Time magazine senior national correspondent posted a thoughtless tweet last evening in which he seemed to endorse — or, at the very least, be looking forward to — the extrajudicial killing of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange,” he wrote in the since deleted and screenshotted post. While many, many people do not like Assange, it certainly seems inappropriate for a reporter from a major news outlet to get excited about the possibility of the American government bombing him (and, presumably, whoever happens to be in London’s Ecuadorian embassy at the time.)
After receiving a number of negative responses from fellow journalists and citizens alike, Grunwald deleted the tweet on the advice of one supporter, who suggested that the post “gives Assange supporters a nice safe persecution complex to hide in,” which kind of misses the point. Time released a statement saying — as journalists’ Twitter bios often do — that Grunwald’s views do not represent those of his employer: “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.”
Grunwald also apologized on Twitter:
However, as the Huffington Post points out, this isn’t the first time Grunwald has said something stupid on this subject. When it was revealed that the United States killed American Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son in Yemen in 2011, Grunwald responded:
And that was about a drone strike that actually happened.