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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:42 am 
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AUGUST 23, 2018

Julian Assange and the Fate of Journalism

by LAWRENCE DAVIDSON


Julian Assange is the Australian founder of Wikileaks—a website dedicated to the public’s right to know what governments and other powerful organizations are doing. Wikileaks pursues this goal by posting revelatory documents, often acquired unofficially, that bring to light the criminal behavior that results in wars and other man-made disasters. Because Wikileaks’ very existence encourages “leaks,” government officials fear the website, and particularly dislike Julian Assange.

Essentially, Wikileaks functions as a wholesale supplier of evidence. Having identified alleged official misconduct, Wikileaks seeks to acquire and make public overwhelming amounts of evidence—sometimes hundreds of thousands of documents at a time—which journalists and other interested parties can draw upon. And since the individuals and organizations being investigated are ones ultimately responsible to the public, such a role as wholesale supplier of evidence can be seen as a public service.

Unfortunately, that is not how most government officials see the situation. They assert that government cannot be successful unless aspects of its behavior are conducted in secret. The fact that those aspects in question thereby lose any accountable connection to the public is discounted. The assumption here is that most citizens simply trust their governments to act in their interests, including when they act clandestinely. Historically, such trust is dangerously naive. Often government officials, even the democratic ones, feel no obligation to their citizens in general, but rather only to special interests.

One reason for this is that large and bureaucratic institutions that last for any length of time have the tendency to become stand-alone institutions—ones with their own self-referencing cultures, loyalty to which comes to override any responsibility to outside groups other than those with particular shared interests. In other words, long-lasting institutions/bureaucracies take on a life of their own.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that many governments look upon Wikileaks as a threat to institutional well-being. And so, in an effort to cripple Wikileaks and have their revenge on Assange, the United States and the United Kingdom (UK), with the cooperation of Sweden, first sought to frame Assange (2010) on a sexual assault charge. This having failed, Assange was still left liable for jumping bail in the UK in order to avoid seizure and deportation to the U.S., where he would certainly be put on trial for revealing secrets. He escaped to the Ecuadorian embassy in London (2012), where he was given asylum. As of this writing, he is still there. However, a recent change in government in Quito has led to discussions between Ecuador and the UK that may well lead to Assange’s eviction from the embassy.

The Ideals of Journalism

Some of the anger over Assange’s fate has been directed at the journalistic profession which he has sought to serve. After all, Assange has ardently supported the notions of free speech, free press and the public’s right to know. Nonetheless, as the documentary filmmaker John Pilger, a supporter of Assange, has noted, “There has been no pressure [in support of Assange] from media in the United States, Britain, Australia or pretty much anywhere except in [media] programs … outside the mainstream. … The persecution of this man has been something that should horrify all free-thinking people.” He is quite right. Unfortunately, there never have been many brave free-thinkers about, so no one should be surprised at Assange’s poor prospects.

This brings up the difference between the ideals of the journalistic profession and the reality within which it operates. There is a model of journalism that presents it as a pillar of democracy. The journalist is a tough and persistent person who digs up facts, asks hard questions and explains the truth to his or her readers/viewers. Few seem to have noticed that, to the extent that this picture is accurate, the ideal model has alienated those readers/viewers who cannot tell the difference between “the truth” and their own opinions. Recently, this alienation has opened the entire media industry to the charge that it is really the “enemy of the people” because it peddles “fake news”—that is, news that belies one’s opinions.

To bring the idealistic journalist in line with real public expectations, editors put pressure on media workers to compromise their professional ideals. The result is most often manipulated reports aimed at fitting the particular outlook of the particular media operation’s target audience. Thus, it is simply wrong to think that, on the average, those who investigate, do research, write about things, and report through the various media are any braver or, ultimately, any more principled than the rest of the population. As Julien Benda showed us in his 1928 book The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, while it is in fact the job of those who research and report to remain independent of the ideologies and biases of both their community and their government, the truth is that most often these people end up serving power. This is particularly the case when there is an atmosphere of patriotic fervor, or just plain pressure from sources that can hurt one’s career. At that point you will find that bravery does exist but it is the exception and not the rule—and the brave will, more often than not, stand alone.

