For anyone who thought WikiLeaks was a fascinating cinematic subject, The Hollywood Reporter is already offering an obituary: “The Fifth Estate quickly died, grossing a paltry $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters -- the worst opening of the year so far for a movie opening in more than 1,500 theaters.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has repeatedly criticized Bill Condon's film for Disney’s Touchstone label for a slanted presentation of himself and WikiLeaks. At one point, he even wrote a note to actor Benedict Cumberbatch asking the actor to drop out of the movie.
In her Tuesday posting on the New York Times's Internet-news blog “Bits,” the unusually named Jennifer 8. Lee (a food writer and former Times staff reporter who now occasionally shows up to write posts for “Bits” and the paper’s local “City Room” blog) interviewed Rebecca MacKinnon of the left-leaning New America Foundation. MacKinnon was speaking at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh about the need to take Internet power away from private corporations and presumably hand it to the government.
Among the victims of private firms Lee brought up: the infamous anti-American anti-secrecy Wikileaks. But why didn’t Lee disclose she has done public relations work for the group in 2010?
If there is one characteristic that has defined Wikileaks proprietor Julian Assange, it is utter hypocrisy - his complete and total unwillingness or inability to abide by his own principles.
The man was complicit in an theft on an epic scale, but had the gall to criticize the UK Guardian for publishing government cables obtained by Wikileaks without the organization's permission. The grounds for his complaint: "he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released." Assange is also not a fan of media outlets publishing leaked information about him. He lashed out at the Guardian late last year for "selectively publish[ing]" police reports about rape charges against him.
And now, despite his active efforts to literally render the American government unable to function, Assange is invoking rule of law to protect his "property" (you know, all the stolen documents in his possession). He has reportedly forced Wikileaks employees to sign a draconian confidentiality agreement that would put them on the hook for roughly $20 million if they release Wikileaks documents without permission.
When former NPR executive Ron Schiller said that the organization would be better off in the long run without public funding, he was envisioning an editorial independence that can never really be achieved while NPR is on the public dole. That is not to say that the station's editorial judgment is compromised by its receiving taxpayer dollars. But by bringing taxpayer money into the mix, NPR is inevitably subjected to political considerations. And it should be. Taxpayers must have a say in how their money is spent.
Odds are, on the long list of causes to which Americans would like their tax dollars devoted, subversion of the American military and foreign policy establishment is nowhere to be found. And yet, through NPR, taxpayer dollars are going towards the publication of information released for the express purpose of undermining the American government.
By reporting on contents of the latest Wikileaks document drop, which released massive amounts of sensitive and classified information regarding U.S. terrorist detention policies, NPR has advanced the objectives of an overtly anti-American organization.
On Friday evening, uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the February 25 CBS Evening News briefly gave attention to former President George W. Bush’s decision to cancel a planned appearance in Denver at the Global Leadership Summit because of his disapproval of the same group’s plan to allow Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to address the event.
Quoting the former President as complaining that Assange has "done great harm to the U.S.," anchor Katie Couric read the item:
Wikileaks likes to say it's concerned with truth. Its media cheerleaders like to take that claim at face value. So we have to ask, why is Wikileaks lying about the Tucson massacre?
And it is lying. In a press release today, the organization claimed that Saturday's shooting was the result of "incitement" akin to threats against Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staffers from American political figures. But to date not a single piece of evidence exists that Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter, was driven to violence by political rhetoric of any kind.
For someone who deals in illicit information, Julian Assange sure gets touchy when people share information against his will.
Last month the Times of London revealed that the Wikileaks proprietor was furious at a reporter for the UK Guardian who had published details of a police report concerning sexual assault allegations against Assange. His objection: they were private communications and the reporter "selectively publish[ed]" them.
Now Assange is upset that the Guardian would publish some of the leaked cables without the permission of Wikileaks (ironically, the info had apparently beenleaked by a Wikileaker!). According to Vanity Fair, "he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released."
In his January 4 article, "Why Journalists Aren't Standing Up for WikiLeaks," Newsweek's Ben Adler offers three reasons, the first of which is quite risible given the media's persistent advocacy for ObamaCare in the year past:
So why are American journalists hesitant to speak up for Assange? There are essentially three reasons.
1. Refusal to engage in advocacy: American journalists, unlike many of their foreign counterparts, have a strong commitment to objectivity and nonpartisanship...
A man is arrested and detained for months without any charges being brought against him. He is being held in deplorable conditions, forced to endure extreme physical and mental distress. He is exposed to the same ‘torture’ tactics that other enemies of the United States have allegedly suffered through.
So why isn’t the Commander-in-Chief taking heat for this travesty of justice?
Because this isn’t the Bush administration.
Firedoglake blogger, David House, has been detailing a recent visit with Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, at a military prison at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia (h/t Weasel Zippers). Of course, House bemoaned the ‘inhumane’ treatment of Manning, describing the toll that months of solitary confinement have taken on his physical and mental well-being.
AFP ran with the story and made it clear that they had no intention of offering a balanced report. In fact, viewing the headline, one would never know that the story came from an extremely liberal website, reading more as fact than a slanted accusation.
You just can't make this stuff up. According to the Times of London (subscription required), Julian Assange is angry at the UK Guardian for publishing details of sexual assault allegations against him based on…wait for it…a leaked police report. Stones, glass houses, etc.
Assange is especially peeved, the Times reported, that the Guardian "selectively published" details of that report. Gee, you mean that publishing only sensational excerpts of leaked private information might present an incomplete and misleading narrative to the paper's readers that could damage the reputations of those involved? You don't say.
While NBC on Tuesday focused on the "funny" and "intelligent" side of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Nightline's Brian Ross conducted a tough, hard-hitting investigation into the questionable finances of the man attacked by colleagues as a "dictator."
