Monday, December 6, 2010

Post Continues Misleading About Wiki Founder Charges

Without seeking comment from any Swedish authorities regarding their investigation, The Post continues to spread the unproven falsehood that Wikileaks founder Assange is a sexual predator, by claiming in an article published today that Assange is being sought for questioning regarding the "sexual assault" of two women. The Post frames this story as a simple sexual assault, as contrasted with other more nuanced press accounts, such as one by UK publication The Guardian, outlined a complicated case wherein a Swedish prosecutor dropped one rape charge against Assange and reduced another (only to be overruled by a superior a week later, leading to a reinstatement of charges) and that both women admit the sex was consensual (a fact that the Post neglects to mention until near the end of its article). The Post then muddies the issue by stating that (according to an unnamed Swedish source) the women "conceded that sex with Assange started as consensual but allege that it later became non-consensual". Yet The Post was not able to get (or declined to publish) more details from their unnamed source about what exactly led to the purported withdrawal of consent, presumptively in mid-act?

Perhaps The Post decided not to explain the issue further because polling shows almost 50% of Americans have difficulty equating withdrawal of consent with rape, which would ruin what amounts to an attempt by the Post to present the matter as an open-and-shut case among an American readership that would be confused by extenuating details if the paper cited accounts that Assange is allegedly being accused of continuing with sexual activity post-consent after a condom broke (in one instance) and after a condom somehow was removed (in the other). Even those accounts (none of which are based on quotes from the women involved) may not tell the whole story, as other independent media outlets have reported that the charges in question are based merely on Assange engaging in consensual sex without wearing a condom at all, which is apparently an act punishable in Sweden with two years imprisonment (a state of affairs that would no doubt confuse the average American reader, whose definition of rape and sexual assault involves the absence of consent, not the absence of a prophylactic).

The Post also naturally neglected to report on (or investigate claims that) the issue is further muddied by apparent accounts that after the alleged assaults occurred, Swedish prosecutors got ahold of texts and Twitter messages celebrating sexual liaisons with Assange written by the women involved (both named in other publications but who I shall keep anonymous until their accusations are resolved).

This is not to mention the decision by the writer in this article to only focused on one leak (regarding American installations sensitive to attack) out of the thousands of leaks Wikileaks has provided, an act that would be oversimplified even if one decided to label it an oversimplification.

No comments: