Jan 6, 2022Liked by Richard J. Tofel

Super analysis and great piece- thanks!

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Maybe if mainstream Journalists remembered the following. The Fourth Estate: The notion that the Press is the fourth estate rests on the idea that the media’s function is to act as a guardian of the public interest and as a watchdog on the activities of government.

At the moment we all feel the words "public interest" and government are reversed, or at a minimum public interest is more elite focused and not so much public.

Assange a Journalist; maybe not, but doing work that needs to be done certainly Yes.

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I think I agree with the first point (regarding the ethics and legality of Assange's actions), but I'm confused about the second one. Why exactly *shouldn't* he be considered a "journalist"?Because his actions may have been motivated by an anti-US political agenda? Of course, countless journalists are motivated by politics of all kinds. What exactly is the line that Assange crossed that disqualifies him from the title?

My feeling is that, in the world of 2022, it's pointless to try to define what a "journalist" is or isn't. It's a word as expansive and shape-shifting as "activist." It seems more honest to me nowadays to think of journalism as something that people *do* -- all sorts of people, to varying degrees, at different points -- rather than defining what people are.

Whatever else he did (or why he did it, or the bad things he may have done along the way), Assange did publish information of great interest -- which seems like an act of "journalism" even if it seems distasteful or unpleasant to call the man himself a "journalist." Or am I missing something?

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