Opinion: This is How the Free Press Dies

Remington Write
Seen in Washington, DC recentlyPhoto byTammy Remington

On the first day of that Intro to Journalism class, the professor — an award-winning, internationally renowned investigative reporter and author of best-selling books, spoke with great solemnity about the “calling” of journalism. The man meant it. I really really wish I could ask him what he thinks of the almost inevitable extradition of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, to the United States on charges under The Espionage Act.

I’ve tried to reach out to that highly regarded journalist from that class with no luck.

So, I guess I’ll ask anyone currently calling themselves a journalist in this country and in the United Kingdom what they think of the crusade to destroy Julian Assange. I’m listening.

From where I sit among the curious and the few remaining critical thinkers still paying attention to this travesty, it appears that anyone who thinks of themselves as a journalist is about to see the profession dismantled. Once Julian Assange is in custody in the United States of America, no one will ever again be able to dig into the truth behind what they’re being told by The Government. To do so is to risk being ostracized from their profession or worse. And that’s the idea.

Ask Mr. Assange what is worse. Ask Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning.

Any journalist or other professional who is uncomfortable with the actions this country has been taking — international interventions, backing coups, population-crippling sanctions — has been put on notice. Do not even think of actually doing investigative journalism.

Let’s not be lulled into thinking that what The Guardian, The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Spain’s El País and Germany’s Der Spiegel are finally harrumphing about finally is going to save journalism.

It’s not even likely that it will save Assange.

The man has been harassed and hounded for well over a decade and has now been jailed for four years. For some of the most courageous and thorough investigative journalism in our lifetime.

Once Assange is extradited, it’s all over for the “Free Press” of the United States. Anyone getting a paycheck from any mainstream media entity should be well advised to adjust to being a paid propagandist and public relations hack. Moreover, any budding Bernsteins and Woodwards over at Columbia University’s J-school may want to reconsider their career choice.

So, let’s hear from you, journalists.

Are you sweating this? How about the editors and publishers at The Times and The Guardian? Think your computers and phones are being listened in on?

Are mine? Naw. What I’m practicing here isn’t free speech. This is disregarded speech.

Until enough people start listening. If I disappear....

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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