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Julian Assange is no journalist

Julian Assange is no journalist.

At what point did he start being referred to as one? This is a rhetorical question because I can already provide you with the answer: to justify his reasons for being the most well-known, well-financed, narcissist the world has ever known.

The debate over wikileaks and Julian Assange has raged for the past month. Instead of jumping into the fray from the start, I thought I’d sit back and watch the drama unfold. But what I thought was most interesting was when Assange, and mainstream media oddly enough, started referring to him as a journalist.

It is a wonder why journalists all over the globe are not enraged by this title that Assange has given himself, and his supporters have entrenched into the global mindset.

Lets start by setting the record straight. I fear being redundant, but Julian Assange is no journalist.  There is little to nothing that Assange does that makes him a journalist. Yes, he claims to reveal the truth about many elements of American foreign policy and its relations with other countries. But it is how he does this that demote him to an every-day computer blogger who finds dirty on celebrities and publishes it online.

Journalism is more than exposing the truth, but providing context for that truth to be set in. He is not writing articles, or using the information to uncover particular examples of wrong doing. Investigative journalism is difficult work; it takes time and effort. Granted, the information Assange releases is the basis for this sort of journalism, its only the beginning of the process. Releasing sensitive, raw government documents in bulk has nothing to do with journalism.

Assange releases documents which have been illegally obtained onto his website. If being a journalist simply meant finding incriminating documents and placing them on the web, everyone would do it. If this information was given to any newspaper in the western world, little to none of it would be printed. Why? Because to do so would be irresponsible. Assange places this information on his website with little care for the consequences of doing so.

He doesn’t care the lives at risk with the release of this information. He doesn’t care that the information will add fuel to the fire of global terrorism against many countries, including his own. He is reckless, foolish, and evidently self-righteous. He exhibits no journalistic integrity whatsoever. Every day, real journalists have to weigh the risks of releasing information, if that information will bring a risk of harm to others. Assange does not release information based on this paradigm.

He is only using the journalist title to protect him from wide-spread criticism. He has pulled many into this charade as well. If he preaches freedom of the press he will have support. If he preaches this, he thinks he does not need to answer to any crimes he may have broken in releasing these documents. He has the conspiracy theorists up in arms, saying that the only reason the charges of sexual abuse in Sweden are coming to light it to shut him up. But there is a problem with that.

What if the charges are true? What if he did commit the crime? The cult of personality around Assange has grown so much, people are being blinded by the fact that he may be guilty. And even more ridiculous is that Assange says he will release the most sensitive material he has if he is charged with this crime. If this isn’t a sign of his own guilt, I don’t know what is! He is attempting to blackmail the governments of the world. There is no such thing as a get out of jail card.

Now I’m not calling for his head like some, but Assange needs to answer to the scales of justice, just like the rest of us mortals.

Because when it comes down to it, Assange is no journalist. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that he is wealthy, he would be no different from a blogger living in their mom’s basement.

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About Greg Markey

Greg is a social media and digital marketing consultant who loves writing about business, technology, innovation and startups. He holds a degree in political science and history from St. Francis Xavier University, as well as a diploma in Journalism from Algonquin College. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and three kids..

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