Sep 14, 2011

What drives Guardianistas so crazy about matters Assange?

So you thought the WikiLeaks saga couldn't get any stranger, more convoluted or more ridiculous in juxtaposing stories of world import with petty absurdity? Think again.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


So you thought the WikiLeaks saga couldn’t get any stranger, more convoluted or more ridiculous in juxtaposing stories of world import with petty absurdity? Think again. In what must surely be the last part of the final act of The Guardian’s tortured relationship with the organisation, chief reporter David Leigh has been mounting a desperate rearguard action against charges that he bears major responsibility for the availability of 250,000 unredacted diplomatic cables — and, it would seem, losing. There was also a sideshow featuring investigative journalist Nick Davies, your correspondent and an errant glass of wine.

As always, these aren’t the major stories — they’re the ones coming out of the total cable dump, which is now providing a seventh wave of major news stories (credited and otherwise), since the Afghan logs were released last year. But WikiLeaks becomes the story, not only because of legitimate questions about the ethics of whistleblowing, but because it’s an easier story to tell — a simple narrative, limited number of characters, and it fits into an easier story (idealism gone awry) than messy stuff about states, wars, secrets, etc.

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17 thoughts on “What drives Guardianistas so crazy about matters Assange?

  1. Stevo the Working Twistie

    Comparing The Guardian with a Dilbert cartoon? You’ll be hearing from Scott Adams’ lawyers next. Is there anyone you are unwilling to offend, Rundle?

  2. michael r james

    It’s not just the Guardianistas. You would not have seen the doco on SBS last night (Tuesday, 13th; if you can log on from a .au site you could view it online). It was wall-to-wall anti-Assange including some pretty extreme statements from Domscheit-Berg–eg. he claimed that at the beginning Assange had wanted to sell the Collateral Murder video to the media highest bidder expecting an income of >$1M. They did give Assange right to reply to most of the accusations and personally I thought he was convincing–but more importantly, concerned with more important issues. I guess it must be true that he is one of those personalities, partly by not playing by others rules, who drives many a bit loco.

    Getting it in the eye has to be a terrific war story. Taking a celebrity king-hit (well, throwing wine is probably all a Guardianista is up to) for Crikey. Love it.

  3. paddy

    OK Guy, there’s actually only one thing missing from this ripping yarn…..
    What was the wine that drove Nick Davies into such a frenzy? Vineyard? Grape & Vintage?
    10,000 eager Crikey subscribers are dying to know. 😀
    P.S. Bonus points will be awarded if you could forward a few cases to this year’s Walkey Award organisers. (They can be contacted via G.Milne.)

  4. kuke

    The boy from Magnetic Island certainly polarises opinion and seemingly can invert that polarity at will . Will Davies get over it when the Swedish case is dropped?

  5. Phen

    So the 2nd article wasn’t retracted, but an apology was provided in respect of the first article? Is that right, or was the Evening Standard wrong on both counts?

  6. David Hand

    Assange is an anarchist. As such, he can’t be expected to cooperate with other activists who want to publish material in the public interest but to protect the innocent.

    Though some may point to benefits of published Wikileaks secrets, I have yet to read of genuine smoking guns but I’m sure there are thousands of civil servants around the world worried about their personal safety and whose effectiveness has been compromised.

  7. George Rebus

    It has been said that the great benefit conferred on us by Wikileaks is that it has proved how incompetent the Americans are at keeping their and our secrets. That is important to know. While it doesn’t go to most of the issues, mostly petty, that arise in an out of Rundle’s article, it is worth bearing in mind if one is in any position to do something about protecting or disclosing government information supposed to be confidential.

  8. zut alors

    ‘ You’re the worst journalist I’ve ever met.”’

    Wowee, that’s what I call an insult. And Davies has met a mega-number of journos over the decades so that puts you in a very special category, Guy.

    What dismays me even more than Davies’ comments and behaviour is the fact that he drinks WHITE wine. What the..?! Clearly, this is a man whose judgement should be called into question.

  9. michael r james

    PADDY Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Spoken like a true Crikey reader! I mean I was a bit shocked that Rundle “grabbed a wine” (of course in good journo tradition, if its free….), unless that is a euphemism for something else? Rundle is surely not a chardonnay socialist or even champagne socialist? What wine would be PC for a card-carrying Marxist?

    Anyway talking about wine and being shocked, I happened to watch a bit of mind fluff last night, NCIS-LA (I know, I know) and was a bit taken aback when Hetty (played by Linda Hunt, you know Oscar winner for Billy Kwan in Year of Living Dangerously, obviously more Australianized by that experience–with mad Mel–than hitherto understood) said about the FBI or CIA or one of those homelandsecurity acronyms that they would probably tell her “to bugger off”, then in the next breath said “I probably lost a bottle of Grange over that”…..and no further explanation (which means 99.99% of the audience in the USA didn’t understand).

  10. David Coady

    Nick Davies is a strange case. He’s done genuinely good work, especially in exposing the abuses of the Murdochs. But, like a lot of “professional” journalists, he has a pathological hatred of new media.

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