Assange on the Defensive

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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Alleged sex offender and world-class narcissist Julian Assange coined a phrase to describe the practice of accepting and publishing stolen documents that puts lives in danger and threatens national security: “scientific journalism.” Having made enemies from Washington to Moscow and beyond, Assange is now in full martyr mode, portraying himself and his pals at WikiLeaks as crusaders courageously trying to make the world a better place by delivering facts into the hands of ordinary people like you and me. Here’s how Assange described his brand of “journalism” in an op-ed piece published in The Australian yesterday entitled “Don’t Shoot the Messenger for Revealing Uncomfortable Truths”:

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Even if we were to ignore the propriety of publishing illegally-obtained documents and the morality of putting lives at risk in the name of a twisted form of journalistic purity, Assange’s arguments still don’t hold up. Any time a journalist or a media outlet obtains information, it has to make editorial decisions about how to use that information. What stories do you highlight, and which get less attention? What context do you provide and who provides it? Where do you try to focus your audience’s attention? Like every other media outlet, WikiLeaks has to make such decisions; decisions which inevitably involve the prejudices, judgment and knowledge-base of the editors who make them. The proposition that WikiLeaks is simply a resource for those interested in the truth does not hold up to any kind of scrutiny.

WikiLeaks says that it obtained more than 250,000 State Department cables, for example. Did it simply release all of those documents and allow its readers to figure out who was reporting the news accurately? Of course not. Had it done so, the deluge of information would have been too great for anyone to comprehend. Instead, WikiLeaks did what journalists do: Assange and his cronies made editorial decisions based on which cables, in their judgment, would have the most impact and create the biggest buzz. They provided trusted partners like The New York Times and The Guardian with selected cables that would create blazing headlines. They decided which cables to release at their own site and they offered commentary intended to steer their readers in a particular direction when those readers digested the contents. Assange doesn’t want his followers to judge for themselves, he rather wants them to agree with Julian Assange’s judgment and offer him a deafening round of applause.

In what was perhaps the most egregious example of Assange’s editorial bias, WikiLeaks’ prejudices and duplicity were on full display in the video “Collateral Murder.” Having obtained raw video of an engagement between a US Army Apache helicopter and Iraqi insurgents, Assange didn’t simply air the raw video as received and let the viewer “judge for themselves.” Instead, as a story in The New Yorker detailed, Assange and his cronies spent hour upon hour going over the grainy black and white footage, deciding which portions to publish, which to discard and how to best explain what the edited footage they would release meant, in order to deliver the message they preferred. At no point did they consult with anyone who has been in combat, in order to understand the context of the engagement or how it would have looked to the crew of the Apache. Indeed, the title for the video they chose presupposes a conclusion. Huddled in their hideout in Iceland, the last thing Assange and his pals wanted was for viewers to evaluate the veracity of WikiLeaks’ claims. They rather put in long hours of work in order to ensure that they produced a product that would be fully consistent with their worldview.

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  • ViewPoint

    The fact that immediately after Assange urged Hillary to resign and within a week she announced that she was done with politics made Assange a bit of a hero in my eyes, but that does not make the actual motive and truth less significant. Such as; the indisputable awards bestowed upon Assange by Economist mag. (a Rothchild financial publication) and Amnesty International… and if Assange's strings are being pulled by Soros, as is being reported by numerous credible sources, are highly crucial and revealing facts. Any information put out by credible sources with honorable intentions casts brilliant, exposing light on obscured, critical truth.

  • Bear from Russia

    Read Killing the Goal of 'Open Diplomacy'

    By Lawrence Davidson http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/120610a.html

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      ALL YOU SEE IS THE OLD SPY Game started once more this so called Army PCF Who leaked all this info is a coverstory and the old game of calling people nuts or narcissist or dicks or name the name you want to call any person to make that person into a joke has been done.
      The old BS SPY GAME is here and now, But why is this story out now?
      The political ass is doing its best to get into place the dream-act and today it got what it wants; the USA To become a third world state and today the old KGB Boys are happy as we killed off the old USSR The boys in the KGB Killed off the USA. All you see is a lie all you hear is a lie welcome to the new ideals of the new monkey state.

  • http://understandingevil.wordpress.com gideon isaac

    Assange did us all a favor. He exposed news that our governments should have told us, but did not. For instance, the revelation on the extent of organized crime and its operation under the Russia security services, and that and elsewhere. Or that China gave ballistic weapon technology to Iran, and that it supported North Korea's arms ambitions. Or that Iran offered to work with Venezuela on a missile base so it would be in "America's Backyard.".
    Why didn't our government tell us this info. Are they protecting us from information that might make us into hawks?
    So yes, the man did put lives of good men and friends of the U.S. in danger, and his motives are rotten. But what he did wasn't all bad.
    Here is one thing we learned: (from the Jeff Nyquist site:)
    " We learn that the National Court Prosecutor of Spain, Jose "Pepe" Grinda, presented a 17-page English-language handout to the U.S.-Spain Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Experts Working Group in Madrid. The most fascinating tidbit came when Grinda began to describe the Russian mafia as the ultimate mafia, saying that it is more than Russian. In fact, it encompasses crime groups from all over the world, so that, according to Grinda, we may also call it the "Sicilian mafia." According to the U.S. Embassy cable, Grinda "considers Belarus, Chechnya and Russia to be virtual 'mafia states,'" adding that Ukraine is going to become such a state. In each of the listed countries one cannot "differentiate between the activities of the government and OC [Organized Crime] groups."

