Wikileaks Editor: Democratic Party Needs To 'Come To Terms' With Lessons Of 2016 - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Wikileaks Editor: Democratic Party Needs To ‘Come To Terms’ With Lessons Of 2016

Published March 25, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

With the Mueller report now released to US Attorney General William Barr, and what we know of the findings so far showing no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections, Democrats are now strategising their next steps.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, believes the party would do well to engage in some self-examination, as he told The Grapevine in a feature interview with us.

“The DNC wants to maintain [the email leak] had an effect, to try and brush over the humiliation of their defeat in the electoral college,” he says. “The Democratic Party just needs to come to terms with the fact that Hillary Clinton was not a charismatic candidate that people were excited about. Of course, it’s a hard thing to swallow, but it’s a necessary thing to do if the Democratic Party wants to come to terms with this and try to move forward. I haven’t seen any discussion within their ranks about how it’s possible you could win the popular vote and still lose the election. For us who have a hard time understanding the electoral college, when you get an instant like that, it should call for introspection and that the system needs to be changed. It’s a very serious situation that demands examination.”

Further, he points out the implications behind the Democrats’ version of events belies deeper problems.

“In the general scheme of things, is the country that came to be the bastion of democracy in the world going to accept and acknowledge that a few dozen rogue trolls in Saint Petersburg can actually upset the entire process, working on a budget that is basically a fraction of what is spent on the election?,” he asks. “That would actually be an admittance of an extreme weakness of the system, I would say.”

Kristinn also stands by the DNC email leak of 2016, citing journalistic ethics and practices, for their importance and relevance to the general public.

“What people are missing about this story is the core principle here,” Kristinn says. “That journalists are supposed to publish materials on politicians, and especially candidates prior to election. That’s the role of journalists; that’s why it’s called the fourth estate. It’s totally amazing that even journalists are telling me, ‘You shouldn’t have published [the emails] before the election.’ Are we not supposed to inform the electorate about the candidates? Isn’t that your job? If you have internal information about a candidate or a party, it’s your duty. It would be a journalistic crime to withhold it. Then I heard ‘You should have waited until you had something on Trump so that you could be balanced.’ But it doesn’t work that way. The DNC emails had information that was newsworthy, and definitely it should have been published prior to the election, and that’s the end of it. It doesn’t really matter where it came from. It’s not the concern of the journalist to disregard information because it comes from some source that might have an agenda. You always have to evaluate the information that is in front of you. Is it in the public interest to publish it? It’s a no-brainer: either it is, or it isn’t.”

The full length interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson can be read here.

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