That is what is happening in the case of Julian Assange. Many American news outlets are willing to selectively use the documented evidence made available by Wikileaks. To do so is to draw on what the website has placed in the public domain. But they will not stand up and publicly defend the “whistleblower” who makes the information public. I imagine publishers, editors, and media moguls, and the vast majority of those they employ, just don’t have the courage to support the individual who breaks some unprincipled law or regulation designed to enforce silence in relation to official crimes and hypocrisy.

A Shared Problem

The United States is certainly not the only country facing this dilemma. To one extent or another this is a shared problem in all those lands claiming to have a free press. For example, a similar problem has long existed in Israel. Here one finds a whole ethnicity whose journalists are open to persecution.

Take the case of Omar Nazzal, a member of the board of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. In a 10 August 2016 report appearing in the on-line blog +972, and entitled “Israeli journalists silent as their Palestinian colleagues are jailed,” we are told that Nazzal was taken into custody by Israeli forces in April 2016, without charges. Like Assange, there has been an attempt, after the fact, to claim that Nazzal is a criminal. The Shin Bet, one of those Israeli security forces that only the naive or venal take at face value, claims that he is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which they consider to be a terrorist organization. No proof of this charge has been publicly presented (Shin Bet claims the “proof” is secret) and Nazzal denies any affiliation. As it turns out, the real reason he was arrested somewhat parallels Assange’s activity. At the time of his seizure, Nazzal was on his way to Sarajevo for a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists. No doubt, the Israelis did not want him telling true, documentable, stories to an organization of European journalists. Most Israeli Jewish journalists, like their American counterparts, remain silent. So do their respective publics.

One might ask just how seriously “the public” wants a media that tells them “the truth.” The most watched cable news channel in the U.S. is Fox News, a media ally of Donald Trump that has no demonstrable interest in objective facts. It is more likely that Americans (and others) chose their news outlets on the basis of which one most often tells them what they want to hear—in other words, the search for “accurate” reporting is really driven by a desire for confirmation bias.

Under these circumstances it is easy to understand why a for-profit media industry need not be beholden to the general citizenry or any ideal of supplying fact-based news. This situation puts truth tellers like Assange, and in the case of Israel, Omar Nazzal, in a bad position. They will have their defenders but they will be outside the mainstream—because truth itself is also outside the mainstream. That is their predicament, and ours as well.

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:28 pm 
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In other news, Assange has been arrested.

https://news.sky.com/story/wikileaks-fo ... n-11690473

Apparently the Ecuadorians got sick of his shit and revoked his immunity.

Surely deportation to the States and a lifetime in Guantanamo awaits.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:39 pm 
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Jack booted thugs, probably the same ones that beat up Barcy over a traffic ticket, dragged him off on behest of the U.S.

Gitmo and an orange jumper? :-?


Stay tune for live updates


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:42 pm 
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Arrested 'on behalf of US': UK police ended years of speculation about Assange's fate by confirming that the US wants to extradite him.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:06 pm 
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Shoulda let 'im walk...

Just sayin'.

>*^*<

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:14 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
Shoulda let 'im walk...

Just sayin'.

>*^*<


Apparently the U.S. intelligence community has some questions for him.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:17 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:19 pm 
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When 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange finally left the Ecuadorian embassy after seven years, the focus was largely on his appearance and what he was screaming as he was bundled into a police van.

But eagle-eyed observers noticed that as he was hauled away, he was clutching a book titled "Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State." According to the Amazon listing, it's a collection of interviews with the American literary legend, who chronicled major cultural shifts in the United States.

The book, according to Amazon, details "the historical events that led to the establishment of the massive military-industrial-security complex and the political culture that gave us the 'Imperial Presidency.'”

When Assange sat down in a London court in the past hour or so, he still had the book with him, and made a show to the media of reading from it.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:29 pm 
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Speaking of someone else who needs to be dragged off to prison, for spying on everyone, and then lying under oath about it only to be found out by a leak.....



phpBB [video]

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:39 pm 
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I hope this just triggered a dead man switch
RELEASE THE KEYS! !!!!!!!1111!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:49 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
Shoulda let 'im walk...

Just sayin'.

>*^*<


It'd have been quite amusing if he'd walked out and literally nothing happened and he'd spent years in an embassy for nothing.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:02 pm 
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he fucked


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:18 pm 
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Htown0666 wrote:
I hope this just triggered a dead man switch
RELEASE THE KEYS! !!!!!!!1111!!!



[-O< [-O< [-O<

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:25 pm 
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Htown0666 wrote:
I hope this just triggered a dead man switch
RELEASE THE KEYS! !!!!!!!1111!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:47 pm 
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So if Assange is some type of Russian asset, I’d expect he might be coming down with a severe dose of radiation poisoning soon.... :-?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:24 am 
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APRIL 11, 2019

Free Julian Assange and All Political Prisoners

by ROB URIE


The American war against Iraq was among the more idiotic and gratuitous slaughters in human history. It was premised on lies, prosecuted by criminals and fools, outsourced to professional murderers and it isn’t over. In addition to those murdered directly and indirectly in the war, several million refugees were scattered across the Middle East, including over a million into Syria. ISIS grew from the ranks of the disbanded Iraqi army. This fiasco appeared as it was to all the world, the gasp of a dying empire sunk under the weight of its ignorance and arrogance.

Late in the war Julian Assange and his colleagues at Wikileaks published documents and videos allegedly leaked by Chelsea Manning that brought the gratuitous nature of American violence home for all to see. The most damning was this video...

phpBB [video]


...That shows American soldiers carefully and methodically slaughtering civilians, including Reuters staffers, outside of any determinable theater of war. The label ‘collateral murders’ was attached to the video, but those murdered were targeted— they weren’t ancillary to otherwise justifiable murders.

Julian Assange has reportedly been charged by an American Grand Jury for his role in publishing this leaked video, among others. He will apparently be extradited to the U.S. where he is expected to stand trial for doing what reporters do— publishing true information in the public interest. The New York Times and other newspapers also published the leaked documents, but have as yet not been charged. This legal maneuvering appears to be a politically motivated vendetta against Julian Assange for embarrassing the War Criminals behind the Iraq war.

National Democrats and the liberal press have spent the last 2.5 years demonizing Mr. Assange for his role in publishing leaked DNC emails in the run up to the 2016 Presidential race. As with the government’s case against him, the content of the leaked videos and documents is not in dispute. They are what they are purported to be. American soldiers did murder civilians and Reuters staffers who posed no immediate threat to them. Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff did screw Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination and she did give contradictory information about her political positions depending on what she thought her audience wanted to hear.

Mr. Assange’s accusers are largely those responsible for the imperial decline that his reporting has illuminated. The leading Republicans and Democrats behind the Iraq war should have been charged with War Crimes. There is no statute of limitations on War Crimes. The national security officials among Mr. Assange’s accusers illegally spied on Americans and lied about doing so under oath to congress. The CIA illegally spied on the congressional committee charged with investigating illegal torture in the Iraq War after illegally destroying videotape evidence of its crimes. What is Julian Assange being charged with again?

What Mr. Assange did is expose the crimes of the rich and powerful. Arguments over his methods conflate process errors with the gratuitous murder of civilians. If these murdered civilians had been well-to-do white Americans and staffers at the New York Times, where might ‘process’ fit into the utterly predictable (and justifiable) calls to give those charged fair trials and prison sentences if convicted. Through what lens are the crimes exposed by Mr. Assange and Wikileaks not crimes? As with everything about a gratuitous war in which a million or more civilians are killed, why aren’t its architects and chief instigators in the dock at The Hague pleading for their lives?

