Journalists, who have largely transformed into partisan activists over the years, are selective in what they consider to be an attack on press freedom. Nothing demonstrates this better than the apathy displayed toward Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after his arrest.
Spying on and prosecuting reporters? That’s fine because former President Barack Obama did it. Tweeting memes about the Counterfeit News Network and Jim “Dear Diary” Acosta? President Donald Trump threatens the very foundation of the Fourth Estate by poking fun at newsrooms. Detaining an editor-in-chief because he exposed the iniquities of government to the American people? That’s okay; he might have cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election, so he is just getting his comeuppance.
The journalism profession is one of the least respected and trusted occupations in the U.S. today. Slanted news stories, opinion masked as fact, and blatant activism are all elements of modern-day journalism; forget “good night and good luck” from Edward R. Murrow, or “the most trusted man in America” Walter Cronkite.
Hypocrisy was on display in the reportage and jubilation from mainstream and alternative journalists regarding the arrest of Julian Assange. Bloggers, pundits, and the Twitterverse were in a celebratory mood as they penned and tweeted their op-eds. Unfortunately, as they were gleefully writing their pieces pertaining to Assange’s detainment, admiring Clinton’s photo above their monitors, they skipped the fact-checking process and went straight to publishing.
In fact, a source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that he had a friend whose mistress heard a low-talking colleague say in a newsroom, “Clinton, this one’s for you.”
So, what went wrong with the coverage?
The world got a peek into the case against Julian Assange. Used by the British police to nab their man, the document unsealed by the U.S. Department of Justice listed the general allegations and the extradition request from the federal government. The media went to town, but the industry failed to carefully peruse the seven-page indictment.
There are two important facts that have either been omitted in an environment of hyperbole or misreported. The first thing to point out is that the DOJ’s indictment does not include any new evidence or facts. Indeed, everything inside has been public for years. The second issue is that Assange allegedly hacked the Department of Defense’s computers, but the indictment never mentions “hack.” It charges, however, that Assange attempted to help Bradley Manning log into the DOD’s computers with a different username to protect his anonymity while downloading documents – a standard journalistic practice of trying to allow a source to keep his or her anonymity.
It is true that a DOJ press release had this headline: “WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy.” As we have learned from the fake news media over the last two-plus years, we should never mindlessly accept the premise of an article title. Perhaps the press fell for their own tactic.
For instance, Newsweek recently claimed: “Donald Trump Jr. praises Candace Owens for her defense of Hitler comments.” A glance at this headline makes the reader think Owens was defending Adolf Hitler and Trump Jr. was rejoicing her defense because, you know, they’re both Nazi white supremacists.
Glenn Greenwald succinctly summarized the Assange case in his latest analysis:
“That’s why the indictment poses such a grave threat to press freedom. It characterizes as a felony many actions that journalists are not just permitted but required to take in order to conduct sensitive reporting in the digital age.”
Grab the Popcorn
If at any time over the last two years you have tortured yourself by opening The New York Times, turning on the Counterfeit News Network, or skimming through Twitter, then you will have seen the pearl-clutching and the handwringing from members of the media about press freedoms being under attack. Because President Trump has lampooned Jim Acosta, tweeted hilarious memes, and criticized newsrooms for publishing inaccurate stories, journalists believe they are one executive order away from being silenced and sent to a gulag. Trump has certainly talked tough about the opposition, but he hasn’t taken any action that threatens or undermines the press.
Are journalists really worried about being censored? Or, are they more concerned about trying to oust the incumbent administration? Considering how much satisfaction they took in Assange’s arrest, it is safe to say they care very little about press freedom – perhaps they’d prefer a Pravda.
Here are just some examples of their indignation of Assange and their indifference to potentially suffering the same fate one day:
The Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg: “Assange is a piece of sh** which is exactly why this is the perfect case for them to set a very dangerous precedent with.”
CNN’s Susan Hennessy: “Well, that was an interesting discussion on press freedom. But the Assange charges are all good, old-fashioned Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges. Not much in here that should give journalists anxiety.”
MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance: “Julian Assange: I Told You So.”
CNN’s Frida Ghitis: “Julian Assange is an activist, not a journalist.”
Former journalist Louise Mensch: “There’s something glorious about Russian state TV Ruptly being forced to cover Julian Assange being dragged, visibly resisting arrest, from the Ecuadorean Embassy.”
Of course, the other story in the Assange saga was the RT subsidiary beating the rest of the media to the punch with exclusive footage. The insinuations were clear – Russia, Assange, WikiLeaks; get it? – but nobody on the left bat an eye when CNN was on the scene during the arrest of Roger Stone. Double standards, anyone?
Ostensibly, the best take came from Tucker Carlson:
“Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president. There was a time, not so long ago, when reporters didn’t applaud the arrest of others.
The guardians of speech are now its enemies.”
Is it surprising that Hillary Clinton applauded the arrest of Assange?
If the day ends in “y,” then you can guarantee at least one talking head will compare President Trump to the Third Reich. They will feign their outrage over a supposed attack on the First Amendment while simultaneously undermining free speech. They will constitute what is right and wrong while suppressing the truth. They will point to every minuscule thing as evidence that Trump is trying to eviscerate a free press while lauding the arrest of Assange because he did not toe the media line in 2016.
As proven during the phony Trump-Russia collusion poppycock, the mainstream media uses the same programming language – “the walls are closing in,” “bombshell,” “beginning of the end,” and “the purge.” It confirms that the NPC meme is real. Unfortunately for Assange, he did not get the code, so he will be expelled from the journalistic landscape.
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