(CBC) To some, he was a truth seeker bent on exposing government misdeeds. To others, he was a high-tech menace who helped Russian hackers deliver the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump.
But Julian Assange hasn’t necessarily changed, his critics say, even if perceptions of the WikiLeaks co-founder have.
After evidently overstaying his welcome as an asylum-seeker at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Assange now faces extradition to the United States and the possibility of up to five years in an American prison. […]
Assange was “already in a sinkhole” over reports he had alienated people in newsrooms with an overbearing style,” said David Szakonyi, a Russia specialist and professor at George Washington University. “Then you add in the rape accusations.”
Among liberals, support for Assange has plummeted since he first came to the world’s attention as “a combination of investigative journalist, plus freedom fighter, plus transparency advocate,” he said.
Today, Szakonyi sees Assange as a gear in the Russia propaganda machine who has fashioned himself into a “destructive conduit for information that maybe shouldn’t have been out in the public sphere.” He questions the civic value behind publishing the stolen DNC emails, which showed the party leadership’s bias toward Clinton for the Democratic nomination over her then-rival Bernie Sanders. […]
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