24 Questions I Shouldn't Have Asked the Wikileaks Founder
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stormed out of an interview with CNN this week in which the interviewer began asking questions about Assange's personal life, in particular the sexual assault allegations that have been made against him in Sweden. Assange had evidently tried to set some ground rules before the interview, and upon hearing the line of questions, tore off his microphone and walked out of the studio, having learned a valuable lesson about gullibility. During our regular editorial meeting at Cracked, we immediately saw a fantastic opportunity in this: to land a major interview and finally get the respect and admiration from the mainstream media that we surely deserve. "If we play this right, I bet Katie Couric will definitely put out for us," I suggested to a room full of enthusiastic nodding. So Cracked got in contact with Assange, and after extracting our spines thoroughly enough, agreed to every interview ground rule he wanted. Here's what happened next: ____________________________ Cracked: Hello Julian, thanks for being here. Assange: Happy to. I'm looking forward to this. Cracked: Everyone always says that. Ok, let's get right down to it. So you run this website... Assange: I actually run it with the help of a talented and dedicated team... Cracked: ... that offers advice for people who are suffering from adult incontinence. What would you say is your biggest challenge with that? Is it the mockery? Assange: ... Cracked: It is the mockery isn't it? It's vandals ruining your laundry tips page with hateful, sophomoric comedy? I'm imagining yellow fonts. That's just awful. Assange: -the long sigh of someone just discovering Cracked for the first time- The "leaks" in Wikileaks refers to leaked documents. In particular secret government documents which people - insiders within the government - wish to publish anonymously. Cracked: Oh, I get it now. -flips through notes- Errrrrr. So this is basically about Obama's bed wetting problem then? Assange: No, you don't understand. Cracked: No, I do not understand. Assange: I'll give you an example. Just recently we published a series of previously classified documents which shows statistics the military has been gathering about civilian deaths in Iraq. Cracked: Iraq? That thing from 2005? Is there still stuff to learn about that? Assange: There certainly is. One of the many things Wikileaks is capable of, is showing information about Iraq that people have never seen before. Cracked: That's right! I heard about you guys now. You were the ones that figured out Saddam spelled backwards was Maddas. Assange: What? Cracked: That's pretty close to Mad Ass. Assange: I... Cracked: Ass.
-enunciating clearly and kind of yelling- ASS. Assange: No. Cracked: That wasn't you? That sounds like it should be a Wikileak. Assange: Wikileaks is not a venue for exchanging ancient and terrible jokes for children. Cracked: It is terrible, isn't it? I don't want us to misrepresent ourselves here. Cracked does not condone that joke at all. As stewards of responsible chuckle-dealing, we simply can't make use of it. But if we were able to tell that joke anonymously, without damaging our reputations, no-one would know that we suck. Isn't that the point of Wikileaks? Assange: This is nonsense.
Wikileaks founder Julian AssangeAssange: -freezes, fixes interviewer with steely gaze- All right. Cracked: That's right. You're pooping on the big boy interview-toilet now. High Five. -extends palm upwards- Assange: This interview cannot go on like this. Cracked: That's totally fair. Ok, let's talk about your site administration. A big problem with conventional wikis is that anyone can edit them. Because of this, the information on them is often not considered reliable. How have you dealt with that at Wikileaks? Assange: Yes! I mean, thank you. That was a very intelligent question. Cracked: Please don't patronize me or my readers. Assange: I'm sorry. Well, we initially followed a classic wiki setup, but ran into the reliability problems which you described. How it works now, is that we accept submissions anonymously, then have an editorial panel review the content to determine its veracity. If it looks ok, only then do we publish it. Users no longer have the ability to edit submissions. Cracked: But then is that truly a wiki? It sounds more like... that website... what am I thinking of? Assange: Yes, I know it sounds like a conventional news gathering organization, but... Cracked: No!