I’ve always expected American establishment media to rally around Rupert Murdoch. He’s a Galtian overlord, after all, and I suspect that many of them think they may have to work for him some day. (That said, Jack Shafer at slate has been tearing him apart — here; here; here.)
I’ve been wondering how long it would be until someone who hates Wikileaks decided to defend Murdoch. It look longer than I thought, but the often odious Roger Cohen is on it today:
The guy’s a force of nature and his restless innovations have, on balance and with caveats, been good for the media and a more open world.
Julian Assange, the thin-skinned founder of WikiLeaks, has hurt U.S. interests across a broad but probably shallow spectrum. That will satisfy him in that he’s a self-styled foe of the United States. The guy makes me queasy.
In other words, deleting the voicemail of abducted children and publishing medical records of sick children, that’s good for the media, on balance. Attempting to hold powerful government interests to account, that makes him queasy.
Here’s a thought experiment: imagine that Wikileaks had hacked into an abducted child’s voicemail and deleted some of the messages. Suppose that Assange claimed that he had no idea this had happened, that he was on vacation that week. What do you think the reaction would be from establishment media?
If Wikileaks somehow became a huge company and Assange a billionaire, this would be all different of course. Murdoch’s techniques are condoned in many quarters simply because when a Galtian overlord does it,
it’s not a crime that means it is not illegal.