New York adman Benjamin Palmer will interview WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange at SXSW Interactive 2014 (via satellite video) on March 8, 11am. Palmer is a successful businessman (he sold his digital advertising agency The Barbarian Group to Cheil Worldwide for a reported $10 million), but what makes Palmer the man to interview Assange, known for his “pursuit to unveil the truth”? No advertising agency on a mission to “unveil the truth” ever sold for ten million bucks. Why not get SXSW speaker Glenn Greenwald for the Assange interview? He’ll be there, and he’s better qualified: Greenwald gets credit for breaking the Edward Snowden story and much of the follow-up about the scope of the NSA’s surveillance. (His latest book is called No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.) Maybe it’s just that Assange likes the sound of Barbarian Group–the barbarians were, after all, notorious anarchists.
Assange isn’t shy with the press. In 2013, he gave a number of high profile interviews with journalists including Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, 60 Minutes veteran reporter Liz Hayes, ABC News’ George Stephanopolous, and Bill Maher, among others. But he may be tiring of these inquisitive journalists, with their objectivity and their exhausting demands for transparency. So far in 2014, Assange is opting for softer interviews like the time he spent on BBC Radio’s “Today” show with guest editor, musician PJ Harvey, who introduced him as a “person of great courage.”
Julian Assange, photo: Creative Commons