Tuesday 1 March 2011

Guardian journalists fail Assange masculinity test

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop gives an extraordinary account in the latest issue of the magazine of "a curious conversation" with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

At one point, Assange claims there is a conspiracy against him by journalists who are Jewish. Then he claims that Guardian journalists are rude about him because he stopped them "ripping him off" for millions of dollars, is outraged Nick Davies reported the leaked police material from the sex case against him in Sweden and that the Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger did not stop it going into the paper.

Perhaps, the most bizarre exchange reported by Hislop is: " 'The reporters on the Guardian disappointed me,' he (Assange) said. 'They failed my masculinity test'. Er, what? 'They behaved like gossipping schoolgirls,' he said."

Hislop adds: "I said that if he thought the notoriously po-faced Guardian staff were 'gossiping school-girls' he was going to be very disappointed by us at Private Eye. He ignored the comment and told me to examine my conscience."

Private Eye has a website but this story is not yet online.

UPDATE: Julian Assange has responded: "Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, 'Jewish conspiracy' is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting. Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has attempted, perhaps not surprisingly, to justify one smear with another in the same direction. That he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist as a result, does not mean that it is right. WikiLeaks promotes the ideal of "scientific journalism" - where the underlaying evidence of all articles is available to the reader precisely inorder to avoid these type of distortions. We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support from pan-Arab democracy activists and others who share our hope for a just world."

Private Eye says: "The Eye invited a response from Julian Assange on 16 Feb. It finally arrived on 1 March. We went to press on 28 Feb."

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