Laurie Penny’s latest hit piece on Assange

In a review of a book by Julian Assange and a few co-authors, LP writes

"the vast majority of us have chosen to join the crowd rather than be cut off from social influence"

That seems a reasonable explanation for why the herd of British liberal corporate pundits – of which LP is very much a part – relentlessly dump on Assange. With very rare exceptions (like Glenn Greenwald, Seumas Milne and Mark Weisbrot) the more comfortably the pundit is ensconced within the corporate press, the more hostile to Assange.

LP's disagreement with the book boils down to the claim that Assange and his co-authors overstate  everyone's fear of violence.

However, to say that she just had to add that Assange was a  "paranoid", "dubious hacker messiah","noted cop-dodger" and a "jaw-gnawing conspiracy theorist with crippling delusional narcissism ". Assange's co-authors are even disparaged as "acolytes"  – guilt by association with someone she clearly presumes guilty of rape. In an earlier hit piece for the UK Independent she wrote

"I believe women when they say that their sexual consent is infringed, violently and coercively, by men they trust and admire, as well as by strangers."

LP even manages to throw in the insult that Assange is a misogynist though she does this with a tad more subtlety:

"This is not an article about Assange’s sex life and alleged sex crimes. I’ve already written several of those, as have many others, and the most salient point there is that those who believe in freedom should not be forced to choose between censorship and misogyny".

And she knows Assange is guilty of misogyny because…?

Of course liberal pundits who spew insults at Assange must distinguish themselves from the hard right who call for his assassination. Liberals must deploy a progressive smokescreen to cover their cheap shots.

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