Julian Assange Challenges the Illusion of Control
Did you see the 60 Minutes interview with Julian Assange last night?
No? Well, you didn’t miss much. I don’t know what possessed me. The show is conservative – suffocatingly so. I knew this going in.
So why did the sham interview irritate me so much?
The interviewer, Steve Kroft, was an abysmal excuse for a journalist. His heavy-handed, sweeping generalizations on Assange are someone’s interpretation of the truth. Certainly not mine. Maybe real reporting has no place in television news anymore. Maybe everything is opinion editorial packaged up in a way that the sedentary minds of our nation can form opinions by osmosis. I wish he had shown a bit more self-respect but maybe that deterioration is why so many favor blogs now.
Instead, he asked absurd questions, made petty criticisms and didn’t bother to hide his disdain for the dissident he obviously determined Assange to be. His reductive summary of what “Americans” thought of Assange was: “mysterious, weird, cult-like, and paranoid.”
I was jubilant when Assange dismissed this as ‘ad-hominem.’
What really sent me over the edge though, was when Kroft said that Assange was “screwing with the forces of nature” by flouting Freedom of Speech in the face of the American government. Really? Now America is a “force of nature”? The hubris is nauseating.Assange justifiably corrects the assertion that “people in the US think Manning [the Marine who submitted damning evidence of civilian murders in Iraq] is a traitor.” He further argues that it is a fundamental principle of the United States’ first amendment to publish fearlessly. To intimidate, threaten, cajole, or punish publishers would mean that the US has “lost its way.” His comment about revealing 15,000 unreported civilian deaths is spot on. Were it a mainstream publication which broke that story, there would be a Pulitzer at stake.
Government controlled news is something, I think, many of us would associate with dictatorships, fascists, and other unsavory forms of leadership prone to control and limits.
But the 60 Minutes interviewer called WikiLeaks “threatening” and Assange “subversive.”
What troubles me most is the assertion that news organizations take information and determine the stories to share with the public based on their substantial understanding. In the interview, Kroft actually says that they interpret the news for people.Continued on the next page