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Wikileaks Founder to Host TV Show on Russian-Funded Network

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Wikileaks founder and radical transparency advocate Julian Assange has announced he plans to follow in the footsteps of Jon Stewart and Montel Williams and host his own talk show. On Monday, Wikileaks issued a press release stating that the show will bring together voices from across the political spectrum to discuss the world of tomorrow.

And who better to broadcast the show than the Moscow-funded network, RT? According to an article posted on RT’s website this morning, the channel plans to premiere the “exclusive” TV series in March.

RT seems like an odd fit for Assange and his crew for many, many reasons. For starters, the channel was recently described by the Guardian as “slavishly pro-Kremlin” and generally refuses to actively report on issues inside the Russian state.

When it was established in 2005, RT, which broadcasts in English, was intended to boost Russia’s cultural influence around the world. Many of their stories focus on issues inside the US or conspiracy theories about the West.

Today’s headlines, for example, include “Obama’s New Fairy Tale: Peace and Prosperity for War Bent US” and “US Launched Cyber Attacks on Other Nations.” For contrast, one headline about Putin reads “Putin Says Ready for Criticism, But Not Obscenities.”

Of course, Assange and Wikileaks are not the sort of people to be put off by conspiracy theories. That said, a group focused on transparency might be expected to show more concern about a company owned by a government where, for example, wealthy people can buy police sirens to get around traffic -- this according to an extensive recent piece in the New Yorker.

So far, quite a few people have been upset by Assange’s decision. For example, the Guardian quotes newspaper owner Alexander Lebedev saying, “Shame on you” and “Hard to imagine a more miserable finale for a world challenger.”

It should be made clear that the Wikileaks press release makes no mention of exclusive deals with any channel. In fact, it offers readers a way to inquire about licensing.

The show will be shot on the English estate where Assange is under house arrest, awaiting the ruling of an extradition hearing. Regardless of who airs it, Wikileaks’ new program should be an interesting watch.
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