Julian Assange's Unlikely Ally: Glenn Beck

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Glenn Beck, the right-wing talk show host, used his show's massive platform to question the Swedish sexual assault charges swirling around WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange after the latter's arrest in London.

According to the transcript released yesterday, Beck said Assange called "a dirt bag" and "a liar," but the Swedish case against him was weak.

I want you to understand, I don't support this guy. I don't support what he's doing, but I'm really torn on this story. He is exposing the fact that our governments all around the world have been lying to us. It's been a job we've been trying to do but been pilloried over and over for doing it.

But I don't want a guy to go to jail or to be silenced for something he didn't do. Again, I don't support him. But I want you to the look into the crime that he committed to warrant an international manhunt.

This whole thing is not sitting right.

He then walks his viewers through the sexual affair, basically defending Assange from the "radical, uber leftist" women who have accused him, before concluding, "I am not defending Assange."

The whole episode highlights the strange connections and bedfellows that Cablegate is creating. Support or opposition to WikiLeaks generally or Assange on the Swedish charges specifically does not break down along traditional party lines.

And for Beck, it's got to be a really tough choice: support "radical, uber leftist" women or a scrawny Australian he suspects is "
a player with the left."
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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