Julian Assange's Unlikely Ally: Glenn Beck

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/julian-assanges-unlikely-ally-glenn-beck/67748/