Bill Keller Tells All About Julian Assange

Times executive editor Bill Keller weighs in, in full, on the paper’s relationship with Julian Assange—such as it is, as he describes Assange as “arrogant, thin-skinned, conspiratorial and oddly credulous.” The relationship, well! Assange was pissed that the Times wouldn’t throw a link to the Wikileaks website, and then he got too big for his britches. Oh, and then he started wearing “skinny suits.” Unfortunately, Keller reads the Swedish sex charges against Assange rather glossily to my taste: “Two Swedish women filed police complaints claiming that Assange insisted on having sex without a condom; Sweden’s strict laws on nonconsensual sex categorize such behavior as rape.” That is not really how I would describe their testimony. In any event, the Times makes much of its willingness to choose and redact Wikileaks data that might embarrass the government or private individuals who provided information. They agreed to not publish things “like a cable describing an intelligence-sharing program that took years to arrange and might be lost if exposed.” Gosh that is intriguing! I sure would like to know more. Keller also makes an excellent case against the many popular stupid charges against the Times: “The journalists at The Times have a large and personal stake in the country’s security. We live and work in a city that has been tragically marked as a favorite terrorist target…. Moreover, The Times has nine staff correspondents assigned to the two wars still being waged in the wake of that attack, plus a rotating cast of photographers, visiting writers and scores of local stringers and support staff.”