Michael Gerson: The hypocrisy behind Julian Assange's hero turn

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  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 13, 2017 7:03 p.m.

    I my search for truth. I try to keep an open mind, liberal. I read and listen to other points of view to form an opion. It seems that the word liberal is only if ya accept the point of view and don't try to express your own. To me if all I knew is he was a hacker, bad guy but at the risk of personal sacrifice to tell the truth of treason. In the country ya believe in. Hero.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Jan. 10, 2017 8:42 a.m.

    Michael Gerson: The hypocrisy behind Julian Assange's hero turn


    Yes, the hypocrisy.

    That's called -- losing your MORAL compass.
    No longer judging things by what is right or wrong,
    but by what is good for Trump, and what is not good for Trump.

    Republicans defending this have lost their moral compass...

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 9, 2017 7:59 p.m.

    @ 2 bits

    "What she's referring to is the 'Fifth Estate'. Google it."

    No, I really did mean Fifth Column. Google it instead and see if you still agree with me.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 1:07 p.m.

    Got denied once. I'll try again.

    He was a hero to the left when he leaked damaging info about our war plans during the Bush Administration. Now he's a "bad-guy" to them because he had the audacity to leak info damaging to Hillary Clinton (and others).

    I think he was a bad-guy (not a "hero") both times. How's that for being consistent?

    Anybody who thinks he was a hero when he leaked info damaging to Clinton, but a cad when he leaked info during the Bush Presidency... is blinded by partisanship.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 12:43 p.m.

    Donald Trump reminds me of some of the children in elementary schools where I was once a teacher.

    The insecure 6th grade bully who makes life miserable for fourth graders on the playground. (Mocking and pushing them around as DJT has done with that reporter or threats of lawsuits filed by his legions of lawyers)

    First grade kids who are still ego-centric. (Teacher! Mommy! Look at me! Watch me! See what I can do!) (Tweeting at 3 a.m. with name-calling and comments about how much better his ratings were than Schwartzenegger’s)

    Preschoolers who haven’t developed maturity required to accept responsibility for themselves. (He did it! She did it! It was the lying media! I never said that!)

    We have elected a child in an adult body to be our president.

    That’s frightening.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 12:21 p.m.

    Initially... Cons vilified Assange.

    Now... Cons venerate Assange as a hero.


    Not if you're a Con.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 11:35 a.m.

    I agree with Karen 7:20
    RE: "Wake up, America. The Fifth Column is us"...
    What she's referring to is the "Fifth Estate". Google it.

    She is right. The Fourth-Estate (the news media, especially print journalism or "the press") are corrupt, partisan, and merely propaganda arms of the political parties in USA.

    That leaves it to the Fifth-Estate (a socio-cultural reference to groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, most associated with bloggers, journalists publishing in non-mainstream media outlets, and the social media)...

    The 5th-Estate has become very partisan and divided as well. You can find either brand you want, but it's very hard to find one that is in the middle/non-partisan.

    We do need to wake up... before it's too late.


    RE: "ideological tribalism we've sunk to"...
    I assume she's open minded enough to admit there's ideological-tribalism on both sides (not just one).

    She is right... "The most dangerous enemy we have right now is ourselves".

    Terrorists have been dividing Americans against ourselves for a long time (not just since Trump came on the scene).

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2017 11:35 a.m.

    2 bits,

    You said "Remember NBC's leaking the secretly recorded Billy Bush conversation?" Secretly recorded? What did he think he was wearing the mike for? Is NBC a foreign government? Did NBC hack into someones account to get the Trump tape? Lets quit making excuses for the next President of the United States and hold him accountable for what he says and does and what he has said and done.

    Being the independent that you are, I would think you could see that neither side owns or is exempt from the divisive behavior. You said "Oh get over yourself and this divisive malarkey you are selling. This labeling people and lumping people into your political groups so you can vilify them has to stop." I agree with you, but why do you only expect those that disagree with you to stop the behavior but not your side?

    Did you say that Mitch McConnell divisive statement about making President Obama a one term president was wrong ? How about Jason Chaffetz passion for investigating only democrats. Do you find that divisive?

    I hope the new president makes America a better place for all not just some groups and I will gladly vote for him in 2020.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 10:23 a.m.

