CNN's Jessica Yellin and blogger Glenn Greenwald got into a sparring match about whether WikiLeaks can be placed in the same category as media outlets such as the New York Times and CNN.
Yellin was hosting "John King USA" on Monday, and brought on Greenwald and former Bush administration official Fran Townsend to discuss WikiLeaks. She asked Greenwald if WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should have expected the aggressive response he has received from the American government, given the nature of the secrets he was exposing. She also asked if Assange "should be prepared to go to jail for what's he's done, as other revolutionaries have."
"Well, see, you're a journalist, so you should understand better than anybody that publishing classified information about what governments do is not actually a crime," Greenwald responded. "Every day, media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN publish government secrets."
"Right, we would draw distinction between publishing information that comes to you by -- and then publishing information that's stolen by somebody," Yellin said.
Greenwald objected to this premise:
"No, you're absolutely wrong because the New York Times used its sources all the time and take classified information that they are not authorized to disseminate...good investigative journalists, maybe CNN doesn't do this, but good investigative journalists work their sources all the time to convince them to give them classified information to inform the citizens of the United States about what the government is doing."
Writing on his blog on Tuesday, Greenwald said he thought Yellin had acted in an "identical" way to a government official in her stance towards WikiLeaks.