Alex Witt: Glenn, I want to start with you because I know you know Julian Assange, you have interviewed Julian, you’ve been following this story. Shed some light for us, because a big question a lot of people have is, what does he want with all this, what’s his ultimate goal?
Glenn Greenwald: Well, he looks at what the United States has done over the past decade, beginning witht eh most criminaland destructive act ovr the entire earth over the last, say generation, whichwas the attack on Iraq and the huge number of civilians it killed…
Witt: Uh, we just lost him unfortunately. Jonathan, let me bring you in…
I wouldn’t be tempted to put quotes around the words “technical difficulties” in this article’s title if the discussion that followed minus Greenwald had not been so thuddingly dumb. We’re treated to the spectacle of educated, supposedly very smart people , Washington insiders no less, furrowing their brows and discussing Assange as though his motivations were as incomprehensible as those of some mad scientist in a comic book threatening to vaporize the world’s oceans with a flick of his atomo-blast heat refractors.
Jonathan Capeheart of the Washington Post hastens to assure us that “clearly this is a person who has a beef with the United States…Why he’s doing these things exactly, I don’t know, but clearly, whatever impact he was hoping he would get, he’s getting it.” Witt goes on to darkly speculate about why Assange spends so much time in undisclosed locations. (It might have just a little bit to do with the fact that he has been the subject of death threats, not sent in anonymous emails and phone calls, but blasted from bully pulpits and openly published in American newspapers.) Republican strategist Susan Molinari observes “one can only conclude” that he’s “hugely anti-American, and somewhat anti-Capitalistic
After this they announce that they’ve gotten Greenwald back, and the man has to sit there listening as Witt earnestly asks him, “Do you think that Julian Assange is anti-American? Do you think he has an anti-American, anti-corporate agenda? And is he on the run?”
Greenwald at last gets a couple of minutes in. Obviously unsure of the feed, he talks very quickly:
Well, I think it’s amazing to listen to someone like.Jo…(video freezes)…journalists using McCarthyite techniques to say he’s anti-American when in reality what he’s actually devoted to is called transparency and shining light on what the world’s most powerful factions are doing. Which of course, is supposed to be the role of journalists, but Mr. Capeheart’s editorial page was one of the leading advocate and still is, for instance, for the war in Iraq, which used this vast wall of secrecy (heavy sigh is heard, possibly Mr. Capeheart emoting) for deceiving the American people into believing something that wasn’t true and then Molinari’s political party did the same. What you have is basically people who are in the political and media class in Washington who have been exploiting this great wall of secrecy where the government basically hides everything that it’s doing of any significance so that it can manipulate the public. And Julian Assange is one of the very few people who’s actually fulfilling the role that journalists and members of congressare supposed to fulfill (more off-camera heavy breathing) but having, which is bringing transparency to the world…
Witt switches to Capeheart, who says, sure, transparency is all very well and good, but a lot of those Wikileak documents were on stuff everybody already knew about anyway and “there’s nothing really new here,” which should (but, of course, doesn’t) invoke the question of why, then, does the release of these documents qualify as the act of someone who is anti-American. He then repeats Molinari’s question about Assange being in hiding.
I don’t doubt that those technical difficulties that cut Greenwald off were accidental. The problem is that when they’re coupled with smart people feigning dumbness –including the alleged journalist moderating the discussion -- it smells.
The viewer watching this "me-no-savvy" posture by Witt, Capeheart, and Molinari already knows that most of what’s being offered is in glaringly bad faith. Given the recent attacks on the Wikileaks website, by both a hacker and a United States senator, it’s not that great of a leap to suspect someone of deliberately monkeying with the feed to minimize access to Assange’s single defender.
If the media wants credibility they need to appear credible. Apparently, they still haven’t figured this out.
Crossposted from Thoughtcrimes