Instead, she invited Clinton to describe the "damage" Julian Assange did "personally to you." In response, Clinton defamed Assange, an Australian citizen, as "very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence" and "a nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator."
She offered no evidence -- nor was asked for any -- to back her grave allegations.
At no time was Assange offered the right of reply to this shocking interview, which Australia's publicly-funded state broadcaster had a duty to give him.
As if that wasn't enough, Ferguson's executive producer, Sally Neighour, followed the interview with a vicious re-tweet: "Assange is Putin's b*tch. We all know it!"
There are many other examples of Vichy journalism. The Guardian, reputedly once a great liberal newspaper, conducted a vendetta against Julian Assange. Like a spurned lover, the Guardian aimed its personal, petty, inhuman and craven attacks at a man whose work it once published and profited from.
The former editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published in 2010, "one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years." Awards were lavished and celebrated as if Julian Assange did not exist.
WikiLeaks' revelations became part of the Guardian's marketing plan to raise the paper's cover price. They made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks and Assange struggled to survive.
With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The book's authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously abused Assange as a "damaged personality" and "callous."
They also revealed the secret password Julian had given the Guardian in confidence and which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables.
With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, who had enriched himself on the backs of both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, stood among the police outside the embassy and gloated on his blog that "Scotland Yard may get the last laugh."
The question is why.
Julian Assange has committed no crime. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish episode was bogus and farcical and he has been vindicated.
Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape summed it up when they wrote, "The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction... The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will."
This truth was lost or buried in a media witch-hunt that disgracefully associated Assange with rape and misogyny. The witch-hunt included voices who described themselves as on the left and as feminist. They willfully ignored the evidence of extreme danger should Assange be extradited to the United States.
According to a document released by Edward Snowden, Assange is on a "Manhunt target list." One leaked official memo says: "Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He'll be eating cat food forever."
In Alexandria, Virginia -- the suburban home of America's war-making elite -- a secret grand jury, a throwback to the middle ages -- has spent seven years trying to concoct a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted.
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