4. WikiLeaks. Poor Julian Assange. Had he only released those classified government documents prior to Obama taking office, he would have been heralded by the media as an international hero: a man who risked his life and freedom to expose government misdeeds and speak truth to power. It would have been “Pentagon Papers Part II.”
But because it was Obama who was running the War on Terror at the time of these leaks, the mainstream media had no use for any information that could cause problems for the president. They immediately moved to downplay any potentially damaging or embarrassing releases. Instead of the hero’s welcome Assange most likely expected, he was vilified.
If it wasn’t already enough for Assange that the information in these leaks was characterized by the media as “unimportant,” soon after the leaks, he was brought up on sexual assault charges by Swedish authorities. What’s more, for the first time in almost a decade, the media suddenly became concerned about how releasing confidential material could put the lives of U.S. operatives at risk.
Assange learned the hard way that, these days, the only national security leaks the media finds acceptable are those portraying Obama as a Bin Laden-killing, Iran-nuclear-reactor-sabotaging superhero.
Over the past four years, the media has gone to a lot of trouble to protect Obama. Expect them to pull out all of the stops this election season. After all, they can’t allow their efforts to go to waste.
Mendy Finkel is a corporate attorney practicing in New York. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School.