Liane Hansen works hard to convey a friendly, down-to-earth, aunt-like persona as she reads her scripts for NPR. But like the gooey Scott Simon, she too knows how to carry a blade. Don't you ever wonder what kind of dysfunctional, warped childhood people like Liane Hansen had that would make them want to front for a journalistically bankrupt institution like NPR? No? Of course not. What in God's name, does someone's childhood have to do with reporting on the actual content and substance of that person's behavior? Everything - if your purpose is to smear and discredit them. Which brings us to Hansen's chat on Sunday morning with the sleazy, discredited New York Times reporter, John Burns. Hansen opens up her tabloid discussion with this:
"Before we get to his current troubles, can you give us just a little bit of biographical information on Mr. Assange, specifically, what was his childhood like in Australia?"
Burns is more than willing to supply irrelevant hearsay:
"He was brought up by his mother. It was a nomadic life. I think he had some troubles in school. In fact, he very often wasn't in school."
And that's the nice stuff these two jorno-assassins had to say about Assange. Here's Hansen at her reportorial best:
"People who know him have described him as imperious, a control freak, an ideologue, an egomaniac, a genius, and unique."
"His detractors say he's reckless; he puts lives at risk."
And so it goes, with Burns providing most of the smears and hits:
"...he struck me as being, yes, brilliant, capricious, arrogant, but not terribly self-knowing..."
"He is strange because, as you said in your introduction, he lives in the spotlight, occasionally popping up at news conferences and bathing in the celebrity. And then he disappears again."
"...his mobile phones, which he switches...like other men switch shirts."
"He's very concerned about his security. And, who knows, maybe he has reason to."
Who knows? Yes, you might think powerful figures were calling for his assassination [e.g. here, here, and here] or execution, or that the the world's most bloated and violent military institution had targeted his organization for destruction [pdf of leaked document here], or that the nation that runs that institution is in the habit of assassinating "high value targets" or kidnapping [with its allies] and torturing such people. You have to love that Mr. Uber journalist John Burns can only murmur "who knows" and yet say about Assange:
"And he struck me as...not gifted, I have to say, with much of a sense of irony."