Ross used the December 14 ABC program to raise questions about "what's happened to the group's money" and to highlight former colleagues who say Assange "has turned the website into a cult of personality."
While many of the individuals Ross talked to were just as committed to Assange's leftist cause of leaking military documents, they did raise serious accusations about the organization's finances. [MP3 audio here.]
Poor Julian Assange. He has celebrities lining up donations to get him out of a British jail, and now, the Atlantic reports, he'll be staying at a massive Kent Suffolk manor owned by, you guessed it, a prominent British journalist (well, his parents, really).
NBC's Peter Alexander, on Tuesday's Today show, decided to explore the softer side of WikiLeaks founder and purveyor of U.S. state secrets Julian Assange as he interviewed an investigative journalist from Oxford University who found him to be "funny, intelligent" and "not at all...rigid" and also aired a clip of Assange's mother speaking up for her son as she demanded that the world "stand up for my brave son."
In fact Alexander never aired a clip or interviewed any one who had a negative word to say about Assange but he did reveal some postings Assange allegedly made to an Internet singles site as Alexander reported:
"He writes, 'I am Danger.' And describes himself as 'passionate and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.' That he's looking for a 'spirited, erotic non-conformist,' concluding 'Do not write to me if you are timid. Write to me if you are brave.'"
To the sound of the nation's collective yawn, filmmaker Michael Moore announced Tuesday that he had given $20,000 to bail out Wikileaks proprietor Julian Assange from a British jail.
Moore cited his admiration for Assange's quest for openness and transparency in government. But Assange has openly declared that his objective is precisely the opposite - he wants to make the American government so opaque that it cannot function.
Moore went on to laud the lives Assange has supposedly saved by preventing global conflict (well, not really global, since Moore only seems concerned with American misdeeds). But Wikileaks has actually made it more likely, not less, that nations will rely on military might instead of diplomacy.
Appearing on Monday's Today show to reveal the finalists for his magazine's Person of the Year issue, Time's managing editor Richard Stengel hyped that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is "changing the way we look at" diplomacy, the "perception of secrecy" and hailed he had "an enormous year." Stengel didn't bother to attach a value judgment to Assange and the negative effect he's had on national security, but Today co-host Matt Lauer did remind Stengel that Assange was "embroiled in some personal scandal."
As for another finalist, the Tea Party, Stengel explained the rationale for putting them on the list is that they tapped into a generalized "feeling of frustration that people have of distrust for authority, of distrust for centralized leadership. That's almost a theme of the whole year." Neither Stengel nor Lauer pointed out the Tea Party also represented a backlash to Barack Obama's liberal policies.
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, during a discussion of whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, panel member and conservative columnist Andrea Tantaros cited the Media Research Center - parent organization to NewsBusters - as she paraphrased the most recent Bozell Column and its reaction to Time magazine editor Richard Stengel’s defense of Assange. Tantaros:
The editor of Time magazine told Charlie Rose on PBS that he thought that Assange was an idealist, and he went on in this letter in Time magazine to say that it's not our job - the media's - to protect the interests in that way, meaning national security. And Brent Bozell, the Media Research Center wisely pointed out, it's very different, though, when journalists are captured. The government doesn't take that stance.
Moments later, Tantaros noted the double standard in the left’s treatment of the Valerie Plame CIA leak, and Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation brought up the Climategate leak of documents from East Anglia University:
Imagine the year is 1942 and the German government runs a news bureau in Washington, D.C. collecting government secrets. Even FDR would have laughed at claims they were actual journalists, locked them up and thrown away the key.
He would have been right. There's a huge difference between an individual or an organization reporting abuses in government or business one at a time and the same people stealing enough classified material to run a spy agency.
But sleazy Julian Assange and his spy agency WikiLeaks are trying to pretend they are journalists. He even calls himself 'editor-in-chief,' sort of like Mata Hari calling herself H.L. Mencken or the Rosenbergs claiming to be Woodward and Bernstein. Assange even argued in a recent column that 'WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism.' As a sign just how far that profession has fallen, many in the media are agreeing with the spin.
MSNBC.com reported Thursday that Julian Assange was hiding out in the Frontline Club, a club for journalists in London, where reporters "closed ranks and kept his whereabouts to themselves." That Assange "knew…he would be well-fed and, more importantly, safe" at the Frontline club demonstrates the bizarre affinity that journalists have for the Wikileaks founder.
Assange's mission is not journalism's mission. He sees no inherent value in truth; information is simply a means to his (very political) end. He doesn't want transparency; by his own admission, Wikileaks's endgame is opacity. He is not a reformer, he is a destroyer.
On NPR's weekend show On The Media (produced by radio station WNYC), New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reacted badly to NPR's Bob Garfield suggesting Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was a "looter" or a smasher of windows. Keller insisted the document dump has "more value" than that metaphor, that the dump is "absolutely fascinating...like a graduate seminar" on international relations. It's a "ridiculous standard" to insist these finds must be Earth-shattering to be a positive development:
BOB GARFIELD: Now, the stories so far have been revealing but unsurprising, it seems to me, and not especially indicting. It’s made me wonder whether WikiLeaks is a legitimate whistleblower in this case or just a looter. Has Julian Assange shed light here with the release of 253,000 cables or has he just smashed a very big store window?
BILL KELLER: I think that the documents have more value than your metaphor gives them credit for.
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?
A hacker who styles him "th3 j35t3r" -- The Jester in plain English -- has made quite a name for himself disabling jihadist websites and, more recently, the U.S. national security-threatening site WikiLeaks.
While his methods are technically illegal, The Jester's motivations are patriotic, aimed at saving American lives on the battlefield.
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.”