    @LOU Montana7:12 a.m.
    RE: "Fox News is now an outlet for the Russian version of events"...
    "FOX News is a propaganda tool for the Russians"...
    "Trump is a tool for the Russians"...
    "They have attacked our soldiers, politicians and working class Americans"...
    Oh get over yourself and this divisive malarkey you are selling.

    Now we're Russians if we didn't vote Hillary Clinton?
    A few years ago we were Nazis, and planet-haters (if we didn't vote Al Gore).

    This labeling people and lumping people into your political groups so you can vilify them has to stop.

    Where did conservatives go wrong? Where did Progressives go wrong? They lost the election!

    I think where Progressives went wrong is... they nominated an old-timer politics-as-usual candidate. They turned bitter and divisive and lost the hearts and minds of middle-class Americans. And their candidate had less energy and got out-worked by the other candidate.

    About wikileaks October-surprise... There were leaks damaging to GOP the same day.

    Remember NBC's leaking the secretly recorded Billy Bush conversation?

    Was NBC a hero? Was WIkiLeaks a hero? Did same thing.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 9:52 a.m.

    GingerMarshall: "@Mike Richards: "Lest the Left forget...." We can't forget - the right brings it up incessantly, over-and-over..."

    Gee. I wonder why the right keeps bringing it up? Could it be that Hillary supporters constantly deny that she ever did anything wrong? Could it be that the left insists that there 'wasn't a smidgen of corruption' with any of their actions?

    Imagine if Trump supporters constantly denied that Trump has ever said anything crude, rude, or socially unacceptable. Do you think that the left might bring up examples to the contrary, over and over again?

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 9:10 a.m.

    It makes me laugh seeing right wing extremists who are on these threads daily complaining about anti American, anti morals, anti honesty, anti atheist, anti "main stream media"........and then vote for and support Trump? The epitome of all the words describing Democrats?
    Listen, anybody who is honest here would admit that if it was Hillary praising Putin the same people allowing Trump to do the right would blast her to the netherlands.
    So predictable. There is no credibility from the people supporting Trump for these reasons.

  • Traveller Farmington, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 8:55 a.m.

    Does Trump agreeing with Assange that the US intelligence agencies have it wrong really mean that he wouldn't arrest and imprison Assange if he had the chance?

    Sean Hannity has shown he has flexible principles on this, but does he represent the GOP?

    I'm happy Clinton lost, but I still want Assange held accountable for what he's done.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 9, 2017 6:23 a.m.

    @Mike Richards;

    As if "the right" were any better.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Jan. 8, 2017 5:54 p.m.

    Mr. Assange is a rather dubious character in his personal life. As to his public life, either release of classified documents is good or bad. We either embrace it always or we condemn it always. We don't vary how we look at it based on how it affects "our side".

    You like him? Then you better like others who do the same (and more) that hurts "your side". You dislike him? Then you better dislike others who do this even when it benefits "your side".

    National policy should have no place for the advancement of party objectives. Period.

  • GingerMarshall Brooklyn, OH
    Jan. 8, 2017 4:48 p.m.

    @Mike Richards: "Lest the Left forget...."

    We can't forget - the right brings it up incessantly, over-and-over, asserting as fact rumors, allegations, and unproven claims.

    But it isn't mentioned here because it isn't the topic of conversation - it is distraction and misdirection.

    The topic we're discussing is whether the Russian government openly worked to get Trump elected and why?

    Is Trump a knowing Russian agent?

    Is he being controlled by Russian interests?

    How much of Trump is owned by Russian investors?

    What will he do for them?

    What will his Secretary of State, a former oil exec who was working hand-in-glove with Russia to open oil fields, do for Russia?

    Why were key Trump campaign people paid by Russians? What were they doing?

    Talk about Clinton in Clinton stories. Here we're talking about the Trump-Russia connection, and why Russia was working so hard for Trump.

    It is the patriotic thing to do.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    Jan. 8, 2017 4:40 p.m.

    Mike - Trump hasn't lied? Ok.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 8, 2017 2:23 p.m.

