The Next Bob Woodward Could Be Muzzled by the Assange Verdict

The charges brought against the WikiLeaks founder would criminalize good reporting

Trevor Timm
GEN
Published in
5 min readSep 23, 2020

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Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at their desk at the Washington Post. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

The U.K. extradition hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now in its third week, but you would hardly realize it if you read only mainstream news outlets. Despite the fact that most of the major newspapers in the United States vehemently condemned the Trump administration’s charges against Assange as a threat to press freedom, there has been a worrying lack of coverage of the case.

Yet it also happens that the one person who so perfectly exemplifies the danger of the charges against Assange is someone who’s been the source of countless front-page stories for the past two weeks: America’s most famous reporter, Bob Woodward.

Woodward has dominated news coverage this month with the release of Rage, which contains material from 18 previously unreleased interviews with President Trump. But if the precedent the Trump administration is seeking in the Assange case existed at the start of Woodward’s career, he certainly wouldn’t be reporting on what the president secretly told him about Covid-19 or the many other revelations in his new book.

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Trevor Timm
GEN
Writer for

Trevor Timm is the executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation. His writing has appeared the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Intercept.