It is remarkable how short the memory of the US press is. Having fallen asleep at the wheel while its government led the country into two disastrous wars, the US media is again failing to do its duty and perform its role as the fourth estate. When the WikiLeaks organization published documents that exposed what banks and foreign governments were really up to, journalists in America lined up behind its editor Julian Assange, and sang his praises. Now that WikiLeaks has leaked classified documents that pertain to the US government, the media has either disappeared, or called for Assange’s head on a plate. Notes the McClatchy Report:
The freedom of the press committee of the Overseas Press Club of America in New York City declared him “not one of us.” The Associated Press, which once filed legal briefs on Assange’s behalf, refuses to comment about him. And the National Press Club in Washington, the venue less than a year ago for an Assange news conference, has decided not to speak out about the possibility that he’ll be charged with a crime.
With a few notable exceptions, it’s been left to foreign journalism organizations to offer the loudest calls for the U.S. to recognize WikiLeaks’ and Assange’s right to publish under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
This betrayal of a First Amendment principle is beyond disgraceful. Having greater liberties than almost any other country on the planet to speak out against its government, one would have thought the US press would have shown a greater respect for an organization that had the courage to confront serious crimes committed in their name. But true to form, the press is repeating the cowardly behavior it displayed during the lead up to the Iraq war, and is washing its hands of anyone willing to speak out about US government crimes.
So eager to gain access to government and sell juicy gossip stories, the press has forgotten its orginal role in holding elected officials accountable for their actions and breaking stories that the government is keep a secret from its citizens.The thought of displeasing the people it relies on to sell those juicy stories, real news is abandoned to make way for manufactured nonsense that does little to inform the public.
I was invited on ‘The Alyona Show’ on the RT network last friday to speak about the media’s abandonment of Wikileaks, and why it is so important that the press supports the organization. Here’s the interview if you are interested:
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.