Call me crazy, but every time I see WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange I think, “That’s what Draco Malfoy will look like when he grows up!” So I guess if Harry Potter gets a job in the U.S. State Department, the adventure will never end.
The far-less-than-magical adventures of the pasty-faced Mr. Assange have official Washington flushing with embarrassment and anger. But Hollywood should be feeling pretty fired up, too. Because, whether Assange intended to or not, doesn’t it totally seem as if he has stolen the identity of some new villain being cooked up for a Batman movie?
Fade in: Secret mountain lair in Europe. With a crash, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rappels through a skylight in a black, spandex pants suit. “Ah ha, Mr. Assange! We have found your hideout. You thought you’d expose our secret documents and create chaos. But you’re too late!”
“No, it is you who are too late!” Assange cackles, “I have already posted them on a diabolical contraption to spread all over the world. I call it the Internet.”
His dispassionate way of speaking, his apparent fondness for being photographed with creepy side lighting, and that hair — it all serves to enhance the image.
But beyond the physical weirdness, the reality of Assange is what has governments around the world worried. In the information age, he is setting off what amounts to information IEDs, Internet Explosive Devices — massive dumps of potentially earth-rattling documents with little apparent regard for anyone’s assessment of their impact (or truth or context) beyond his own.
Whether you support what he has done or not, this singular sense of self-righteousness is the fundamental difference between Assange and the journalist he pretends to be. Real journalists know that editors matter; that a single reporter, no matter how brilliant, can not know everything or be the sole arbiter of truth.
For Assange, the equation is much simpler. He alone decides which secrets should be spilled about whom and the whole planet must live with the consequences. Does that make him a villain? Perhaps only the world’s courts … or Batman … will be able to decide.
–CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360”/www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Please send 300-word submissions to email@example.com.