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When Assange meets Nasrallah, you learn the most about Assange (+video)

Julian Assange, the embattled Wikileaks leader, started his new chat show with an interview of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

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He'd be probably respond that he wouldn't have it any other way. After all, he's repeatedly lambasted the traditional press as an aider and abetter of perfidy. For instance last year he said: "The media in general are so bad we have to question we'd be better without them all together. They're so distortive to how the world actually is that the result is that we see wars and corrupt governments continue on... nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been the result of media lies."

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Staff writer

Dan Murphy is a staff writer for the Monitor's international desk, focused on the Middle East. Murphy, who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and more than a dozen other countries, writes and edits Backchannels. The focus? War and international relations, leaning toward things Middle East.

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At the risk of being branded as hypocrite defender of the "mainstream media" to which I (sort of) belong, to lay responsibility for Vietnam, the scores of wars in post-colonial Africa and the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan at the feet of "media lies" may be a bit of simplification.

But his own avowed disdain for propaganda and branding of himself as a tireless seeker of the truth makes the station he's tied up with all the more interesting. RT is a Kremlin propaganda channel, and its reporting on the Middle East (the area of its coverage I'm most familiar with) isn't merely slanted by the interests of the Russian government. It's often outrageously biased to the point of making things up out of whole cloth. For instance, a string of reports by the station from Tripoli, Libya in July and August of last year made obviously false claims about advances for Muammar Qaddafi's army.

Even as Tripoli was falling, and throngs of celebrating rebels filled the capital's main square (with footage carried live around the world) RT, insisted it wasn't happening. The station's main on the ground reporter Lizzie Phelan made her own biases clear as day on her blog: "While the journalists suffering from cabin fever in Tripoli’s Rixos hotel, publish their dreams that imperialism’s lackies (the rebels/rats) have taken Zawiya, Ghuriyan and Sorman, they are ignoring a decisive moment in the crisis. That is the liberation of the hitherto rebel-held area of Misratah." (No, Misurata was never retaken by Qaddafi's forces).

Assange anticipated complaints about his work with RT. "There’s Julian Assange, enemy combatant, traitor, getting into bed with the Kremlin and interviewing terrible radicals from around the world," Assange told RT, describing what he said would be the line of attack against him. "But I think it’s a pretty trivial kind of attack on character. If they actually look at how the show is made: we make it, we have complete editorial control, we believe that all media organizations have an angle, all media organizations have an issue. RT is a voice of Russia, so it looks at things from the Russian agenda. The BBC is a voice of the British government. Voice of America is a voice of the American government. It is the clashing of these voices together that reveals the truth about the world as a whole."


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