NYT's Criticism of 'Arrogant' Assange Still Ringing

Editor Bill Keller calls him 'conspiratorial,' and WikiLeaks fires back
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2011 12:36 PM CST
Julian Assange faces the media in London in this Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 file photo.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)

(Newser) New York Times editor Bill Keller's lengthy essay on dealing with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange continues to ricochet around the blogosphere, with most of the attention focused on his not-so-flattering assessment of Assange as a person. He describes the WikiLeaker as "arrogant, thin-skinned, conspiratorial, and oddly credulous" and says Assange became "transformed by his outlaw celebrity." The WikiLeaks' honcho went from an unkempt "office geek" type to a "cult figure" with styled hair and a penchant for "fashionably skinny suits and ties," writes Keller.

He also describes the falling-out that occurred between the newspaper and the "conspiratorial" Assange, defends his paper's journalistic motives, suspects "the impact of WikiLeaks on the culture has probably been overblown," and, despite the frayed relations, thinks it's "chilling to contemplate" government persecution of WikiLeaks.

  • WikiLeaks tweeted that the essay is another "self-serving smear."
  • New York thinks the best part is Keller's description of the cloak-and-dagger logistics, along with his suggestion that WikiLeaks hacked into reporters' emails. Click for more.
  • The Awl thinks Keller glosses over the sexual assault allegations. Click for more.
  • Wired's roundup notes Keller's emphasis that the Times treated Assange as a source instead of a partner, and says it "appears aimed at distancing his paper" from him. Click for more.

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