On the first day of that Intro to Journalism class, the professor — an award-winning, internationally renowned investigative reporter and author of best-selling books, spoke with great solemnity about the “calling” of journalism. The man meant it. I really really wish I could ask him what he thinks of the almost inevitable extradition of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, to the United States on charges under The Espionage Act.
I’ve tried to reach out to that highly regarded journalist from that class with no luck.
So, I guess I’ll ask all the journalists currently calling themselves journalists in this country and in the United Kingdom what they think of the crusade to destroy Julian Assange. I’m listening.
From where I sit among the curious and the few remaining critical thinkers still paying attention to this travesty, it appears that anyone who thinks of themselves as a journalist is about to see the profession dismantled. Once Julian Assange is in custody in the United States of America, no one will ever again be able to dig into the truth behind what they’re being told by The Government. To do so is to risk being ostracized from their profession or worse. And that’s the idea.
Any journalist or other professional who is uncomfortable with the actions this country has been taking — international interventions, backing coups, population-crippling sanctions — has been put on notice. Do not even think of actually doing investigative journalism.
Let’s not be lulled into thinking that what The Guardian, The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Spain’s El País and Germany’s Der Spiegel are finally harrumphing about finally is going to save journalism.
It’s not even likely that it will save Assange.
The man has been harassed and hounded for well over a decade and has now been jailed for four years. For some of the most courageous and thorough investigative journalism in our lifetime.