Bill O’Reilly Calls Assange Anti-American

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O’Reilly hurled this wild and false charge on his show.

Actually, Assange has made his aim crystal clear: justice and a just civilization through transparency of institutions and through a free press. This is solidly in accord with traditional American values. O’Reilly knows this but doesn’t believe it. He thinks Assange is a liar. This doesn’t fly. Read what Assange has to say here and here. He is devoted to reporting truths that are being suppressed and kept secret, and the consistent history of WikiLeaks shows it. It is very implausible that a man would expose himself to vilification and the great dangers that Assange faces without a very strong belief in the higher values that he is passionate about. O’Reilly is afraid, not so much at the internet attacks that he mostly speaks of in the clip, but of what he slips in toward the end. He worries about “terrorists and anarchists” out to “destroy our way of life.” This is a strange fear in many ways. It actually seems to be, for one thing, a fear of liberty and a free press. It reminds me of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. That kind of suppression of political dissent was rejected by Americans when they elected Jefferson in 1800. These Acts were widely regarded as unconstitutional. For another thing, it is a fear of change, if that change means greater liberty and a lower degree of government control over people’s lives, as most anarchists want. It’s Bill O’Reilly who is standing up for anti-American values at this juncture. (Thanks to Bill Goss for alerting me to the O’Reilly clip.)

5:50 pm on December 11, 2010