Garland: What is your take on Assange? Are you a supporter of Assange? Opposed to Assange? What’s your take on the controversial Julian Assange?
Craddick: I’m a huge supporter of Assange. I think that he plays the role that he has made in the international community very well. I think that the disclosure that WikiLeaks gives us is great. I think that their role in doing that needs to be protected. I think that when the world has reached the state that it is, we need more of that type of disclosure because those of us who are not in with the establishment, I feel, need to constantly be given an even footing to make sure that we can compete, that we can stay appraised of what’s really going on.
Craddick: I think that WikiLeaks fills a very important role. You might not agree with Julian Assange on everything, but I think everyone can agree that the role he plays is very important and needs to be preserved.
Lee: Actually, Dr. Leon, since we’re joined in the studio by Dr. William Leon, what’s your take on Assange?
Dr. Leon: Oh, I agree with the guest 1,000%. I think Julian Assange has played an incredibly valuable role in providing accurate rater inside information so the people can understand what’s really behind the actions that are being taken and whose interests are truly being served.
Lee: Yeah. We had a guest, I forget who said it earlier in the week. It’s very hard to be not mixed about Assange in the sense that I know very few people who are like, “I agree with every single thing Julian Assange has done.” Does that make sense? It’s very hard to go down the list, but that being said, you can’t deny his impact. Broadly speaking, in an age where media is so controlled, I mentioned I wrote for “Huffington Post” and I wrote for “Breitbart” and to see the failure of the new media. William talked about how disobedient media was a response to the mainstream media. Look, the new media has failed.
Lee: “Huffington Post” and “Breitbart” had a chance to really take on the mainstream media and do something different. We’ve seen it on this show, Garland. Who’s covering the Bill Browder story? “HuffPost” on the left or “Breitbart” on the right?
Garland: Neither.
Lee: Neither. Nobody.
Garland: Let me throw this out to you-
Lee: I could name 100 other stories.
Garland: -to you, Will, and that is something that I’ve seen. That is, okay, this new alternate media website comes up, “Huffington Post,” whatever the case may be, right? They start off and they’re outside of the normal media. Once they start making a lot of money, once they start getting a lot of clicks, once they start getting people behind them, big investors, it seems to me that a lot of-
Lee: And sell out to a big corporation.
Garland: I started watching them and what happened was during the primaries, I was a big Bernie Sanders supporter, and I started seeing these sites that they were very progressive sites and they would just report. Then all of a sudden, they were totally anti-Bernie and pro-Hillary. They went from just reporting what was that, to actually being a part of the media.
Garland: It’s almost like a development stage where somebody starts a little old news website and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Before you know it, it gets absorbed by this Borg-esque kind of monster and it becomes part of the mainstream media.
Lee: With “Breitbart,” they’re putting John Bolton on the radio every single week. John Bolton is a neocon and he’s supported by Robert Mercer.
Garland: Oh, the billionaire.
Lee: Huge donor. Just go to OpenSecrets.org. Look it up. It’s a matter of record. What happens is in the case of the “HuffPost,” Time Warner buys them out. In the case of “Breitbart,” Mercer gets involved.
Garland: In the case of “Mother Jones,” which was progressive-
Lee: Yes, “Mother Jones.”
Garland: It’s now owned by the MacArthur Foundation, which has investment assets of $6.28 billion. If I’m gonna sell out, I will say, I’m for sale for $6.28 billion.
Lee: Even “The Intercept,” Pierre Omidyar, is a big investor in “The Intercept.”
Garland: He’s the guy that owns eBay, right?
Lee: Yes, exactly right.
Garland: How does disobedient media stop-
Lee: Let me just say this, though. All of those sites are capable of doing good work and there are good reporters at all of those sites who do stuff.
Dr. Leon: They are doing good work. They’re just not doing as good of work as they could do.
Garland: Disobedient media, tell people why disobedient media is different.
Craddick: Yeah, well, I think that what you’re saying about even the new media being controlled or influenced to a certain extent is completely true. Iran was a great example of that. Look at how everyone jumped on the bus to start going off about how great the protests were and how we need to support regime change in Iran, and just getting on the train and really pushing that narrative.
Craddick: I think that for us, it is really difficult. It is really difficult because, like you said, the second you start getting that ad revenue coming in, the second you have outside investment, it’s not always possible that you can get that and have the people who are supporting you not wanna pull strings or not have requests or demands.
Lee: They’re investing for a reason.
Craddick: That is the problem, is it’s almost like even like you were saying with “The Intercept,” “Huffington Post.” You can look at their supporters and look at their politics and you can know exactly how the outlets they support are going to be reporting and who they will support and will not support.
Lee: Yeah, and like I say, as somebody who’s worked in new media, who really felt like there was a promise of new media, like, “Okay, we’re gonna fight back,” I’ve been doing this long enough where six years ago I felt like, “Okay, we’re gonna start to really push back on the mainstream media.” Unfortunately, I just see it getting co-opted. Dr. Leon, we have a different background, but the frustration I’m talking about, do you know what I’m talking about?
Dr. Leon: Oh, I see it in a number of forums. I even see it with satellite radio. It’s clicks and it’s ad revenue and content, to a great degree. They want as much content as possible, but the quality of that content will start to take a backseat so long as the ad dollars are coming in and the clicks, the mouse clicks, are on the screen. That’s the metrics that all of this is coming down to.
Garland: Last but not least, I think we can’t forget there is “The Washington Post” model where the media entity doesn’t need to make money anymore because the person has so much money, they can use that as a bullhorn.