In Refusing To Defend Assange, Mainstream Media Exposes Its True Nature

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via,

Last Tuesday a top lawyer for the New York Times named David McCraw warned a room full of judges that the prosecution of Julian Assange for WikiLeaks publications would set a very dangerous precedent which would end up hurting mainstream news media outlets like NYT, the Washington Post, and other outlets which publish secret government documents.

“I think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,” McCraw said. “From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Do you know where I read about this? Not in the New York Times.

“Curiously, as of this writing, McCraw’s words have found no mention in the Times itself,” activist Ray McGovern wrote for the alternative media outlet Consortium News. “In recent years, the newspaper has shown a marked proclivity to avoid printing anything that might risk its front row seat at the government trough.”

So let’s unpack that a bit. It is now public knowledge that the Ecuadorian government is actively seeking to turn Assange over to be arrested by the British government. This was initially reported by RT, then independently confirmed by The Intercept, and is today full mainstream public knowledge being reported by mainstream outlets like CNN. It is also public knowledge that Assange’s asylum was granted by the Ecuadorian government due to a feared attempt to extradite him to the United States and prosecute him for WikiLeaks publications. Everyone from President Donald Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ranking House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff to Democratic members of the US Senate have made public statements clearly indicating that there is a US government interest in getting Assange out of the shelter of political asylum and into prison.

The New York Times is aware of this, and as evidenced by McCraw’s comments it is also aware of the dangerous precedent that such a prosecution would set for all news media publications. The New York Times editorial staff are aware that the US government prosecuting a publisher for publishing important documents that had been hidden from the public would make it impossible for the Times to publish the same kind of material without fear of the same legal repercussions. It is aware that the maneuvers being taken against Assange present a very real existential threat to the possibility of real journalism and holding power to account.

You might think, therefore, that we’d be seeing a flood of analyses and op-eds from the New York Times aggressively condemning any movement toward the prosecution of Julian Assange. You might expect all media outlets in America to be constantly sounding the alarm about this, especially since the threat is coming from the Trump administration, which outlets like the New York Timesare always eager to circulate dire warnings about. You might expect every talking head on CNN and NBC to be ominously citing Assange as the clearest and most egregious case yet of Trump’s infamous “war on the free press”. Leaving aside the issues of morality, compassion and human rights that come with Assange’s case, you might think that if for no other reason than sheer unenlightened self interest they’d be loudly and aggressively defending him.

And yet, they don’t. And the fact that they don’t shows us what they really are.

Theoretically, journalism is meant to help create an informed populace and hold power to account. That’s why it’s the only profession explicitly named in the United States Constitution, and why freedom of the press has enjoyed such constitutional protections throughout US history. The press today is failing to protect Julian Assange because it has no intention of creating an informed populace or holding power to account.

This is not to suggest the existence of some grand, secret conspiracy among US journalists. It’s just a simple fact that plutocrats own most of the US news media and hire the people who run it, which has naturally created an environment where the best way to advance one’s career is to remain perpetually inoffensive to the establishment upon which plutocrats have built their respective empires. This is why you see ambitious reporters on Twitter falling all over themselves to be the first with a pithy line that advances establishment agendas whenever breaking news presents an opportunity to do so; they are aware that their social media presence is being assessed by potential employers and allies for establishment loyalism. This also why so many of those aspiring journalists attack Assange and WikiLeaks whenever possible.

“Everyone hoping to gain admission to the cultural elite must now strenuously cultivate their social media so as to avoid controversy,” journalist Michael Tracey observed recently. “Eventually they will internalize controversy-avoidance as a virtue, not a societal imposition. Result: a more boring, conformist elite culture.”

A great way for an aspiring journalist to avoid controversy is to never, ever defend Assange or WikiLeaks on social media or in any media outlet, and certainly under no circumstances allow yourself to look like the sort of journo who might someday publish the sorts of materials that WikiLeaks publishes. An excellent way to prove yourself is to become yet another author of yet another one of the many, many smear pieces that have been written about Assange and WikiLeaks.

Mainstream media outlets and those who thrive within them have no intention of rocking the boat and losing their hard-earned privilege and access. Conservative mass media will continue to defend the US president, and liberal media will continue to defend the CIA and the FBI. Both will help advance war, ecocide, military expansionism, surveillance and police militarization, and none will leak anything that is damaging to the power structures that they have learned to serve. They will remain innocuous, uncontroversial defenders of the rich and powerful at all times.

