The mainstream media continues a campaign to distract from the information disclosed by Wikileaks by painting the organization as a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jo Becker, Steven Erlanger and Eric Schmitt, writing in a front page article for the New York Times, lambasted Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange for his decision to release information critical of American domestic and foreign policy, while ignoring similar issues in Russia.

“Mr. Assange proffered a vision of America as superbully: a nation that has achieved imperial power by proclaiming allegiance to principles of human rights while deploying its military-intelligence apparatus in ‘pincer’ formation to ‘push’ countries into doing its bidding, and punishing people like him who dare to speak the truth,” they wrote. “Notably absent from Mr. Assange’s analysis, however, was criticism of another world power, Russia, or its president, Vladimir V. Putin, who has hardly lived up to WikiLeaks’ ideal of transparency.”

In a further attempt to tie Wikileaks to Russia, the authors perpetuated the American government-derived talking point that links the 20,000 hacked DNC emails released by Wikileaks to hackers tied to the Russian government, casually asking “has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies?”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supposed praising Donald Trump, and vice versa, serves as further “proof” of the Russian government’s concerted attempt to “manipulate” the American Presidential election to their benefit.

Buried deep in their article, the authors make note that “among United States officials, the emerging consensus is that Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services.”

Assange, speaking to The Times on Wednesday, suggested Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party were “whipping up a neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia,” adding there is “no concrete evidence” linking the information disclosed by WikiLeaks to Russian intelligence agencies.

When the DNC emails were first released back in July, Assange told NBC News “there is no proof whatsoever” his organization received the emails from Russia, adding the attempt to tie him to Russia was a plot to divert from the information contained in the emails, which demonstrated “collusion at the very top of the Democratic Party” to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination.

“They’re just aligning themselves with whoever gives them information to get attention or revenge against their enemies,” said John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation. “They’re welcoming governments to hack into each other and disrupt each other’s democratic processes, all on a pretty weak case for the public interest.”

It is concerning that a supposed advocate of government transparency views the release of emails detailing collusion between high level Democratic Party officials to deny a candidate (Bernie Sanders) the party’s nomination as a “pretty weak case for the public interest.”

Gavin MacFadyen, the director of the Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of London, noted Assange’s main concern should be whether the information is true and in the public interest.

He added that Western intelligence services had a documented history of planting stories in news outlets, and that those news outlets often published “material that comes from the C.I.A. uncritically.”

In direct response to the article, Wikileaks released a statement saying “the only hard news in the article is that ‘American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services.’”

By casting Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Donald Trump as pawns of Russia, the mainstream media and the Democratic Party hope to distract from the damaging information released by Wikileaks, as well as silence growing concerns over Hillary Clinton’s health.

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