Who's Worse—Julian Assange or the New York Times and Washington Post?
The arrest of Julian Assange by British authorities was met with nearly unanimous hosannas by U.S. politicians who gave their requisite soundbites cum gravitas on Capitol Hill Thursday. The self-styled journalist, they almost all said, should be extradited to the U.S. as quickly as possible to face the proverbial music for having exposed state secrets of our country — or at least the Democratic Party. Well, not exactly that — more accurately for having conspired with former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases, a legal distinction.
Ironically, not a peep has been heard from the same people (or almost anybody for that matter) thus far about another recent egregious misuse of journalism that resulted not in arrests but in the awarding of its most famous prize, the Pulitzer. As Beth Baumann noted for Townhall:
Let's not forget that The Washington Post and The New York Times won the 2018 Pultizer Prize for their national reporting of President Donald Trump's alleged collusion with Russia. They were awarded $15,000 in a joint prize.
The "award winning" journalists include Maggie Haberman, Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Mark Mazetti from The Times and Rosalind Helderman, Tom Hamburger, Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous and Greg Miller from WaPo.
They received the award "For deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration. (The New York Times entry, submitted in this category, was moved into contention by the Board and then jointly awarded the Prize.)"
Deeply sourced? What a laugh. As we now know post-Mueller report, these "respected" journalists were simply trafficking in collusion lies whispered to them by biased informants. In other words, they were a bunch of gullible, over-zealous propagandists. For that they received their Pulitzers, as yet unreturned, needless to say (just as the Pulitzer for Walter Duranty still hangs on the New York Times' wall despite decades of pleas from Ukrainians whose countrymen's mass murder by Stalin was bowdlerized by Duranty).
So, in other words, these mainstream media reporters have gotten off with nary a slap on the wrist (indeed received fame and fortune) for lying while Julian Assange may be headed for prison for telling the truth. There's a bit of irony in that, no?
No one, as far as I know, has ever accused Assange of not publishing the truth. In fact, that's part of the problem. He's meticulously accurate, publishing verbatim material usually without comment, unlike the reporters from the NYT and WaPo who were perfectly happy to print whatever came their way as long as it made Donald Trump look bad or, as some have put it, like "Putin's asset."
Now I'm not saying I entirely approve of Assange. I don't support hacking in the slightest. But he's certainly a far more interesting character and presents more stimulating intellectual challenges than the uber-conventional journeymen and women in our mainstream media who wasted two years of everybody's lives parroting made-up stories about Trump. I have considerable interest in what Assange will have to say. By now it's almost impossible to have the slightest interest in what most, if not all, reporters from the NYT or WaPo have to say ever. They've disqualified themselves. And, yes, given that they hide behind name brand organizations with immense networks of distribution, I think they're worse.
Roger L. Simon — co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media — is an award-winning novelist and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.