Does Julian Assange's arrest pose a threat to press freedoms? If press freedoms means publishing and distributing stolen information, then sure. And that's exactly what it does mean these days when the media routinely republishes hacked emails and coordinates with the hackers, as it did when Qatar hacked the emails of RNC official Elliot Broidy.
On Tom LoBianco’s LinkedIn profile, the former Associated Press reporter self-identifies as a “White House reporter covering Trump Russia probes.” At CNN, LoBianco writes that he “covered the 2016 presidential race and the Russia probes.”
Now LoBianco is in trouble for reasons having nothing and everything to do with the Russia probe.
Earlier this year, Elliot Broidy, a Trump ally and Republican fundraiser, was targeted by Qatari hackers. Broidy had been sharply critical of the terror state which has been linked to everything from 9/11 to Iran. And his emails were quickly peddled to media figures who spun them into pro-Qatari hit pieces.
When Broidy struck back with a lawsuit targeting Qatar and its lobbyists, phone records showed that LoBianco had spoken three dozen times to a registered foreign agent of the Islamic terror state.
The distinction between the media coordinating with foreign operatives to run emails stolen from Americans... and Assange is murky at best.
We were headed down this rabbit hole since the 70s when the media made it clear that it would run stolen information, no matter how damaging to national security, as long as it hurt the right people. Or at least brought in readers and ratings.
The internet made the whole problem go nuclear. The rash of email hacks accelerated as the media proved willing to publish them.
Even as the media whipped up hysterical claims that our entire political system was under siege, it still refused to commit to a standard of ethics which would prevent it from publishing hacked and stolen information. Instead, it doubled and tripled down on the same behavior.
The media routinely publishes illegally obtained information as long as it's deemed to be damaging to President Trump.
In the Broidy case and others, it appears to have coordinated with foreign operatives and hackers to do so.
This isn't a matter of press freedoms. It's treasonous illegal activity. But the media hates being held to any standards, factual or ethical, and so it would like to have it both ways.