Julian Assange is not very impressed with the international coverage provided by The New York Times, and he is not afraid to voice his opinion to the man in charge (and the rest of the world) as reported by SF Weekly. The Wikileaks founder appeared (via Skype) with Bill Keller at U.C. Berkeley in the Reva and David Logan Investigative Reporting Symposium moderated by Slate’s Jack Shafer.
Assange — perhaps upset by the comments the NYT executive editor made in a takedown/explanation of the publication’s collaboration with Wikileaks — said he thought the Paper of Record needed to do more when it comes to covering international events. (Keller, for his part, defended the “bag lady” description of his collaborator-turned-adversary as “colour” that was detailed to him by another reporter.)
“I say that 40 people covering the entire world in The New York Times, which is the opinion leader of the United States, is a state of desperation,” the Australian explained after Keller defended the size of the NYT‘s overseas reporting team.
Assange — either truth-teller or scorned, would-be hero, take your pick — also had some choice words about the Times‘ close relationship with the Pentagon.
“I’m sure you will see Bill Keller boast that they were hand in glove with the Pentagon,” he said. “But news organisations should be careful to understand their role. Their role is to hold powerful organisations into account. It is not to cover up.”