Michael "I guess you could call me a statist" Grunwald, Time magazine journalist, sent out a kind of unbelievable tweet last night: "I can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." While Grunwald didn't say why he decided to say that thing about Assange in a public forum, the 'joke,' since deleted, comes from a reporter who actually wrote a piece called "Tread on Me." So it's possible that he might be reacting to Friday's Assange endorsement of the American libertarian movement. In any case, here's the tweet:
Glenn Greenwald, Grunwald's fraternal surname twin and the journalist who broke a series of stories on NSA data collection based on leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden, was something of an outrage gatekeeper against the tweet:
Things like this make you not just understand, but celebrate, the failings of large media outlets - TIME edition: https://t.co/NhXiZ5jdTl— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 17, 2013
I assume you're allowed to express this vile opinion & still be an objective "journalist"- not an "activist", right? https://t.co/NhXiZ5jdTl— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 17, 2013
He wasn't the only journalist pretty much shocked at one of their own, even among journalists with reason to criticize the Wikileaks founder:
Derp RT @MikeGrunwald: I can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) August 17, 2013
Today in Things that Are Not Cool: A Time reporter fantasizes about the state-sponsored drone murder of Assange: http://t.co/FiAtZ5oQhH— Lindsay Beyerstein (@Beyerstein) August 18, 2013
Assange is an asshole, was unbelievable horrible to me personally, & says inconsiderate things. But I've never seen him call for murder. 1/2— Quinn Norton (@quinnnorton) August 18, 2013
And I've never seen anything regarding WikiLeaks he did that even suggested a crime. 2/2— Quinn Norton (@quinnnorton) August 18, 2013
I see Grunwald has now apologised for his sociopathic Assange drone strike tweet. It was "dumb," he says. https://t.co/rZ8g7lFLOm Quite.— Ryan Gallagher (@rj_gallagher) August 18, 2013
Meanwhile, Wikileaks would like Grunwald to resign:
We have written to TIME magazine to ask for Michael Grunwald's resignation https://t.co/X8Rf3TN5MY— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 18, 2013
And Assange's mom is REALLY mad:
Grunwald removed the tweet and apologized, after a supporter argued that it gave "Assange supporters a nice safe persecution complex to hide in."
It was a dumb tweet. I'm sorry. I deserve the backlash. (Maybe not the anti-Semitic stuff but otherwise I asked for it.)— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) August 18, 2013
Time has commented. In a statement, the publication said that "Michael Grunwald posted an offensive tweet from his personal Twitter account that is in no way representative of TIME's views. He regrets having tweeted it, and he removed it from his feed." After re-tweeting and responding to a series of reactions to his tweet and his apology, the journalist has stayed off Twitter.