Today Show Explores the Softer Side of Julian Assange
Peter Alexander, on Tuesday's Today show, decided to explore the softer
side of WikiLeaks founder and purveyor of U.S. state secrets Julian
Assange as he interviewed an investigative journalist from Oxford
University who found him to be "funny, intelligent" and "not at all...rigid" and also aired a clip of Assange's mother speaking up for her son as she demanded that the world "stand up for my brave son."
In fact Alexander never aired a clip or interviewed any one who had a negative word to say about Assange but he did reveal some postings Assange allegedly made to an Internet singles site as Alexander reported:
"He writes, 'I am Danger.' And describes himself as 'passionate and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.' That he's looking for a 'spirited, erotic non-conformist,' concluding 'Do not write to me if you are timid. Write to me if you are brave.'"
(audio available here)
The following is the full report as it was aired on the December 14 Today show:
MATT LAUER: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear in a British court today in relation to the charges of sexual assault that he's facing in Sweden and overnight Assange released his first statement since his arrest last week. NBC's Peter Alexander has details on that. Peter, good morning to you.
[On screen headline: "'I Am Danger' New Personal Revelations From WikiLeaks Founder"]
PETER ALEXANDER: Matt, good morning to you. Julian Assange's hearing is expected to start a short time from now. His lawyer will ask the judge, once again, to set bail for his release. Also overnight Assange's own mother came all the way from Australia, meeting with her son behind bars, and released this statement on his behalf saying quote, "My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them. If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and corr ect."
And we're learning new details this morning about Assange himself from what seems like an unlikely source. Julian Assange arrived to court this morning, in the back of this prison van, his mother speaking in his defense.
CHRISTINE ASSANGE, JULIAN ASSANGE'S MOTHER: As a mother I'm asking the world to stand up for my brave son.
ALEXANDER: He is the mysterious hacker at the heart of an international storm, but before the scandal exploded Assange was reportedly also a single man looking for love online. The profile of the then 36-year-old, going by the name Harry Harrison includes several photos for potential partners to check out. He
writes, "I am Danger." And describes himself as "passionate and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy." That he's looking for a "spirited, erotic non-conformist," concluding "Do not write to me if you are timid. Write to me if you are brave."
NBC News cannot independently confirm the profile was created by Assange but OkCupid says it's existed for several years, last updated in December 2006, the same month WikiLeaks published its first document. Now Assange faces possible extradition to Sweden, where he's a wanted man on allegations of sexual misconduct with two women he met at this Stockholm WikiLeak seminar. Allegations Assange vehemently denies. Many Swedes have their own theories about what they suspect happened.
JONAS BJORCK, TV4, SWEDISH TELEVISION: All this fuss about it happened just because one of the partners in this, what you call, triangle was Julian Assange. ALEXANDER: An aspiring investigative journalist at Oxford University, Isabelle Frazier, spent three days with Assange and his WikiLeaks team this fall, she describes his spark and magnetic personality.
ISABELLE FRAZIER: When you're just chatting to him he's funny, intelligent, you know, and, and loose and, and not at all like this kind of rigid media persona that, that, when you're interviewing him.
ALEXANDER: This weekend Swedish television, SVT, aired a new documentary on the WikiLeaks affair, interviewing the controversial founder, shortly before his arrest.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Every release we do, of material, has a second message and that is we set examples. If you engage in immoral and unjust behavior, it will be found out, it will be revealed and you will suffer the consequences.
ALEXANDER: And if the judge sets bail at today's hearing Julian Assange could actually walk out of this courthouse today, Matt, as a free man. By the way, worth mentioning, the British prime minister today alerted government workers to be on the look out, in case Internet activists, Assange supporters tried to hack into government Web sites again, today. Matt?
LAUER: Alright Peter Alexander in London. Peter, thank you very much.
-Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here