    • Gary from Jersey

      Most of the information in this post was available long before Assange, even in the New York Times.

  • davarino

    The difference between WWII and now is that if Manning had done then what he has done now he would have been executed speedy quick, and that is what kept people like him from doing that. We have become to soft on spys, traitors, and the like. We need to let our intelligence community do their job and stop the enemies within. I do not believe Manning did this all on his own. How can a private first class get access to these documents, number one, and how was he able to download so much without setting off all kinds of alarms, number two. Something seems very fishy here and I am afraid the enemy has almost taken us over.

  • ABh

    i think this article is too harsh on Assange who has the guts to take on the big and mighty unlike anyone else we have ever known in modern-day journalism. Mr Horowitz I have high regards for you but your take on the matter differs with mine like black and white. for years we have seen the US govt doing what it does best – ditching its allies and who support its views of the world. they didnt even leave the US. the officials who sent these cables may not be truly reflecting the 'official' US govt policy but they sure show the line of thinking of the govt. we cannot afford to brush off all the leaks. some are very relevant for countries to chalk out their future political strategy and stop being deceived by the US.
    its high time US quit stabbing people across the world behind their backs and wakes up to the call of jihadis who are hellbent to islamicize america. the US needs to work against these people and bring under one umbrella all those countries including russia who have and are suffering at the hands of these bigoted muslims all over the world. a good place to start with is India!

    • light

      what a naive flower child you must be. you have eyes and ears and yet you hear and see nothing but what you want to hear and see. Do you even actually live in this country? what more does it take for you to understand that there's a reason why people like you and Assange (American Haters) aren't given access to classified information. in that dim little brain of yours you think it's totally acceptable to publish our most secret reports and opinions because…..what? the US has protected itself and its citizens in the murky world of intelligence and counterintelligence? go somewhere and tie dye a shirt and stop making a complete and total ass of yourself on the internet.

  • USMCSniper

    In 2012 we 2ill have to put the adults back in charge and get rid of these inepts

  • Wiley

    This is all well and good, but try explaining that to millions of Americans who are angry and broke, whose country is broke, most of which is a result of bad decisions made by a ruling class which is still very much at the helm. How do you justify to them this "war" that is most definitely being lost at every turn (did I read that 500 Taliban were released yesterday?) but which is continuing to cost billions per year, much of which is tossed down that 9th century sh*t hole, OKA, the Middle East? Jesus, we'd be wiser just to pull our troops out and let Israel do what it surely could do in a matter of days: blow to hell those who love hell. Assange and Wikileaks is a sideshow. The big issue remains: What the hell are we still doing trying to convert and civilize those incapable of being civilized?

  • Ghostwriter

    I'm no fan of Julian Assange. As far as I'm concerned,he's an arrogant twit who got what he deserved. He doesn't care about anyone other than himself. If people get hurt or die because of what Assange does,that's not his problem. I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail and I don't care if his supporters like it or not. They should all go into a corner somewhere and have a nice loooong time out,for all our sakes.

  • xavier

    There is no benefit to our finding out the details of these cables, and potentially a lot of harm is being done. You and I may be interested or titillated or shocked but that matters not; we have no voice in the matter, nor should we. Some things need to be secret.

    As far as the moral issues go, it’s really quite simple. Manning stole something and Assange knowingly received these stolen goods. The scope of the crimes may be debated but in this case guilt is apparently undeniable. Isn’t Assange’s threat to release more files akin to extortion? Judge, if you want to see your daughter again you’ll dismiss this case?

    The “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” ploy shows WikiLeaks has no idea what they have started. Smearing international reputations is not healthy. On a brighter note, Assange’s in jail tonight and may come to appreciate the seriousness of unwilling unprotected sex.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    This is the end of the system; if you can't keep your own info its all over.
    But why be upset with this story? Do You or anyone understand the USA Will soon be just one more hispanic nation that means nothing?
    And for Assange being a Narcissist so is obama and all of our political people and if you really believe that a PFC Did the spy BS For Assange you must be a total Fool.
    This info from frist hand info No PFC Or anyone like that Can have the codes to get info like that.
    But Many of our political monkeys can get info like that and who do you really think would pAY THIS GAME? just look at the top monkey and all of his monkey friends inside this monkey Government.

    If you want to know it was not a Little PCF Or this ass Assange it is the top monkey in the whitehouse.

  • http://www.longboat.org Daisey Vandalsen

    One of many better content articles I’ve truly examine not long ago, great thing.

  • dizzy99

    lets keep everything secret, even the fact that islamic hordes are taking over the west.