The Hammer and Nail Convention

Following the recent arrest/re-arrest of Julian Assange, there has been a lot of disturbing commentary.  TAFKAS does not want to start a conversation about Assange per se but rather around the commentary around Assange.

The chattering class seems to have collectively lost its mind about Assange. Not surprisingly there are lots of opinions and assessments. But rather than discuss what did or didn’t do or is alleged to have done, and the consequences/non consequences thereof, there seems to be a disproportionate discussion on whether Assange is a journalist (or not) and whether Wikileaks is a publisher (or not).  Who cares?

On the weekend, Peter Greste wrote in the Nin-Fax papers that:

Julian Assange is no journalist: don’t confuse his arrest with press freedom

In the National Review, David French wrote:

Julian Assange Is Not a Journalist

Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post wrote:

Julian Assange isn’t a journalist or a Daniel Ellsberg. He’s just a ‘cypherpunk.’

Was TAFKAS asleep when “journalists” became a special class warranting special protections and special status?  TAFKAS contributes to this august public blog (and other places also).  Whether TAFKAS is a “journalist” or not should not impact what speech rights TAFKAS has.

This seems another demonstration of a self appointed clericy seeking to claim powers and status for themselves above others.

Whether Assange is a journalist should have no bearing on his free speech rights and nor should it give Assange some special privilege or protection if he has broken a law.

Get over yourselves you pretentious clique of clowns.  If you want to be celebrities, go work for the ABC and get your own show about yourselves.  Oh hang on ….

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22 Responses to The Hammer and Nail Convention

  1. tombell

    According to the MEAA website, journalists subscribe to the Code of Ethics below. From which it is apparent that very few of the current crop of so-called ” reporters” are anything other than left leaning apparatchiks. Maybe Assange has more right to describe himself as a jouno than most?

    Journalists will educate themselves about ethics and apply the following standards:
    Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.
    Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or intellectual disability.
    Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.
    Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
    Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.
    Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.
    Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.
    Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
    Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
    Do not plagiarise.
    Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.
    Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.

  2. stackja

    Once there were reporters who observed and wrote about events. Now we have journalists.

  3. Suburban Boy

    I am no fan of Assange.

    But I agree completely with the argument re journalists as a newly-discovered protected species.

    And re tombell’s post: if that code of ethics wasn’t real it would be a hilarious parody.

  4. Nato

    Lol credentialism. You can’t be a real journalist unless you spend years at University proving you will write what powerful people tell you to.

  5. Behind Enemy Lines

    Whether TAFKAS is a “journalist” or not should not impact what speech rights TAFKAS has.

    This seems another demonstration of a self appointed clericy seeking to claim powers and status for themselves above others.

    Whether Assange is a journalist should have no bearing on his free speech rights and nor should it give Assange some special privilege or protection if he has broken a law.

    Like so much of the left’s successes over the last fifty years, this has been a case of gently boiling the frog. Clever lawyers (remember Turnbull and Spycatcher?) have used lefty courts to steadily expand the press’s ability to break the law with near-impunity. About the only limit on them these days seems to be the Commonwealth’s approach to defamation.

    It’s way past time to fix this situation and send a few good examples to prison for their trouble.

  6. Roger

    Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.

    Hello, ABC?

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    The chattering class seems to have collectively lost its mind about Assange.

    Orange man bad. Pale man denied manifest destiny of designated first wymminses Prez, allowing bad orange man to beat woke wymminses’ wymminse candidate. Therefore pale man bad.

  8. duncanm

    The Universal Declaration of Human rights says nothing of the ‘press’ and ‘journalists’

    Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Its revealing that Greste and his fellow travellers have distorted this to include the usual requirements for ‘nuance’ and ‘context’.

    Raw information is bad – you are too stupid to interpret it without the help of a ‘journalist’.

    Greste:

    Journalism also requires detailed context and analysis to explain why the information is important, and what it all means.

  9. duncanm

    .. to be fair, some of them get it.

    https://www.crikey.com.au/2019/04/15/wikileaks-julian-assange-journalism/

    The debate over whether Julian Assange is a journalist or not serves no purpose other than to undercut future press freedom.
    ..
    To prioritise the status of “journalist” over “journalism” is to get it precisely arse-about. Journalism is a practice. You become a journalist by practicing journalism

  10. Tel

    This seems another demonstration of a self appointed clericy seeking to claim powers and status for themselves above others.

    Yup … and that includes the power to select the membership of said clericy. Self-licking ice cream.

    Michael Malice @michaelmalice
    Let’s be clear: Julian Assange is not a journalist.
    He uncovered and released information that the political establishment and government wanted to stay hidden. Does that sound like the work of a journalist?

    A proper Randian, not our annoying drop-in sock Randian.

  11. Percy Popinjay

    Orange man bad. Pale man denied manifest destiny of designated first wymminses Prez, allowing bad orange man to beat woke wymminses’ wymminse candidate. Therefore pale man bad.

    Pale man need to experience Arkancide event.