Meanwhile, alternative media outlets are defending Assange ferociously. Just today I’ve seen articles from Consortium NewsWorld Socialist WebsiteDisobedient MediaAntiwar and Common Dreams decrying the persecution of the most important government transparency advocate living today. Alternative media outlets and independent writers aren’t bound by establishment servitude, so the value of WikiLeaks is clear as day. One’s eyes are only blinded to the pernicious behaviors of power when power is signing one’s paycheck.

Mass media outlets in America and around the world have fully discredited themselves with their failure to defend a publisher who actually holds power to account and brings facts into the light of truth to create an informed populace. Every day that goes by where they don’t unequivocally condemn any attempt to prosecute Assange is another day in the pile of evidence that corporate media outlets serve power and not truth. Their silence is a tacit admission that they are nothing other than stenographers and propagandists for the most powerful forces on earth.

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I Am Jack's Ma… Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:20 Permalink

Who owns/operates/staffs most every major news organization?

Is anything more obvious, more obviously related to news media bias on multiple narratives but which antiwar activists won’t plainly say?

It is a stunning concentration of power. Power to propagandize for occult interests.

So much so that when I challenge people to name me just 5 major (1 million viewers/users on a weekly basis) news sources that are not owned, managed and/or disproportionately staffed by this group (in a country that is 98% not this group) we must not name - not once has someone even tried.


But I’m the asshole for wanting to talk about both what and whom has power to describe the world, present and past, to the rest of us.  Power used, reliably, to kill a great many human beings who did not deserve to die.



mark1955 SAE6065 Tue, 07/31/2018 - 05:28 Permalink

Fraud Trump, was a "Puppet" for the Rothschilds/Rockefeller's NWO, well before he became President!


Fraud Trump, has been a life long registered democrat, who had the Clinton's as Guest of Honor ( In place of his late parents ) at his wedding!


Since attaining office, Fraud Trump has turned out to be just another Gun Control supporting ( "Take the guns first, worry about Due process later" ), War Mongering, Globalist Plant, who has re-filled the swamp he promised to drain. with every Goldman Sach's Hack he could Find!

In reply to by SAE6065

r0mulus mark1955 Tue, 07/31/2018 - 16:19 Permalink

NY Times is an actual limited hangout.
Same goes for the Guardian, WaPo, LATimes, New Yorker, and the Economist.
Wikileaks has been trying to show the people what is really going on- it's natural that they would be attacked and not defended by those who oppose them.
"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

In reply to by mark1955

rtb61 dirty fingernails Tue, 07/31/2018 - 02:57 Permalink

Flip flopping. I get the same feeling when it comes to Julian Assange, in fact there is not much deep feeling in the community about it, I suspect they want secretly would sort of like for Julian to be arrested and the US attempt to extradite him, so that mass protests and boycotts can be triggered, targeting the US and UK. Assange the match that could ignite the world against the US and UK, not on it's own of course, you can bet a bunch of countries will get in on it, to really dump shit on the US and UK, it would be irresistible. It could really blow up, it's simply been brewing too long not to.

Honestly the only safe move for the US is not to play or ensure Julian Assange is deported back to Australia and the US government could spend the next bunch of years annoying the Australian government when they are not doing enough to annoy Julian Assange. They can do this whilst playing all gracious and forgiving to deny other countries their game and to rebuild some US good guy or gal reputation.

Wikileaks will continue just fine, with or without Julian, however the US will very likely do much worse economically speaking with Julian.

In reply to by dirty fingernails

chunga Herdee Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

I think it was today that Grassley was blowing smoke at the maverick* to give whistle blowers a break. I wonder if this is what he was referring to.

* Obligatory he's better than Honest Hill'rey.

// edit here it is //

‘They Know Where the Skeletons Are’ Grassley Calls on Trump to Honor Whistleblowers in Order to ‘Drain the Swamp’…

Chuck Grassley tweeted: 2day is national whistleblower appreciation day The way to drain the swamp is for the president to honor whistleblowers. whistleblowers know where the skeletons are in govt why not have a rose garden ceremony honoring whistleblowers? @realDonaldTrump

dilly dilly

In reply to by Herdee

xrxs chunga Mon, 07/30/2018 - 23:00 Permalink

I've been reading and hearing a lot about the culture of whistleblowing in the VA. Plenty of other stories out there. Snowden knew some of them and booked a one way ticket to Hong Kong.  It isn't easy right now doing right by the Constitution, the country and the taxpayer. It's healthy to have this type of internal oversight, so good for Sen. Grassley.

In reply to by chunga

MANvsMACHINE Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:25 Permalink

This is Trump’s kryptonite.  The economy can collapse and his supporters will still be there for him but if Assange comes to the US and is given anything other than a full pardon, Trump has no shot in 2020.

