WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested after being kicked out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London...finally. For media who have spent the fast few years focused on the narrative, Assange was seen as the face that symbolized the threat posed to the United States by Russia, second only to Vladimir Putin. However, it wasn't always that way.
On December 7, the notorious radical mastermind of “WikiLeaks,” turned himself in on a sexual assault charge in London. But in the liberal media, the condemnations are few. There are no real enemies to the media elite’s left, especially if they can be (very loosely) identified with journalism. Julian Assange may be highly motivated to cripple American “imperialism,” but his relentless efforts to disrupt American foreign policy is a good thing when the media are manipulating the government’s reaction by choosing which leaks they will publish and promote.
Time magazine editor Richard Stengel, for example, told Charlie Rose on PBS that Assange is an “idealist” that “sees the U.S. since 1945 as being a source of harm throughout the planet,” but he’s not really opposed to him. He put Assange on the cover of Time with an American flag gagging his mouth and feigned a position of balance. In his “To Our Readers” letter, Stengel conceded Assange is out to “harm American national security,” but there is a public good unfolding, in that “the right of news organizations to publish those documents has historically been protected by the First Amendment.” Our founding fathers, Stengel huffed, understood that “letting the government rather than the press choose what to publish was a very bad idea in a democracy.” He tapped the reader on the chest: “I trust you agree.”
Americans the world over could die because of these intelligence betrayals. But hip, hip, hooray for the freedom of speech that got them killed?
This Christmas, give the gift of...secret diplomatic cables?
There were several surprisingly slanted articles in the Holiday edition of “T,” the New York Times style magazine published 15 Sundays a year and put together by writers and reporters from outside the paper. Most newsworthy (if almost as shallow as the other pieces) was British writer Misha Glenny’s profile of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (arrested in a sex inquiry in London Tuesday morning), presenting his damaging, illegal leaks of secret diplomatic cables as a Christmas gift, treating the controversial figure as just another one of the hip icons celebrated in T Magazine in a story with the galling title “The Gift of Information.”