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|Written by Ryan McMaken|
|Julian Assange was arrested last week in London, and he awaits legal proceedings designs to extradite him to the United States to be tried on hacking charges. At least, those are the charges currently known. Experience suggests that US authorities are likely to add additional charges once they have Assange in the US.|
The US government has sought to prosecute Assange since at least 2010 when Wikileaks released video footage of US forces murdering civilians - including two Reuters reporters - during 2007 air strikes.
| "Journalists" Against Assange.|
Given Assange's role in exposing government lies, corruption, and abuse, one would think that most journalists - most of whom fancy themselves as warriors against government abuse - would call for his release.
| An Arbitrary Standard.|
ost of the "standards" the media establishment are using to redefine Assange as a non-journalist are purely arbitrary. Whether or not one gets the approval of someone at The Washington Post or some other "official" media outlet has exactly nothing to do with whether or not one is a journalist.
| Yes, Assange is Comparable to Daniel Ellsberg.|
Although many establishment journalists are going to great pains to pave the way for Assange's prosecution, they face a problem: there is nearly universal agreement among journalists that Daniel Ellseberg is a hero.
| The American State's Attack on Real Journalism.|
But why is so much ink being spilled on whether or not Assange a journalist? Yes, some of it is just the usual narcissism we've come to expect from reporters. Journalists regard themselves as an exclusive club, and they like to excommunicate those whom they suspect of moving in on their territory.
| Do Journalists Have Special Rights?|
At the heart of the matter, however, we find an additional problem: the idea that journalists enjoy special rights that ordinary people don't. Consequently, if Assange is a journalist, then he gets special legal privileges in whistleblowing and releasing sensitive government documents. If he's not a journalist, he's then supposed to be open to prosecution.