PrintCash Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:25 Permalink

MSM:  Whistle blowers are great!!  Saving democracy, bringing about transparency, keeping those in power accountable, knowledge is power.  Yay, let’s report.......wait a second, what is he claiming?  Forget that, whistle blowers bad, Russians meddling, democracy crashing, unfair elections, he’s a rapist.  Yadda, yadda, yadda, you know the drill.  

Gaius Petronius Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:33 Permalink

Trump already exposed the mainstream media as frauds.  If you don’t think they are frauds, you are either a self deluded member of the establishment (Chuck Todd) or a mindless borg drone.    It’s one or the other.  

bh2 Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:40 Permalink

Anyone who touches Assange at this point is juggling kryptonite. And the Ecuadorans know it.

If the Brits weren't fools, they'd propose a face-saving fine for Assange's failing to show for a hearing on a warrant which has now been withdrawn and didn't even originate with the British government.

And then let him depart on the next plane out and let the chips fall where they may. Elsewhere.


I Am Jack's Ma… bh2 Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:48 Permalink

Funny how Soros isn’t constructing a rent-a-mob to pressure tptb and stand up for Assange, journalism and the common people’s right to hold government accountable - ain’t it?

He’s too busy funding socialist mobs in Portland who think taking bats and pipe bombs to prevent American citizens from saying a prayer at a legally permitted rally is the way to go.

Even black guys are ‘white nationalists’ to Trotskyites whose own sense of meaninglessness super charges an ego-boosting myth about fighting an imagined, Formic, pure ‘evil itself.’


That’s his ‘open society’ for you. Anti-nationalist, pro-totalitarian, low IQ, gullible, violent, dickhead thugs.

In reply to by bh2

Ink Pusher Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:42 Permalink

Welcome to the second greatest show on earth, where the facade is far more important than the structure beneath it which is rotten to the core infested with bipedal cockroaches ,parasites and termites.

The next step we must take is pest mitigation to end the threat and prevent future infestations.

Both First and Second Amendments have been under siege for over a decade now, something's gonna give...


lew1024 Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:50 Permalink

My 2nd line in the sand, just expressed in another letter I sent to the President, will send to Congress, is :

Either pardon Julian Assange by the election, or I vote a straight Democratic ticket.

Julian Assange has exposed many evil acts of our Deep Black Swamp, the same entity Trump says he will drain. He is my ally, why not Trump's?

The first line in the sand is "Prosecutions of many members of the Deep Black Swamp, beginning with the Clinton Crime Cabal, and wide-ranging, well-staffed investigations of the corruption in the DBS", or ditto voting Democratic.

If these events do not happen, both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress will have proven to be wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep Black Swamp, and Trump likewise or impotent/incapable of changing that. Electing the Ds is easiest, as they are stealing the election in any case (what happened to Trump's commission to clean up the elections?) and will produce the most violent reaction from intelligent citizens.

Then we can get on with the necessary cleanup of our society, as violently as may be necessary.

I do hate that conclusion, but every day the DBS is in power is a danger to this country and the world. Time to get on with solving it.  Past time. Far past time.

Catullus Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:50 Permalink

You don’t want to be called “enemy of the people”, yet you’ll let the only news organization to break actual news stories get devoured by the state machine. 

They broke the war crimes in Iraq, diplomatic bribing on UN delegates by the State Department. They showed how the US was spying on the German/Merkel government during the Greek bond crisis.  They showed how the US presidential nomination process is a sham by releasing the emails of top DNC operatives. And they are willing to release their sources to disprove this Russia nonsense. 

Just waiting for Trump to actually tell us who is on the USG payroll at these news orgs...

tunetopper Catullus Mon, 07/30/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

You will be waiting a long long time. Trump knows how the game is played. The MSM is sparring with Trump over the Russia non-story to keep us pre-occupied with a great big nothing-burger. And they are monitoring those of us who are consumed with this non-sense. So that way they know who to sell the George Forman grill to - and the Pocket Fisherman and Bamboo Steamer.

In reply to by Catullus

WTFUD Mon, 07/30/2018 - 22:53 Permalink

Mighty depressing what's happening to Assange. His only hope is a change of Government in the UK or for Trump to call off the DOGS. Won't hold my breath on the latter, he's served his purpose. 

tunetopper Mon, 07/30/2018 - 23:07 Permalink

Pompeo wants to execute Snowden. He hates Assange with a passion saying the guy is trying to take the US down. Now - think about that.... Ex-CIA director who leads the US State Dept. this is our chief foreign diplomat.