It’s the second of December 2017 and University Aula in Bergen is packed out by more than three hundred people. They’ve come to attend the well-known Holberg Debate, this time focusing on fake news and the role of the media.
Jonathan Heawood, the CEO of IMPRESS, the UK’s press regulator, heralded the changing of the guard. He explained the detrimental effect of advertisement driven revenue streams which had impacted on mainstream outlets and driven unethical behaviour which had seen increased focus on regulation. Heawood explained how this had created the perfect storm in which so-called alternative outlets such as Breitbart and InfoWars had risen to infamy. The newly codified standards of the press could be – and are already being – undermined by the explosion of unregulated and unethical new media.
Heawood starkly warned, as the advertising-led models of old failed, professional norms may evaoprate with them to the detriment of the public.
In his view, a further key challenge remains the prolification of propaganda, “which previously could be more easily discerned in the public sphere.” Rightly, he pointed out that the old markers and flags defining what was reliable and was not have been eroded completely. Lost on the map, as he put it.
Heawood was joined as a guest speaker by media polemicist John Pilger but neither of these men were the main event. Appearing by video link was suspected rapist, Russian asset, and prolific disinformation broadcaster Julian Assange – most recently and notably active in Catalonia at the Kremlin’s behest.
“”I think the media is, in general terms, one of the most destructive forces which has ever existed,” Assange said. Coming from him, that’s potentially one of the most hypocritical statements ever to exit the lips of a live human.”
Launching into a long-winded and contradictory tirade, the man who received and published emails hacked directly by the Russian state in order to influence the 2016 US election, outed himself one step further as a malicious entity and hostile state actor.
“I think the media is, in general terms, one of the most destructive forces which has ever existed,” Assange said. Coming from him, that’s potentially one of the most hypocritical statements ever to exit the lips of a living human.
He went on to claim that the media – not the military, not politicians – but the media had caused almost every war and gave a staggering invented statistic that every journalist was personally responsible for the deaths of 130 people as a result.
“The news has always been fake,” he added.
The suspected rapist has particular issues with being called a suspected rapist, despite the fact it’s absolutely factually accurate and easily verifiable with the Swedish prosecutor’s office – both on their website and if you call them, they speak excellent English.
Moving specifically onto the topic of CNN, the wanted man added he felt Trump is correct, in that the big media outlets are fuelled every day with fake news and reports. He outlined how he sees Trump as a positive force in calling this out.
Turning to Facebook and Google, both corporations forced to face up to their hosting of hostile state propaganda from Russia and Kremlin-supported far-right extremists in light of democratic interference across the globe – interference in which the suspected rapist was directly involved at the behest of Putin’s Federation – Assange confirmed his primary employment.
“Discussing Syria, the Russian spy and suspected rapist said that, compared with the US, the UK and France, the media power President Assad holds is non-existent. He then went on to state the media power Iran has is almost non-existent and for RU it is pretty much insignificant. The biscuit was taken from his earlier hypocritical statement with one of the largest lies ever to part company with a person’s mouth: under these regimes, media control is absolute and propaganda is king.”
He bemoaned the pressure applied to the companies to regain control of “information in the West to prevent popularism [sic]”.
The wanted sex offender specifically criticised the work of both Silicon Valley companies at the behest of the French government during the 2017 election which saw President Macron emerge victorious against Kremlin-financed, far-right extremist and EU fraudster Marine Le Pen.
The man who has evaded prosecution for years by hiding in an embassy called the removal of 30,000 fake Facebook accounts, the removal of disinformation and propaganda by Google, and the domestic blocking of media publication of Macron campaign emails – hacked by Russia – “a censorship system which was pro Macron.”
Discussing Syria, the Russian spy and suspected rapist said that, compared with the US, the UK and France, the media power President Assad holds is non-existent. He then went on to state the media power Iran has is almost non-existent and for RU it is pretty much insignificant.
The biscuit was taken from his earlier hypocritical statement with one of the largest lies ever to part company with a person’s mouth: under these regimes, media control is absolute and propaganda is king.
Of course, deceit comes naturally to most spies – and sex offenders too. In general terms. Assange may be a Russian espionage asset but he is only a suspected rapist
who has evaded being formally charged by going on the run, to be clear.
“Julian Assange is a liar. A deliberately deceitful, disingenuous
individual, and a hostile actor interfering in democracies across the
world, pushing the agenda of a criminal state engaged in acts of war against
On the known fake news surrounding Seth Rich, Assange offered a reward for information, claiming: “Allegations exist which are serious” and “Allegations from DNC staffers have been suppressed.” It has been long established that Russia hacked the DNC directly and exfiltrated the data themselves. Even Rich’s family have pleaded for the fake news surrounding their son’s death to stop.
He claimed, on the topic of Cambridge Analytica he was glad the revelation they approached him directly for the hacked DNC emails was “independent proof” that Wikileaks did not work with the Trump campaign. No such proof yet exists and both the US Senate and Mueller grand jury investigations in the United States alone remain ongoing – developments of a significant nature are expected on this topic shortly.
Assange also stated he had been cleared of the sex offence allegations in Sweden. He has not, an arrest warrant was withdrawn as it was unlikely to ever be successfully used because he had hidden under diplomatic protection for years. The case has been temporarily filed but will be reactivated as soon as he leaves the embassy, presumably why he is still there.
Julian Assange is a liar. A deliberately deceitful, disingenuous individual, and a hostile actor interfering in democracies across the world, pushing the agenda of a criminal state engaged in acts of war against countless countries.
The one thing which can be said for his appearance at the Holberg Debate? They didn’t just host an event about fake news, the emodiment of it was live-streamed into the room.