Julian Assange: Press Shows Little Interest in Media ‘Trial of Century’

Labeled the media “trial of the century,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing is currently taking place in London—although you might not have heard if you’re relying solely on corporate media for news. If extradited, Assange faces 175 years in a Colorado supermax prison, often described as a “black site” on US soil.

The United States government is asking Britain to send the Australian publisher to the US to face charges under the 1917 Espionage Act.  He is accused of aiding and encouraging Chelsea Manning to hack a US government computer in order to publish hundreds of thousands of documents detailing American war crimes, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. The extradition, widely viewed as politically motivated, has profound consequences for journalists worldwide, as the ruling could effectively criminalize the possession of leaked documents, which are an indispensable part of investigative reporting.

WikiLeaks has entered into partnership with five high-profile outlets around the world: the New York TimesGuardian (UK), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany) and El País (Spain). Yet those publications have provided relatively little coverage of the hearing.

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Journalism or partisanship? The media’s mistakes of 2016 continue in 2020

If there were any doubt left after 2016 as to what too much of the mainstream news media in America has become, it most certainly has been erased in 2020. Too often, many in my industry have revealed themselves as little more than propaganda tools for dueling political sides, no longer reporting the way journalists once did. We compete for the latest anonymous “scoop,” scandalous rumor, or unsupported accusation. We pounce on the supposed “bombshell” du jour and hype it on the news, accompanied by endless round robins with political operatives. Many of us don’t even bother to find and report on stories that powerful people and interests aren’t pushing.

To do this, too many of us have abandoned basic tenets of journalism. We ignore the suspicious timing of the handout “leaks” or scandals — as if nobody notices. We fail to explore or disclose sources’ motivations or conflicts of interest — as if nobody wonders about them. We don’t even pretend to assess the true news value of the “bombshell.” We’re simply happy to be of service to the propagandists; we invite them to use us, and our superiors reward us with admiration. Many of our peers either repeat the reporting, seek to confirm it using equally dubious methods, or discredit it. Rarely do we step back and consider that the whole drama is being orchestrated by political puppet-masters who count their successes by the number of news stories they generate.

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Nearly seven in 10 Americans more concerned about bias in news others consume

Nearly seven in 10 Americans surveyed in a new poll — 69 percent — said they are more concerned about bias in the news others consume than in coverage they view themselves.

Six in seven Americans also said they believe there is at least “a fair amount” of political bias in news coverage in general, according to research from Gallup and the Knight Foundation released Thursday. A majority also agreed that it can be found in “the news source they rely on most.”

Education levels are also a key metric regarding respondents’ perspective on bias, pollsters found. 

“Differences in Americans’ concern about the bias other people are exposed to are particularly striking when viewed by education level, with higher concern seen at each level of educational attainment,” the study finds. “Specifically, whereas 52 percent of Americans with a high school education or less are more concerned about bias in others’ news than in their own, the figure is 64 percent among those with some college education and is even higher among college graduates, 73 percent, and those with postgraduate education, which comes in at 77 percent.” 

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