In the latest socially distanced episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by Stella Moris, a lawyer and the life partner of Julian Assange.
Matt and Katie discuss a recent Twitter thread by Dr. Sarah T. Roberts of UCLA, in which she laments the fall of journalistic integrity by reporters and writers moving to Substack.
“I worry about this because it’s this whole idea that alternative media, which has already taken such a huge hit in the last 20 or 30 years… all the content is being driven to these big, centralized, largely national news organizations. And it’s consolidating more and more. And those news organizations are becoming more and more like each other all the time,” says Matt.
“What’s more dangerous than the argument that Substack is dangerous is the flip side of that argument, which is that corporate media is not dangerous,” says Katie.
Stella Moris joins our hosts to discuss the current status of the Julian Assange case, in which the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the U.S. was blocked in January.
Morris speaks on the implications for Assange’s case on journalism and national secrecy laws.
“They’re after Julian because he exposed U.S. war crimes, and they want to send a signal,” says Moris. “It’s a very dangerous situation when you have a government trying to say who is and who isn’t a journalist… The U.S. leads by example for good and for bad, and now it’s created a really terrible standard with Julien that puts the fate of the press globally in a very bad situation.”
Moris also spoke about having two children with Assange, and the situations that her family found themselves in while Assange was at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, ranging from an alleged poisoning plot to swabbing a child’s diaper.
“Imagine being in a closed space with people who are literally plotting to kill you, plotting to steal your baby’s DNA. You could just feel it this was a really dangerous environment and you were basically at the mercy of some really bad people. You didn’t know the exact shape of it, but there was just an atmosphere of fright,” Moris explains.
Now, however, Moris isn’t losing hope that the American charges could be dropped against Assange. “What needs to happen is for the Biden Administration to see some sense and stop this. Stop the charges.”