Over the last 24 hours, as most mainstream media outlets have been giddy around the possibility of Wikileaks and Julian Assange being charged in the United States. But according to Glenn Greenwald, the mainstream media may not be giddy for very long, as these charges may just be one step toward criminalizing journalism and imprisoning reporters, according to Glenn Greenwald.
Today, Greenwald appeared on Democracy Now to discuss the charges allegedly being brought by the US government and Jeff sessions against Assange and Wikileaks. Although most people believe that the US has already been seeking to arrest Assange, they haven't - for an interesting reason.
According to Greenwald, the Obama administration wanted to seek charges against Assange and Wikileaks. However, there was a significant constitutional issue. Because the mainstream press had also published materials obtained by WikiLeaks, any action against Assange and Wikileaks would essentially justify and require similar action against mainstream journalists.
Obviously, that would not be ethically or politically feasible for the Obama administration. So they shelved the entire idea. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has far fewer concerns about ethics, and most Trump supporters hate the media, so such an attack would be much easier for Trump.
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Greenwald believes that the Trump administration is purposely using Assange and Wikileaks because they are so widely disliked by both the left and the right. He notes that when people must make a decision about punishing somebody that is reviled, their emotions get ahead of rational thought, allowing them to agree to set precedents which are dangerous.
Because of the widespread hatred toward Assange and Wikileaks, people would be willing to allow Assange to be chargedand put in jail (or worse). But what they don't think about is the fact that this sets a precedent, which would allow mainstream journalists were published similar materials to be charged and/or jailed under the same legal theory.
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This would put all journalists at risk, regardless of whether they are disliked. Even the largest and most respected news outlets in the world, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, have published material along with Assange and Wikileaks. The Trump administrations planned charges would likely be applicable to them as well.
It's important that before the media jumps on the "hang Assange" bandwagon, they think a little bit more carefully about the precedent that is being set.
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