Bob Garfield, Julian Assange and The Definition of Journalism

He was charming and playful as he interacted with the judge. npr -Julian Assange Pleads Guilty 

The release of Julian Assange after years in a UK jail made me remember an op-ed by Bob Garfield on the subject. Garfield’s key point is that Assange is not a journalist but a broker of stolen goods and that the press is under attack but not in this case. His op-ed is nuanced in a way you rarely see in this absolutist political world. I think that Assange, as the quote above illustrates, became a bit of a media darling with his premature gray hair,  his smooth, steady Australian accent and his nobel Robin Hood persona. In this case the loot was classified documents.

Indeed, the U.S government has many dirty secrets and does all kinds of immoral things. It has been this way from the beginning. Shining the light on the malfeasance is a small step in the right direction but I doubt it will truly change behaviors. It is better to simply follow the money. Much of that is in plan view. Journalists are simply too scared to bite the few hands that feed them.

The thing is press freedom, defined under U.S. Law and best practices, doesn’t permit libel or extortion or, by the way, burglary–digital or otherwise. With journalistic freedom, comes journalistic responsibility. And Assange, explicitly, disclaims that–at least where other people are concerned. While he preaches that all information, no matter its sources or dangers, is better public than secret, his own organization is shrouded in secrecy.
– Bob Garfield

Bob Garfield was fired from On The Media and NPR. He evidently had a short fuse and would yell at people. I do miss his opines.

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