Julian Assange praises Matt Drudge as ‘news media innovator’
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told a group of college students Friday morning that the “only hope” for U.S. electoral politics is Republican Sen. Rand Paul (KY) and his brand of Libertarian politics. According to the right-wing college news site CampusReform.com, the international fugitive and accused acquaintance rapist also heaped praise on right-wing blog mogul Matt Drudge, calling him a “media innovator.”
The remarks came as part of a live Q&A session with Assange and Campus Reform editor in chief Josiah Ryan.
“First of all, I wanted to ask your opinion of American journalist Matt Drudge,” said Ryan. “Do you consider him a friend or foe of your open government movement?”
“Next I wanted to ask you about Sen. Rand Paul,” he continued. “He’s, uh, a vocal critic of big government. Um, I’m wondering about your opinion on him.”
Finally, he asked Assange’s opinion of the hacking collective Anonymous.
“Well, um, three bites of the apple here,” Assange responded. “Matt Drudge is a news media innovator. And he took off about eight years ago in response to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
(Eight years ago was 2005, the first year of George W. Bush’s second term, when President Bill Clinton had been out of office for five years and the Lewinsky scandal and subsequent failed impeachment attempt were a matter of history.)
Assange claimed that Drudge made his name by “publishing information that the establishment media would not. It is as a result of the self-censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform and so of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship.”
On Sen. Paul, he said, “The only hope as far as electoral politics presently, is the Libertarian section of the Republican party. [I] am a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues.”
Rand Paul recently made headlines for his filibuster against a non-existent government plan to use predator drones to kill enemy combatants within U.S. borders. Conservatives and some liberal pundits like David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald applauded Paul for taking a stand against a policy that Attorney General Eric Holder had already refuted before Paul began his filibuster.
Less than a month later, however, the Kentucky senator reversed his position and said that is was perfectly alright to use predator drones domestically.
“If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him,” he told Fox News.
“In relations to Anonymous,” Assange said Friday morning, “Well, Anonymous is not a group. It is an Internet social movement. It is a part of Internet culture. And like any culture, it has good people and bad people. But amongst the good people, there are some very brave people who have done some very brave things.”
Assange was speaking from a studio inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England, where he has sought asylum more than a year ago from prosecution on charges that he engaged in non-consensual unprotected sex with two women in Sweden. He is running for a seat in Australia’s Parliament, managing the campaign long-distance from London.
Watch the video, embedded via YouTube, below: