Julian Assange has returned to the media spotlight with his show for Russian television “The World Tomorrow.”
First airing in Russia on Tuesday, the show has taken its fair share of criticism for everything from its theme song from M.I.A to the apparent hypocrisy of a WikiLeaks-inspired show appearing on a state-backed TV network in a country not exactly known for its track record of transparency and humanitarianism. There also seems to be a general weariness about Assange’s mission: The Guardian‘s review of the show called Assange “a useful idiot” and suggested he’d become “a pawn in the Kremlin’s global information war.”
But insisting that Assange’s show condones Russia’s sketchy humanitarian record is a serious oversimplification—we all know the world is more complicated than that. And Assange did manage to bring in Hezbollah leader Sayyid Nasrallah for his first interview in six years. The Guardian writes of the questions that “some were softball, others fawning,” but he does confront Nasrallah about sending rockets into Israel. Sure, Assange doesn’t exactly pounce on Nasrallah’s answers with a Mike Wallace pugilism, but it’s also the guy’s first show, and he’s been under house arrest for over 500 days.
True, the Russian network may never allow Assange to do an episode about crimes against humanity in Chechnya. But if he’s able to keep pulling interview subjects of this caliber, the show could definitely turn out to be useful—and not useful idiocy.