortcomings on a macro level as well as characters developing their own worldviews and ambitions on a smaller, familial level.

John Le Carre's stories (The Constant Gardener, Absolute Friends, etc.) are really strong morality plays set in international politics that had a big impact on me a little later in life.


I read a lot of alternative history and analysis. Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States was eye-opening. The autobiography of Malcolm X was the first chance I had to read a book written by an American Muslim. Chomsky's politics analysis was also a big part of the reason I approach the field with a skeptical eye.

bradventure936 karma

Last December I disrupted a Trump rally. I'll say that it was pretty scary having Trump and 5,000 of his supporters all angry at me. Do you ever get nervous asking hard questions to people in positions of power?

terran121210 karma

Speaking for myself, I certainly do get nervous. I think that most anyone would be scared in a position such as yours -- it takes a lot of bravery to speak against the crowd no matter what your politics is. But it's also a big part of what has created change historically.

Thebeast123456783 karma

I am a student coming out of high school, who has a huge interest in journalism. I will be attending college as of fall, 2017. What would you advise me, if I wanted a career in professional journalism?

terran12122 karma

Hi Beast, I opined on that a bit here.

hevvymetl1 karma

Does any of The Intercept team like heavy metal?

terran12126 karma

Not really, but as someone who writes about the Muslim American community I've gotta plug Taqwacore.