Why isn’t CNN’s Anderson Cooper an enemy of the state?

by , posted on Friday, September 28th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

rrom The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann (RT)

Julian Assange addressed the United Nations and discussed the United States’ continuing investigation of Wikileaks and Bradley Manning. But what’s the real lesson on journalism in the 21st century that needs to be taken away from the Assange case?

Since June Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London trying to avoid extradition to Sweden, and eventually the United States where he could meet the same fate as Bradley Manning or worse. His crime? Being a journalist. There’s one industry specifically mentioned in the Constitution, just one. And it’s the press, it’s journalism. It’s the tool “we the people” have to keep our government in check and to make sure “we the people” have all the information we need to be informed members of our democracy.

The press is absolutely essential, which is why it’s named and protected in the very first amendment in our Bill of Rights. And journalism has taken many different forms over the centuries, adapting to technological changes in our society. From the quill pen to the printing press to radio to television to now the Internet, journalism has utilized all of these methods to do its job and speak truth to power. But it’s that last method – the Internet – that really frightens power. And it’s that last method – the Internet – in which Wikileaks exclusively operates. The reach and speed by which information can be distributed now – thanks to the Internet – is unprecedented. It’s revolutionary!

Now, in a matter of seconds, a story of official malfeasance, or even official good deeds, can fly at the speed of light to billions of people around the planet. President Obama may have laid some groundwork for the Arab Spring by going to Cairo in 2009 and basically telling the Arab people to tear down their dictators. But Wikileaks journalism really lit the fuse. Wikileaks released information about the President of Tunisia’s kleptocratic greed and massive corruption. Two weeks later a young street vendor set himself on fire, sparking the revolution in Tunisia.

Wikileaks released information about the greed and corruption of kleptocrat Moammar Gadhafi and his sons in Libya and soon that country as well was swept up in revolution. And it was Wikileaks which released information about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s plan to never leave office, despite presidential elections looming. And soon half a million people were occupying Tahrir Square demanding a revolution, one they eventually got. That’s the power of journalism in the Internet age; that’s the power of Wikileaks.

Which brings us to why Julian Assange is stuck in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He’s wanted not by Arab nations, which have seen firsthand the damage his revelations can cause to established regimes, but instead by Western powers, primarily the United States. Let’s face it. Wikileaks is, in part, the twenty-first century version of the New York Times. Both entities receive information from whistleblowers, and both entities publish that information. In fact, the New York Times published much of the exact same information that Wikileaks did, yet they haven’t been the subject of federal investigations. And prominent lawmakers and government officials aren’t calling editors at the New York Times “enemies of the state” like they are with Julian Assange. …


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