While the political pump has been primed in the U.S. by war-state Democrats and war-state liberals to go after Julian Assange without legal restraint, he is lauded by much of the world for bringing the crimes of the American elite into public view. What will be illuminated by prosecuting Mr. Assange is the crimes of the elite and their use of power and office to cover up their crimes. While most Americans haven’t seen the video (link above) of American soldiers murdering civilians and press staffers, the publicity of a trial will certainly stir public interest.

Much as the Iraq War was a late gasp of an empire in decline, the prosecution of Julian Assange is the desperate act of a political establishment that is losing its grip on power. Mr. Assange is but a messenger. This establishment is the agent of its own demise. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of people. Free Julian Assange and All Political Prisoners. All Power to the People!

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:56 am 
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APRIL 12, 2019

The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History

by JOHN PILGER


The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilisation”. The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, the Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years”. The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding joined the police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”. The Guardian has since published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the expose of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what the Guardian calls truthful “things”, what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?

What is to stop the editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of the New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between the New York Times and WilLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalised by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defence in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did.

The rest, she might have added, is history.

John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:34 am 
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=D>


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:17 am 
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Must add that, much to my disgust, the Guardian is but a disgusting shadow of what it once was and why it came into being, a response to the Peterloo Massacre (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterloo_Massacre) and ironically, the closure of a more robust newspaper that preceded it, by reactionary forces of the state...seeking, as powerful elites always do in their quest to control the message, to silence the truth.

Shame, Guardian, shame.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:10 pm 
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The (formerly "Manchester...") Guardian is a shadow of its former self.

It got in bed with Blair & New Labour, and shifted it's "Left-Wing" (-ish) position to the vaunted "Centre", and has remained there ever since.

But then, the Guardian is, like all other British newspapers, ultimately a commercial, profit-making enterprise, rather than an institution with a Social Mandate to report facts objectively.

And nothing would make the Guardian's dwindling advertisers desert it more quickly, than the Grauniad taking up it's traditional space on the Left Wing of British politics.

Meh. Who gives a shit about newspapers anyway? They're so 20th Century.

I reckon Wikileaks will outlive the Guardian.

Karma is a bitch.

B-)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:22 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
The (formerly "Manchester...") Guardian is a shadow of its former self.

It got in bed with Blair & New Labour, and shifted it's "Left-Wing" (-ish) position to the vaunted "Centre", and has remained there ever since.

But then, the Guardian is, like all other British newspapers, ultimately a commercial, profit-making enterprise, rather than an institution with a Social Mandate to report facts objectively.

And nothing would make the Guardian's dwindling advertisers desert it more quickly, than the Grauniad taking up it's traditional space on the Left Wing of British politics.

Meh. Who gives a shit about newspapers anyway? They're so 20th Century.

I reckon Wikileaks will outlive the Guardian.

Karma is a bitch.

B-)


And yet, we the people, must realise that to counter the forces of evil self-serving agendas, we must grasp control of the message. And we haven't in a way that gets home and is trusted day to day. Wikileaks is a dense outlier for most and so doesn't begin to offer an alternative to the likes of the Murdoch press on the streets and not the internet...


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:56 pm 
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The Guardian is all about smug virtue signalling and not offending people. Unreadable IMO.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:38 pm 
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PBFMullethunter wrote:
The Guardian is all about smug virtue signalling and not offending people. Unreadable IMO.


American "journalism" is often that way too, when they're not slandering anybody and everybody who is not uber left-wing in a rabid hatefulness.

Either way, journalism these days becomes increasingly difficult to want to read or watch.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:40 pm 
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PBFMullethunter wrote:
The Guardian is all about smug virtue signalling and not offending people. Unreadable IMO.


The Guardian would just say that's typical man talk (btw, fratfully sorry for assuming your gender dear girl).


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:21 am 
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El Sid wrote:
PBFMullethunter wrote:
The Guardian is all about smug virtue signalling and not offending people. Unreadable IMO.


The Guardian would just say that's typical man talk (btw, fratfully sorry for assuming your gender dear girl).


The Guardian can lick my unrepentantly sexist cock.


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