In an online video forum hosted by the transparency organization OurSay.org before a live studio audience in Australia on Friday, Campus Reform editor-in-chief Josiah Ryan asked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange his thoughts about Matt Drudge and Rand Paul.
Assange praised Drudge for breaking down self censorship in the United States and publishing stories that the establishment press would not. When asked if he considered Matt Drudge a friend or foe of the open government movement, Assange was more neutral, indicating that Drudge’s work doesn’t really intersect with that of his own.
Matt Drudge is a news media innovator and he took off about eight years ago in relation to the Monica Lewinsky scandal when he first became famous by publishing information that the establishment press in the United States would not. It is as a result of the self censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform, and of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship. I think as time has gone by, Matt Drudge was mainly involved in collecting interesting rumors that looked like they might be true and publishing them, social media has largely sort of taken that place. His political positions, while some I agree with and some I don’t, he doesn’t have that much of an influence on Australia or the sort of work that I do.
Assange then went on to offer his opinion on Sen. Rand Paul and father Ron Paul as libertarians.
I’m a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues. They have been the strongest supporters with the fight against the US attack on Wikileaks and on me in the US Congress. Similarly, they have been the strongest opponents of drone warfare and extra-judicial executions. And so, that’s quite an interesting phenomenon in the United States, the position of the Libertarian-Republican, for a better description, Right – coming from a principle of non-violence, which is the American Libertarian intellectual tradition, that produces interesting results. So, non-violence, well don’t go and invade a foreign country; non-violence, don’t force people at the barrel of a gun to serve in the US Army; non-violence, don’t extort taxes from people to the federal government with a policeman; similarly, other aspects of non-violence in relation to abortion that they hold.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Wikileaks founder having been granted political asylum by Ecuador. He remains holed up inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Assange has meanwhile been campaigning for an Australian Senate seat.