    Lest the Left forget, Hillary lied about her server. She lied about "wiping" it. She lied about classified information stored on that server. She lied about Benghazi. She lied about "fund raising" or "pay to play" as Secretary of State. Bill lied about his meeting with Lynch. Obama lied about Iran. He lied about Benghazi. He lied about ObamaCare.

    So now that the Left has been caught lying, time after time, their reaction is to hurl insults against those who exposed their lies. They show no remorse for the dirty deeds, only anger at having been caught.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2017 1:20 p.m.

    @Mike Richards,

    So I hear your criticism of the collective "media" and how they just didn't inform us Americans the way they should have about certain folks. So now how do you feel about Trump being angry about an intelligence leak (about the hacking) to the media? He is calling for investigations now. So I'm curious... whose side are you on?? Trumps, or the media?

  • GingerMarshall Brooklyn, OH
    Jan. 8, 2017 11:57 a.m.

    This makes Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning both heroes - they hacked and released information about crimes, lies, and extensive misdeeds by government operatives...

    Will the Trumpers who are nearly hero-worshipping Putin and Asange also now lionize the very similar patriotic acts of Manning and Snowden?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 8, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    Mr Richards,

    Assange had lots of stuff to release about Clinton and the Democrats. And it was damaging and telling.

    But, do you think that a hack of the RNC, or Donald Trump, or Paul Ryan, or even Jason Chaffetz would not produce some of the same? Do you sincerely believe that the members of the GOP are clean?

    Damaging information was not released on the GOP side either because there was no attempt to gather it, or because it was not in line with the goals.

    One would be naive to believe that they same type of damaging info does not exist on the GOP.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 8, 2017 10:07 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    The not to be released emails of the RNC and some of their sycophants would should they lied as well. But they weren't released for a reason. Anybody who supports the fugitive Assange and Putin over our intelligence patriots should move. They're not Americans, they're partisan shills, nothing more.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    Jan. 8, 2017 10:01 a.m.

    Mike, lets be super honest here. The media "lied" on both sides. Let's not pretend this is a one sided story, a coin with only one side. For example, you site " He showed how the Clinton "charity" really worked. And yet since that time, the Trump Foundation has been shut down do to irregularities in its business practices - specifically funds from the foundation being used to directly help Trump and pay his expenses. One such example is after the Attorney General for Florida decided to back out of the Trump University case, the Trump Foundation made a sizable donation to her re-election campaign. Under investigation by the State of New York for such irregularities, and the fact that the Foundation wasn't licensed or registered as a non-profit in many states it operated in, Trump decided to shutter the foundation. Assange didn't release documents on that story -did he.

    The rule of law, even the constitution, is why the media doesn't brake the law, publishing documents that were illegally obtained. Assange is no patron saint of anything.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 8, 2017 9:58 a.m.

    The miraculous elevation of Assange from condemned pariah to almost hero is quite something indeed. This article discusses this transformation very eloquently and should be read by one and all.
    I pointed it out all summer as the wikileaks came out each day. This isn't just harm to democrats. This is harm to our nation. We should all be concerned about this.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 8, 2017 8:55 a.m.

    The "problem" is that the media lied to us - repeatedly. The media served as Obama's press and as Hillary's press. The media covered up everything of importance that had any ties to government. The media failed to investigate. The media failed to inform. The media lied!

    Assange simply gave the world copies of actual emails that showed that Obama lied, that Hillary lied, that Bill lied, that Lynch lied, that Comey lied. He showed us the back room deals in the DNC. He showed us who gave Hillary the questions before the debates. He showed us who paid Hillary, where and when. He showed how the Clinton "charity" really worked. He exposed the unlawful sex lives of many world leaders. He, and those like him, did what the media should have been doing for the last eight years.

    Now the media wonders why? Is the media really that obtuse?

  • General Mormon Farmington, UT
    Jan. 8, 2017 8:27 a.m.

    Michael Gerson: The hypocrisy behind Julian Assange's hero turn


    This article should be read and re-read in every corner of America!

    What we see happening [mostly be the right-wing] is a willingness to shift morals, commit treason of country to promote a Party, and demonizing your friends, and Sanctifying enemies in favor of scoring political points.

    Germany - 1938

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 8, 2017 8:22 a.m.

