The Grayzone

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The Grayzone is an investigative journalistic online media outlet focused on U.S. foreign policy founded in 2016 by former AlterNet writer, Max Blumenthal.

As of February 2020, the website described its most popular topics as "Venezuela Coup Attempt", "The Syria Deception," "Russia and the New Cold War," "Israel-Palestine," "US-Saudi War on Yemen," "Information Wars," "Regime Change in Nicaragua," and "The New McCarthyism".[1]

News and Controversies

Reporting on Iowa Caucus App Failure and Alabama Disinformation Campaign

On "Pushback", Maté interviewed Blumenthal after an app used during the Iowa caucuses failed to accurately and promptly tabulate the results of the contest. Blumenthal claimed, "there seems to be some kind of campaign to deny Sanders an opening victory that would generate momentum heading into New Hampshire, Nevada, California..."[2]

In the interview, Blumenthal noted that tech billionaire and LinkedIn founder Reed Hoffman had funded Acronym, the group which produced the failed app. He also noted that Acronym's CEO, Tara McGowan, worked on former President Obama's campaigns and is married to a senior official in Buttigieg's campaign.[2]

Blumenthal also pointed out the connection between Acronym donor Reed Hoffman and a misinformation campaign called "Project Birmingham", which aimed to sabotage Republican Roy Moore during the 2017 Alabama senate special election. After receiving $100,000 from Hoffman, American Engagement Technologies paid a Texas-based tech firm called New Knowledge to use disinformation tactics to undermine Moore, including "fake evidence that automated Russian accounts, called bots, were supporting Moore in the race."[3] As described in a Blumenthal piece, "Project Birmingham went to absurd lengths to drive voters away from Moore. Its architects deployed a phony Facebook page encouraging Alabamians to vote for an obscure write-in Republican candidate, arranged interviews for the candidate in major newspapers, and even sought to arrange SuperPAC funding for his dark horse campaign."[4]

Maté linked Blumenthal's comments to Russiagate, saying:

"The extent of the Russiagate racket is not fully appreciated. We know that it benefited failed Democratic elites who lost to Trump in 2016 and needed an excuse for their loss and needed an excuse for not becoming a real opposition party. we also know that it converged with the interests of the national security state officials who didn't see Trump as a suitable steward of the U.S. empire and wanted to undermine his calls for better relations with Russia, however sincere that call actually was. But we also know that it's been literally used as a cottage industry, and so the fearmongering about Russian interference and Russian disinformation has led to all the same people who lost to Trump in 2016, Obama and Clinton campaign veterans, profiting off of that and creating all these firms that then leveraged the panic about Russian interference to create apps like Shadow did, that ultimately undermine democracy in far more profound ways than anything they accuse Russia of."[2]

Reporting on Juan Guaidó and Venezuelan Regime Change Efforts

The platform has repeatedly characterized opposition leader Juan Guaidó's contestation of the Venezuelan presidency as a "coup attempt" and has claimed he "plans to implement the neoliberal capitalist shock therapy that Washington has imposed on the region for decades."[5] It has described Guaidó as "the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories."[6]

Grayzone articles have also described the opposition leader's history, including his participation in student protests backed by Venezuelan opposition party Popular Will and how "he had spent years quietly demonstrated his worthiness in Washington’s halls of power."[6] They have also pointed out how Guaidó has run in the same circles as figures such as "Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists" and "a libertarian political organizer named Yon Goicoechea", a winner of Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty."[6]

Discussing the backing of various Venezuelan opposition efforts, the publication has noted how in 2010 "the Venezuelan opposition was receiving a staggering $40-50 million a year from US government organizations like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy"[6] and over $40 million in USAID money funded Juan Guaidó's staff directly in 2019.[7]

The Grayzone has also discussed the connection between opposition protestors and groups historically involved in regime change efforts, such as the Center for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS) and Stratfor, which it described as "an intelligence firm known as the 'shadow CIA'".[6]

Venezuelan Embassy Protests and Corporate Forces Lobbying for Regime Change

A June 2019 piece discussed protests surrounding the Venezuelan embassy in the U.S. as well as the ties between Washington D.C. regime change interests and pro-Guaidó leadership. As it described, “The leadership of the opposition in D.C. presents itself as a peaceful, nonviolent group of activists seeking for a democratic outcome in their home country, yet [Francisco Marquez, a member of Popular Will and among Guaidó's leadership team] was among the attendees at an off-the-record meeting at the D.C. think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) dedicated to discussing a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela.”[8]