  12. John A

    duncanm #2989225, posted on April 16, 2019, at 11:49 am

    The Universal Declaration of Human rights says nothing of the ‘press’ and ‘journalists’

    Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Yes, and on a related topic, maybe Rugby Australia, Qantas and Mr Alan Joyce need to read Article 19, too.

  13. Iampeter

    Was TAFKAS asleep when “journalists” became a special class warranting special protections and special status? TAFKAS contributes to this august public blog (and other places also). Whether TAFKAS is a “journalist” or not should not impact what speech rights TAFKAS has.

    You’ve missed the very important story here.
    What Assange did was help steal classified information. What he did was not journalism, it was espionage, with the intent of weakening America’s and the West’s, standing in the world.
    He should have the book thrown at him for this, but at the same time it’s crucial that this doesn’t set a precedent where actual journalists/bloggers/unimportant-technicality-you’ve-mistakenly-focussed-on do publish classified information, that they are protected in doing so. THIS is why everyone is unannimously distancing themselves from him.

    TL/DR: whether you identify as a blogger or journalist is not the issue, Assange is a stupid spy wannabe, acting against Western interests and should be punished accordingly, without being mistaken for a legitimate “leaker” or “transparency” advocate and this enourmously setting back transparency advocacy.

  14. You’ve missed the very important story here.

    No TAFKAS has not. TAFKAS deliberately avoided it. TAFKAS even said as much:

    does not want to start a conversation about Assange per se

    But what TAFKAS is doing right now is noting 2.14pm on Tuesday 16 April 2019 in his diary as the first and possibly last time he agreed with Iampeter.

  15. If you really want to know what Assange is about have a listen to this – https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/julian-assange/11005162

    It is one idiot (Phillip Adams) interviewing another idiot (Yanis Varoufakis) about the actions of a third idiot (Julian Assange).

  16. Iampeter

    A proper Randian, not our annoying drop-in sock Randian.

    Malice is not a “Randian” LOL, he’s a clueless anarchist, the worst type of libertarian.
    Seriously, someone who likes Rand and agrees with you on something random, doesn’t make them a Randian.

    How embarrassingly, yet unsuprisingly, superficial of you.

  17. Iampeter

    But what TAFKAS is doing right now is noting 2.14pm on Tuesday 16 April 2019 in his diary as the first and possibly last time he agreed with Iampeter.

    We don’t have agreements or disagreements, Spartacus.
    Our first exchange demonstrated, via the embarrassingly superficial questions you were asking me, in an attempt to mock me, that you have about as much understanding of politics as a Marxist teenager. Except, a Marxist teenager doesn’t need to have the fact that he is on the left wing side of politics explained to him.
    Discovering that you have a pretty poor understanding of things, despite years of blogging on the subject, shattered any illusions you had about being an aficionado and you started with the ad hominems, intermixed with ignoring me. Pretty much like the other embarrassing posters here who run off anyone who might actually know what they’re talking about, because it’s pretty triggering to realize how ill informed and left wing they are. On a right wing blog. For some reason.

    So we don’t have disagreement, what we have is just you being intellectually dishonest.

    In your defense, at least you’re not publishing hopeless books and charging people for talks, like mainstream conservatives lol.

  18. Iampeter

    Oh and just another thing on Malice, while I criticize him on fundamental grounds, compared to conservatives he is a shinning beacon of reason and integration.

    You should watch his Rubin interview before you embrace him too quickly.

    I don’t think you realize the contempt those who are even remotely right wing and have even some understanding, have for the shit-show that is the conservative movement.

    He isn’t one of mine, but he sure as hell isn’t one of yours LOL.

  19. Tiny Dancer

    The left considered him a hero and a journalist in 2011 with their Walkley Award.

  20. Zatara

    In 2011 he was still riding the wave of leftist adulation because he was attacking the US govt.

    He hadn’t yet released some of the Democrat party’s dirtiest little secrets.

  21. NB

    I imagine the discussion in relation to journalist/journalism, press/blogs etc is anchored in United States law. The following gives a hint of what is going on:

    I think this focus on journalism emerges from the USA Bill of Rights and its reference to the freedom of the press, and subsequent court decisions on the topic.
    ————————-
    https://billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/
    The Bill of Rights
    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    https://criticalskillsblog.com/2019/02/26/bill-of-rights-freedom-of-the-press/
    New York Times Co. vs. United States (1971) –

    This case was about the release of the Pentagon Papers. At the US Government’s request, the district court issued an injunction ordering the New York Times not to publish the documents because of national security. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the Times. In dissent, Chief Justice Warren Burger noted that the “imperative of a free and unfettered press comes into collision with another imperative, the effective functioning of a complex, modern government.” He challenged the wisdom of publishing the highly confidential intelligence, but respected the freedom offered by the First Amendment: “Only those who view the First Amendment as an absolute in all circumstances — a view I respect, but reject — can find such cases as these to be simple or easy.” This case is extremely important to journalists, as the court recognized the need to find a balance between the right to a free press and the need for the government to protect national security.

    ————————
    Would a non-journalist have been able to win this case? I don’t know.

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