    Great column by Gerson, but I think he's missing the obvious additional level of tribalism: the Trump tribe.

    This is revealed by observing other Republicans not being swayed by Assange, Americans who have known enough about Assange to see while he's currently a "hero", he could easily become a sworn enemy, tomorrow.

    The Trump tribe is very easy to detect - anything that elevates Trump is magnificent; anything that detracts from his awesomeness is denigrated. That status can change in extraordinarily short periods of time.

    It's a transparent reflection of his own worldview - the brash political outsider who doesn't care for the political establishment is, when it's all said and done, simply aligned with whatever is good - or aligned against whatever is bad - for Donald Trump.

    Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity are just along for the ride, whichever direction that goes.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    Jan. 8, 2017 7:54 a.m.

    What is most ironic about this was Assange tweeted his outrage over NBC news releasing a copy of the CIA report - can you believe that? Seems the Trump/Putin/Assange teams only likes it when they release or leak "secret" documents, but when others do it, its not fair.

    What is even funnier is now Trump wants a congressional investigation on how the report - which by the way he doesn't believe - was released to the American public. Add to this Trumps recent tweet that the US will have to pay for the Great Wall of Mexico after all, but that he will try to figure out how to make Mexico pay us back later. Imagine all our surprise/shock that Trump is backing off this campaign promise as well.

    There are certain things I am still hopeful will happen by Trump. Not any President is all bad, nor all good. I agree a goal should be better and safer relations with Russia. But his embracing Assange, and probably Snowden next, with all the hero worship of Putin, makes the coming years under the Tweeter-n-Chief a bit unsettling.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 8, 2017 7:20 a.m.

    I agree with Mr. Gerson. The most dangerous enemy we have right now is ourselves and the thought-less, ideological tribalism we've sunk to. If I'm Putin or Wahhabis, I don't have to do much to accomplish my goal of destabilizing the nation except continue to foment the division we're providing entirely on our own.

    Wake up, America. The Fifth Column is us.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Jan. 8, 2017 7:12 a.m.

    "Fox News is now an outlet for the Russian version of events." At last people are waking up!

    The motivation of Russia has been to divide our nation and FOX News has greatly assisted them. FOX News is a propaganda tool for the Russians. Trump is a tool for the Russians. It is plain as day and night. Divide and conqueror.

    FOX News has been a propaganda tool for the Russians for years. They have attacked our soldiers, politicians and working class Americans. No matter what the issue is they never agree with the Democrats, even when they are completely wrong.

    Where did conservatives go wrong?

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Jan. 8, 2017 7:02 a.m.

    How do you know the information you are getting is actually from Julian Assange?

    This is the stupidity of the Conservatives. If it sounds good to them then why ever check the facts?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 8, 2017 6:29 a.m.

    Party over Country.

    Illogical trumps logical if it helps my party.

    There are many Americans (including our President elect) who believe Julian Assange over the FBI. And the CIA. etc etc.

    Why is that? Is it because there is evidence that the FBI and CIA are lying? Or that they are being partisan? Or that they are out to get Trump?

    No, it is because of the nature of the information. Because Assange's version is more GOP favorable, it is believed over multiple US government agencies. Party over country

    And Assange goes from villian to hero in the eyes of the GOP. And based on what?
    Think about it.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Jan. 8, 2017 6:23 a.m.

    One of the biggest issues dogging Clinton during the election was her alleged mishandling of classified information. Day after day she was excoriated for that by, among others, her opponent and many commenters here on the DN site.

    But you cannot trash Clinton for mishandling classified documents and then turn around and hail Assange. This is a man tied to the Kremlin's state-run propaganda network and a trafficker in releasing illegally-obtained classified information for the stated agenda of embarrassing the United States, frustrating American foreign policy, and undermining confidence in US democratic institutions. His actions have put American lives at risk.

    You cannot reconcile criticism of Clinton with support to Assange.

    And now self-proclaimed "patriots" are willing to believe Assange over our own intelligence services because his claims support their side. This is political tribalism at its worst, and frankly I'm stunned to find a political base so irrationally devoted to Trump that it's willing to parrot this kind of propaganda, from the average internet commenter to a sycophantic Hannity and Palin.