As the article asserts, “Support for a U.S. invasion permeates virtually every corner of the pro-Guaidó opposition movement: from the owner of the website '' saying 'with no U.S. Marine Corps, there is no paradise; to the fact that the movement’s most celebrated American political figures are hawkish Republicans to Guaidó himself asking for assistance from the head of U.S. Southern Command, the evidence points overwhelmingly towards a push for invasion in Venezuela."[8]

The article understood pro-Guaidó forces to be an attempt to give “a populist face to what are actually the interests of multinational corporations” and pointed to an interview with former Trump security advisor John Bolton, where he mentioned that Venezuelan regime change would present a good opportunity for American businesses to gain access to Venezuelan oil.[8]

Central and South American Presidential Interviews

In 2018, Blumenthal interviewed Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega[9] and in 2019, he interviewed Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.[10]

In the 2019 interview, Maduro accused Univision journalist Jorge Ramos of being a U.S. intelligence agent, repeatedly compared the Trump Administration to the Klu Klux Klan and argued that Elliott Abrams and John Bolton planned to use sanctions to leave the Venezuelan people without food.[10]

When asked about an August 2018 drone explosion[11] that occurred near him as he gave a public speech, Maduro accused then-U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton of collaborating with then-Columbian president Juan Manuel Santos in an attempt to assassinate him.[10]

Blumenthal concluded the interview in part by saying he had seen no evidence to support Maduro's accusation that Jorge Ramos was an intelligence agent but asserted, "there are many other U.S. journalists who are acting as stenographers for our national security state and what they have done is demonized you more than almost any figure I can remember since Saddam Hussein. They've called you a dictator, they've said that you have Hizballah in your country, they've said that you have thousands of Cuban operatives everywhere... they've basically accused you of everything short of eating the hearts of children. And I will be attacked for having this interview with you and not forcing you to have an enhanced interrogation."[10]


As of February 2020, the website's most prominent contributors were:[12]

Maté hosts a show sponsored by the publication called Pushback with Aaron Maté[13] and Parampil hosts a show called Red Lines with Anya Parampil.[14]


The media website is funded by its readers through direct donations and by its Patreon members,[15] who support The Grayzone with monthly payments of $10, $25, or $50. As of February 2020, the website had 383 Patrons, which means it receives a monthly amount of between $3,830 and $19,150 from this funding source.[15]

Contact and Social Media

Website: The Grayzone
Web contact form: Contact
Facebook: @thegrayzone
Instagram: @thegrayzonenews
Twitter: @TheGrayzoneNews
YouTube: The Grayzone

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch

External Resources


  1. The Grayzone, The Grayzone, media website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Aaron Maté and Max Blumenthal, "Iowa debacle fueled by anti-Bernie billionaires, Russiagate hucksters, failed DNC elites", The Grayzone YouTube channel, February 7, 2020, accessed February 27, 2020.
  3. Craig Timberg and Tony Romm, "Disinformation campaign targeting Roy Moore’s Senate bid may have violated law, Alabama attorney general says", Washington Post, December 27, 2018, accessed February 27, 2020.
  4. Max Blumenthal, "Acronym group that sabotaged Iowa caucus birthed by billionaire who funded Alabama disinformation campaign", Grayzone, February 6, 2020, accessed February 27, 2020.
  5. Ben Norton, "WSJ Confirms: Trump-Appointed Venezuela Coup Leader Plans Neoliberal Capitalist Shock Therapy", Gryazone, February 3, 2019, accessed March 24, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, "The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US regime change laboratory created Venezuela’s coup leader", Grayzone, January 29, 2019, accessed March 24, 2020.
  7. Leonardo Flores, "USAID funds salaries of Venezuelan coup leaders to lobby US politicians for regime change", Grayzone, October 24, 2020, accessed March 24, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Thomas Hedges, "How corporate forces are lobbying for a coup in Venezuela", Grayzone, June 10, 2019, accessed March 27, 2020.
  9. The Grayzone, "Max Blumenthal interviews Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega", The Grayzone YouTube channel, July 30, 2018, accessed February 22, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 The Grayzone, "'John Bolton tried to assassinate me': Interview with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro", The Grayzone YouTube channel, August 5, 2019, accessed February 22, 2020.
  11. Joe Parkin Daniels, "Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro survives apparent assassination attempt", Guardian, August 4, 2018, accessed February 22, 2020.
  12. The Grayzone, Contributors, media website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  13. The Grayzone, Pushback with Aaron Maté, media website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  14. The Grayzone, Red Lines with Anya Parampil, media website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Patreon, The Grayzone, content creation funding website, accessed February 22, 2020.