Honestly, this is bad. Actually, kind of very bad.

NBC News is reporting that the US is actively squelching an international journalist because he’s publishing things that are negative about a candidate in an election.

Now, it’s also very bad that Russia is attempting to meddle in US politics by hacking email servers. We live in a world where both of these things are bad.

The US has a duty to secure its servers from cyber attack, and a right to retaliate against the perpetrator, in this case, Russia. It has no right to attempt to silence messengers, the press, and journalists who report what’s leaked to them.

American Courts have said as much, saying both individuals and the press are not at any liability for distributed media, even if that media itself was originally stolen, so long as you weren’t the one who stole it.

Let’s play out a similar scenario. Iraq and Iran are in a cold war standoff. You’re a British journalist writing out of Egypt, and Iraqi intelligence leaks you something damaging about the leader of Iran. What ethical due to you have to keep it secret?

Now you get squelched by the Egyptians. Is this wrong? Who’s to blame? The Egyptians? The Iraqis? Given these circumstances, in what world is it somehow your fault?

Jullian Assange is no Christ figure. But this is censorship and wrong and in my opinion, as bad as Russia attempting to meddle in our elections. What does this look like on the world stage? What precedent does this set? That we talk about freedom of the press, but when one of our own politicians gets criticized, we censor the source?

It’s wrong for the Russian government to meddle in our free and fair elections. It’s equally wrong for our own government to meddle in our elections, and that is precisely what’s happening.

This also has terrible optics. The Obama administration can obviously support their candidate since they’re the leader of the DNC as well – but they aren’t supposed to use any actual government power to help their candidate or hinder their opponent. Using international pressure to censor a journalist posting embarrassing stuff about their preferred candidate looks awful. And it plays into Trump’s narrative that the mainstream media is in the DNC’s pocket. It has nothing to do with stopping hackers. It’s just plain political censorship.

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