Stephen Colbert interviews WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange about the infamous helicopter video. The interview is interesting to watch. I am a bit weirded out, though, by Colbert’s handling of the matter. I know that part of his act is to imitate right-wing conservative talk show hosts, but here, he actually seems to be angry about WikiLeaks putting “Collateral Murder” at the beginning of the video. He can’t seem to get over it. I’ve come across this criticism before, and I have to say that while the title may be suggestive, what you should really worry about is the content of the video.
Assange also calls the sometimes heard story that the Apache pilots had just been in the midst of gunfire, that there was shooting on the street, etcetera, “a lie”. According to him, there had only been one report of a small arms fire 28 minutes earlier.
Adrien Chen at Gawker summarizes:
One constant criticism of Wikileaks’ helicopter video has been that its heavy editorial slant clashed with the supposed objectivity of the material they presented. Colbert challenged Assange on this point: “You have edited this tape, and you have given it a title called ‘collateral murder.’ That’s not leaking, that’s a pure editorial.” Assange responded that Wikileaks promises their sources that they will “try and get the maximum possible political impact for the material the give us.” According to Assange’s formulation, Wikileaks is essentially an advocacy group whose strength lies in its ability to secure incriminating documents.