They always get the benefit of the doubt, these America haters -- from our enemies, of course. But also from our celebrities, our "mainstream" press and other organs of liberal opinion.
The case of Julian Assange, would-be scourge of America, is depressingly typical -- if slightly surprising because the administration he sought to embarrass and discredit was Obama's. There's discomfiting news about Assange this week, which we'll get to, but first, a review.
Remember the respectful treatment the Wikileaks founder received? After publishing 250,000 confidential documents obtained by an Army private -- some of which provided names and addresses of Afghan civilians who had cooperated with NATO against the Taliban, others that simply provided embarrassing diplomatic scuttlebutt -- Assange got a sympathetic "60 Minutes" interview. It was conducted at the country estate where he was under house arrest (or "mansion arrest" as the Daily Mail put it). A little matter of rape and sexual assault charges leveled in Sweden.
Why, you might ask, does an otherwise undistinguished Australian programmer and "Internet activist" get such cushy digs as the 10-bedroom Ellingham Hall in which to entertain foreign journalists and fight extradition? Why do Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Michael Moore, among others, provide moral support and/or bail money for the pale crusader? Why does Time magazine feature a black and white photo of Assange on its cover, with his mouth taped over by a colorful American flag?
Why does Assange obtain cult status, whereas Women in White, who brave persecution to protest Cuba's human rights abuses and Harry Wu, a 19-year veteran of the Chinese gulag who campaigns for religious liberty in China and Manal al-Sharif, the Saudi woman who drove a car to highlight the kingdom's benighted treatment of women, struggle in relative obscurity? It's simple: Assange hates America. He has compared Guantanamo to Auschwitz. He claims that Wikileaks has uncovered "thousands" of American war crimes. He disclosed a stolen 2004 Army memo detailing the "Warlock" system that jammed improvised explosive devices. He praised the leader of Hezbollah for "fighting against the hegemony of the United States." Such paranoid anti-Americanism purchases credibility with the beautiful people.