Bill Keller caricatured. (No, this is not the televangelist who said Mitt Romney is going to hell for being a Mormom.)
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What precisely a geeky bag-lady puppetmaster would actually look like is uncertain, although I’m fairly certain I don’t want to imagine it in too much detail.
In any case, as Keller would realize if he had any sense of real journalism, Assange was never the real WikiLeaks story. He is merely a convenient figurehead, lightning-rod and scapegoat for corporate journalists who would like to make him the face of his organization as a first step toward discrediting it. How Assange dresses, whom he dates, where and in what manner he conducts his life: These are the concerns of the “lifestyles” shows that fill time between TV commercials for those who find soap operas too complicated to follow. From the US’ “Newspaper of Record,” one would expect better. Apparently, however, Keller’s tabloidesque notion of journalism has led him into the misapprehension that his revenge on WikiLeaks for ending its association with his paper (the circumstances of which Keller describes, after a fashion, in this article) can be best compassed in two steps: Personalize the story by making it all about Assange, and then malign Assange.
Fortunately, and in part precisely thanks to WikiLeaks and the increasing journalistic sophistication it has brought to the public, readers weren’t so easily swayed: This page presents a selection of comments appearing in the NYT’s 26 January 2011 issue, in which we read some of the reasons why Keller’s highly personal catalog of calumnies against Assange fails to convince.
In the end, this nine-page caricature proves one thing: WikiLeaks far better than the New York Times and its like represents the spirit of independent, investigative journalism that once flourished in the U.S. until the ruling elite emasculated the press and Judith-Millered skeptical reporting into the oxymoron of our times.