In recent years it’s been necessary to demand that various professions not protect their “bad” members. We want doctors to reject bad doctors. We want clergy to reject bad clergy. And we want cops the reject bad cops. Otherwise, people get hurt. And it’s the same for journalists. We need journalists to reject bad journalists.
First, we need the broader body of journalists to acknowledge that Fox “news” employees may have some characteristics in common with journalists, but the network is in reality a propaganda outlet pushing a destructive and divisive political agenda. For thirty-plus years they have sowed the seeds of hatred, bigotry, misogyny and fear among their viewers. For thirty-plus years they have worked to demonize science and learning and objective debate–not to mention liberals, feminists, Muslims and non-whites. No wonder Trump and his core supporters get their marching orders from Fox. And no wonder so many of them are neck-deep in grotesque and destructive conspiracy theories, like Hillary Clinton runs a pedophile ring! Or Democrats are evil Communists and want to destroy America! No other person has had such a negative impact on our culture, politics and democracy than Rupert Murdoch. So when Trump’s cult shrugs off another one of his vile smears or epic scandals or daily lies or violations of the Constitution, real journalists need to acknowledge that this is the fruit of Rupert Murdoch’s hate machine.
Second, we need to distinguish journalism from crime. It’s easy to forget that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers in the UK were busted for hacking the phones of many, many celebrities–as well as regular citizens–to publish humiliating tabloid stories. It was a major scandal that proved Murdoch’s empire rested far more on sleaze than on anything resembling responsible journalism. Which brings us to WikiLeaks, which may have been something resembling journalism way back when. But WikiLeaks didn’t stay that way. Here’s a great Twitter thread I’ve pasted together from writer Greg Olear (@gregolear) that puts Assange in perspective:
Whatever legitimate journalism Assange’s Wikileaks may’ve done previously, by 2016, he was an asset of Russian intelligence. The coordinated released of stolen Podesta emails an hour after the Access Hollywood tape dropped was not journalism; it was an act of cyber warfare. In general, the indiscriminate dumping of sensitive documents stolen by hackers is also not journalism. This is something the Bolsheviks did with Romanov papers after the Revolution, BTW. It was done to sow chaos. Assange was intimately connected with Edward Snowden’s defection to Russia. He helped a traitorous spy escape, and he helped implement a propaganda campaign to present that spy as a First Amendment hero. Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy because he was wanted in Sweden for sexual assault. A guiltless man might demand his day in court, so that he would be exonerated. Assange fled the country & hid out in an embassy basement. You know, like an innocent man would. Remember some years ago, when we on the left falsely believed Assange was the cat’s meow, and Obama did not? Yeah, Obama had intel we didn’t have. He knew what Assange really was: an opportunistic fame whore & chaos agent with unseemly ties to the FSB. Recent visitors to Assange include: Nigel Farage, Roger Stone, and Sean Hannity. Hannity has a fishy relationship with Assange:
Also, Assange reached out to Hannity, or tried to, with anti-Dem info:
Hannity is one of three clients of Michael Cohen, who reportedly met for over 40 hours w/the Mueller team, and was also supposedly in front of the Grand Jury this past week. Wikileaks DM’d with Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.
Wikileaks is “Organization 1” in the Mueller indictment against the 12 Russian hackers. So we know Assange is on his radar.
And now Assange, we find out, is under sealed indictment. Assange, who coordinated w/Junior & Stone and possibly Hannity during the campaign.
In short: no matter how many anarchists sing his praises, or how many ex-Baywatch babes he boinks, Assange is what Mike Pompeo said he was: head of a non-state hostile intelligence service aligned with Putin’s Russia.
He belongs in US prison.
That’s where he’s going.
Assange is wanted by the United States government not for publishing something they objected to, nor for refusing to give up his sources. Assange is wanted for helping to hack a government computer, sort of like the Murdoch empire broke British law by hacking phones. It’s not what real journalists do. And for this reason, it has little to do with the first amendment, nor does it have grave implications for American journalists as long as they don’t want to become criminal hackers. The First Amendment is sacred, but I’ve yet to hear or read anything that concerns me about the charge against Assange, who seems to have become a criminal tool of Russia.